Further HAB Work on Lake Hopatcong – Four Locations Get Biochar – Designed to Prevent HABs

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Other the last week Princeton Hydro and the Lake Hopatcong Commission installed the newest Biochar installations that absorbs variety of pollutants including phosphorus as they try to enter the lake.

The first Biochar installations that occurred were at four outlet locations around the lake yesterday, Thursday 6/2/2020.  This project is being completed as part of the NJDEP HAB Grant award provided to the Lake Hopatcong Commission with project partner the Lake Hopatcong Foundation.

Bio Char Big
Photo Credit Princeton Hydro & Lake Hopatcong Commission
Photo Credit Princeton Hydro & Lake Hopatcong Commission
Photo Credit Princeton Hydro & Lake Hopatcong Commission
Photo Credit Princeton Hydro & Lake Hopatcong Commission
Photo Credit Princeton Hydro & Lake Hopatcong Commission
Photo Credit Princeton Hydro & Lake Hopatcong Commission
Photo Credit Princeton Hydro & Lake Hopatcong Commission
Photo Credit Princeton Hydro & Lake Hopatcong Commission
Photo Credit Princeton Hydro & Lake Hopatcong Commission
Photo Credit Princeton Hydro & Lake Hopatcong Commission
Photo Credit Princeton Hydro & Lake Hopatcong Commission
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What is Biochar?

Biochar is a woody material that has a high affinity for a variety of pollutants including phosphorus.  Biochar can be placed in flotation balls or cages and tethered along a beach area or where an inlet enters the lake.  This product has been shown to remove dissolved phosphorus directly from nearshore waters in turn limiting algal growth.  Biochar is a relatively low-cost option for phosphorus removal and has the added benefit of compost once its capacity to absorb phosphorus is exhausted.  Phosphorus is held within the product it will not leach back out, instead when biochar is used as a compost/mulch plant roots grow into the material and uptake phosphorus directly.

Training of all four Towns DPW offices to handle Biochar

The help in these efforts and contribute like-kind-services toward the Grant Money requirements of the funding, all four towns Department of Public Works when through the full training on Biochar and it’s operations.

Installation Sites:

Installations occurred at the Lake Winona Outlet and Lake Forest Yacht Club in Jefferson, Lakeside Ave and Holiday Ave (Near Ingram Cove) in Hopatcong, and at the Edith Decker School outlet in Mount Arlington.  Below are some photos of Princeton Hydro’s field staff installing the Biochar socks.  For those who were unable to attend the installations we encourage you to check on these locations as we want to be sure the municipal DPWs approve of the installations and don’t think they will cause any issues with water flow. 

Princeton Hydro will be installing additional Biochar socks at Duck Pond in Roxbury, Memorial Pond in Mount Arlington and in two MTDs in Jefferson Township the week of July 13th, remember that DPW time contributed to these projects counts toward the municipal match for the HAB Grant.  Any recommended adjustments from the DPWs on the installations that were completed yesterday can also be made the week of July 13th while Princeton Hydro is on the lake. 

More About Biochar:

Bio Char In1Biochar and biocoal are terms that most of us are familiar with, but what exactly is biochar? As a product, biochar differs from biocoal, which is produced at lower temperatures and considered as solid fuel, containing high quantity of volatile matter and lower fix carbon than biochar.

– Because of higher process temperatures, the chemical structure of biomass changes and content of hydrogen, nitrogen and organic carbon in biochar is significantly decreased when fix carbon concentration increase. In contrary to charcoal, biochar is also not phytotoxic, says Anna Grochowska.

Biochar is mainly used in agriculture to enhance soil fertility and water retention capacity and then improve plant growth. As a result, it improves the overall farming productivity. But biochar can also be used in animal feed or as a bio-based substitute of active carbon.

State-of-the-art technology:

Protected by international patents the Biogreen technology is a robust, reliable and cost-efficient process, allowing for very precise operating conditions up to 1000°C. In addition, thanks to having an electrically heated spiral, the Spirajoule allows the user to adjust both the process time and temperature – two essential pyrolysis parameters to control, in order to achieve the desired quality of biocoal, biochar and other products.

Processed bulk products, after entering the pyrolysis chamber, is efficiently conveyed along the reactor and transformed by temperature in the pyrolysis chamber.


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