Biochar, Compost, and Agroforestry – Three Keystones of Soil and Climate Resilience for Alberta
Presenter: Rob Lavoie of AirTerra
Biochar is a charcoal-like substance that is made by burning organic material from agricultural and food wastes. It is a technology that is showing promise in improving soil quality, reducing waste, and even producing energy as a byproduct. But what exactly is biochar and what is it made of?
Rob Lavoie, a farm boy initially, founded his company AirTerra in 2009 after learning how biochar can enhance soil fertility while drawing carbon out of the atmosphere. Up until 2009, he worked for nearly 30 years in the oil and gas industry as a chemical engineering graduate of the University of Saskatchewan, piloting methods of sequestering CO2 while enhancing oil recovery. So, it was a pivot from enhancing oil recovery to enhancing soil “re-covery” that motivated his career change. Now, 13 years later, AIrTerra is finally in the planning and development stages of a commercial biochar production facility for Alberta.