RTE at WIREC 2008 in Washington DC
Sustainable Technologies to Enhance Biomass Production: New Tools in the Toolbox
Remineralize the Earth has the honor of hosting an Official Side Event at the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC) on March 3rd from 1:30-3:00pm. Joanna Campe will be speaking on Soil Remineralization Around the World and the Real Food Campaign. Robin Szmidt of the Soil Remineralization Forum (UK) will be giving a presentation titled Enhancing Soil Sustainability and Bioenergy Crops Using Mineral Fines. specifically for composting. He will be joined by Larry Sikora, formerly of the USDA, who did research on remineralization for composting at the USDA in the 1990s.
The WIREC 2008 conference is the largest and most important renewable energy conference in the history of the U.S. The conference is a unique chance for the world community to discuss the opportunities and challenges of a major, rapid, global scale-up of renewable energy and advance the goals of energy security, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development. The Washington International Renewable Energy Conference consists of three co-located events: WIREC 2008 Ministerial-Level Meeting, Business Conference & Trade Show at WIREC 2008, and WIREC 2008 Official Side Events.
Soil Remineralization Forum (UK)
The use of mineral fines (aka rockdust) has been advocated for organic food crop production, principally as a means of re-establishing soil fertility. Proposed long term use of land for energy crop production requires an even greater commitment to sustainable use of soils because the motivation for agricultural rotations may be even less as mono-crop techniques will be widely employed. This paper outlines the benefits of using mineral fines and results of recent field trials in Scotland. The potential to develop blends of mineral fines with compost and anaerobic digestates is outlined. These key inputs come both from agri-business and from commercial waste recycling sectors. The need for concerted action to integrate the agri-business and supply industries with the bio-energy sector is discussed. A programme for a transnational working group is proposed.
“We are now rapidly entering a phase where we need to make a strategic change in the way in which agricultural techniques are assessed and the way in which we value our resources. We must no longer view success in farming or energy use as a short term gain in productivity or quality, or unsustainable financial gains through low prices. Rather, we must measure our successes as the long term development of resources. The use of mineral fines and rockdusts to re-establish soil health and productivity over future years is one such technique. Remineralization of soils by applying specific mineral fines which are waste materials form the quarrying industries can reestablish soil health through addition of a range of minerals not normally found in chemical fertilizers. Practitioners claim that the technique can courage soil microbial activity, contribute to carbon-sequestration, preserve or improve soil structure and enhance quality and productivity of crops. Each of these are key factors in the future development of crops both for sustainable energy crop production and the production of food. In strategic terms, production of bioenergy crops will require an increasingly intensive cropping regime for which sustainable soil use will be key and for which failure to implement best practice will result in soil erosion and consequential failure in energy supply. The group advocating use of mineral fine are concerned not just with a single process but with a holistic approach to resource use and to the way in which inputs and outputs are managed by society.”
Dr. Robin Szmidt
At the conference RTE and the Soil Remineralization Forum UK will be initiating and forming a transnational working group for promoting soil remineralization initiatives and projects worldwide.