May 6 – First Friday: Peter Hirst of New England Biochar

Biochar: Low Technology/High Ingenuity
“Distributed carbon-negative systems for rebuilding soil, conserving water and cogenerating power”
Presented by Peter Hirst, New England Biochar

Friday,May 6, 2011 7:30 – 9:00 AM
Hyannis Golf Club, Route 132 off of Route 6, exit 6, Hyannis, MA
Cost: $25 per CCTC member; $35 per non-member

Online signup below. Or email us to make your reservation. Please RSVP by Wed, Mar 30.

New England Biochar is taking the first steps in bringing this technology for improving soil quality to Cape Cod, and is a leader in the nation in biochar production equipment, finished biochar products and consulting. Learn how the distributed biochar model can transform soil and related resources, support local growth and reduce local carbon footprints.
Why is this important? In 1622, Governor William Bradford wrote to his backers in England that he had found a land with a foot of good black topsoil, wooded with hardwood and pine, and clear of underbrush.  But since then, the Cape has literally gone up in smoke and washed into the sea.  Clear-cutting for timber and fuel, and erosion from poor agricultural practices has stripped the land of its basic resources.

A powerful tool for restoration and preservation of soil fertility is emerging in the production and application of biochar, a charcoal manufactured and prepared as a soil amendment.  Biochar is a clean, high quality carbon that provides a permanent physical and chemical substrate for concentration and retention of water, nutrients and soil microbiology.  It also improves tilth, root contact surface area and cation exchange capacity, critical factors in agricultural productivity.  And it preserves and retains soil resources, allowing less input over time while increasing productivity and retained biomass.  The complete system for production and use of biochar also sequesters net carbon and coproduces renewable energy.

About the presenter: Peter Hirst has been a resident of the lower Cape off and on since 1968, permanent since 1998.  He has a BA in Theater from Pomona College, a JD from Southwestern University, is a former Energy and Natural Resources Attorney with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and in private practice, and has operated construction and blacksmith businesses.  Hirst founded New England Biochar with Bob Wells in 2009.  He is co-author of The Biochar Revolution (Global Publishing Group, 2010). Visit

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