Alexander MacFarlane guest speaker at Green Drinks!

March 13, 2010

green beer2Join us for a night of Green Drinks, at Tavern in Central Square, on St. Patrick’s Day!

(Greater) Boston Green Drinks meets at a neighborhood pub on the 1st Tuesday and 3rd Wednesday of every month, from ~6:00 — ~9:00 pm. These free-form events are a great way for you to catch up with old friends in the movement or make new ones, as well as keep your finger on the pulse of local events. We’re looking for people of all ages, from all walks of life, including non-profit, for-profit, government, law, finance, writing, publishing, fundraising, graphic design, business, academia, the arts…the bottom line is that everyone is welcome! So make a note in your calendar and invite friends along.

The purpose of Green Drinks is primarily FUN, but the events also enable people to: share new ideas, learn about opportunities to work for change and to make a difference, discuss the state of the world…Green Drinks can be whatever you want it to be. So come have a few drinks and meet like-minded individuals who share your interest in building a sustainable society and planet. You can keep up with the speaking schedule and what is going on by joining their Google Group here.

Alexander MacFarlane the Director of Research and Development at Harvest Power will be the guest speaker!

Alex will talk about biomethane, the best biofuel.  Society’s biofuel technology platform should not compete with food production, but rather should be a key component in increasing the quality, quantity and sustainability of agriculture & horticulture.  Biomethane can be created from cutting-edge, proven digestion and gasification technologies while producing valuable compost and biochar soil products.  All aspects of these processes occur in nature and can now be harnessed cost-effectively.

As we recognize the imperative to move beyond existing methods of waste disposal, fossil-based energy and chemical-intensive food production, it is now essential to choose the right biofuel technology platform.  The biomethane platform is a powerful common-sense tool for combating the climate crisis while improving our quality of life.

Prior to joining Harvest, Alex founded Think 21, LLC a biogas project developer focused on High Solids Anaerobic Digestion. He also founded and ran a green building consultancy at Community Environmental Center, a New York City-based non-profit.  Some of his notable projects included the first LEED Silver affordable gut-rehab in NYC and the NYCDEP/EPA 2006 Green Building Competition winning PittSt. Residence.

Alex has a Master’s in Environmental Management and Policy from the I.I.I.E.E. at Lund University in Sweden and a B.A. in Environmental Biology from Columbia University. He is a certified SWANA Compost Operations Manager, a L.E.E.D. Accredited Professional and the inventor of a patent-pending building integrated solar technology.

Harvest provides industry leading technologies,project development and product marketing capabilities to extract the maximum value from organic waste through the production of renewable energy in combination with high-quality compost-based soil and mulch products. Harvest partners with compost facilities and waste managers in North America to build, own and operate next-generation organics recycling facilities.

Boston Green Drinks
March 17, 6 – 8 pm; speaker starts at 7
Tavern in Central Square, 720 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
Speaker: Alex McFarlane, from Harvest Power


  1. All political persuasions agree, building soil carbon is GOOD.
    To Hard bitten Farmers, wary of carbon regulations that only increase their costs, Building soil carbon is a savory bone, to do well while doing good.

    Biochar provides the tool powerful enough to cover Farming’s carbon foot print while lowering cost simultaneously.

    Agriculture allowed our cultural accent and Agriculture will now prevent our descent.
    Wise Land management; Organic farming and afforestation can build back our soil carbon,
    Biochar allows the soil food web to build much more recalcitrant organic carbon, ( living biomass & Glomalins) in addition to the carbon in the biochar.

    Biochar, the modern version of an ancient Amazonian agricultural practice called Terra Preta (black earth, TP), is gaining widespread credibility as a way to address world hunger, climate change, rural poverty, deforestation, and energy shortages… SIMULTANEOUSLY!

    Every 1 ton of Biomass yields 1/3 ton Charcoal for soil Sequestration (= to 1 Ton CO2e) + Bio-Gas & Bio-oil fuels = to 1MWh exported electricity, so is a totally virtuous, carbon negative energy cycle.

    Biochar viewed as soil Infrastructure; The old saw;
    “Feed the Soil Not the Plants” becomes;
    “Feed, Cloth and House the Soil, utilities included !”.
    Free Carbon Condominiums with carboxyl group fats in the pantry and hydroxyl alcohol in the mini bar.
    Build it and the Wee-Beasties will come.
    Microbes like to sit down when they eat.
    By setting this table we expand husbandry to whole new orders & Kingdoms of life.

    This is what I try to get across to Farmers, as to how I feel about the act of returning carbon to the soil. An act of penitence and thankfulness for the civilization we have created. Farmers are the Soil Sink Bankers, once carbon has a price, they will be laughing all the way to it.
    Unlike CCS which only reduces emissions, biochar systems draw down CO2 every energy cycle, closing a circle back to support the soil food web. The photosynthetic “capture” collectors are up and running, the “storage” sink is in operation just under our feet. Pyrolysis conversion plants are the only infrastructure we need to build out.

    Another significant aspect of low cost Biomass cook stoves that produce char is removal of BC aerosols and no respiratory disease emissions. At Scale, replacing “Three Stone” stoves the health benefits would equal eradication of Malaria
    The Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF).recently funded The Biochar Fund $300K for these systems citing these priorities;
    (1) Hunger amongst the world’s poorest people, the subsistence farmers of Sub-Saharan Africa,
    (2) Deforestation resulting from a reliance on slash-and-burn farming,
    (3) Energy poverty and a lack of access to clean, renewable energy, and
    (4) Climate change.

    The Biochar Fund :
    Exceptional results from biochar experiment in Cameroon
    The broad smiles of 1500 subsistence farmers say it all ( that , and the size of the Biochar corn root balls )

    Mark my words; Given the potential for Laurens Rademaker’s programs to grow exponentially, only a short time lies between This man’s nomination for a Noble Prize.

    This authoritative PNAS article should cause the recent Royal Society Report to rethink their criticism of Biochar systems of Soil carbon sequestration;

    Reducing abrupt climate change risk using
    the Montreal Protocol and other regulatory
    actions to complement cuts in CO2 emissions


    The Ozzie’s for 5 years now in field studies
    The future of biochar – Project Rainbow Bee Eater

    The Japanese have been at it dacades:
    Japan Biochar Association ;

    UK Biochar Research Centre

    Virginia Tech is in their 4 th year with the Carbon Char Group’s “CharGrow” formulated bagged product. An idea whose time has come | Carbon Char Group
    He said the 2008 trials at Virginia Tech showed a 46% increase in yield of tomato transplants grown with just 2 – 5 cups (2 – 5%) “CharGrow” per cubic foot of growing medium.

    Dr. Rory Maguire,
    In first year with Poultry litter char

    USDA in their 2 nd year; “Novak, Jeff” , & “david laird” ,
    There are dozens soil researchers on the subject now at USDA-ARS.
    and many studies at The up coming ASA-CSSA-SSSA joint meeting;

    Nikolaus has been at it 4 years. Nikolaus Foidl,
    His current work with aspirin is Amazing in Maize, 250% yield gains, 15 cobs per plant;

    My 09 field trials with the Rodale Institute & JMU ;
    Alterna Biocarbon and Cowboy Charcoal Virginia field trials ’09

    The Terra Preta Prayer

    Our Carbon who art in heaven,
    Hallowed be thy name
    By kingdom come, thy will be done, IN the Earth to make it Heaven.
    It will give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our atmospheric trespasses
    As we forgive those who trespass against the Kyoto protocols
    And lead us not into fossil fuel temptation, but deliver us from it’s evil
    low as we walk through the valley of the shadow of Global Warming,
    I will feel no evil, your Bio-fuels and fertile microbes will comfort me,
    For thine is the fungal kingdom,
    and the microbe power,
    and the Sequestration Glory,
    For ever and ever (well at least 2000 years)

    Your Chartarian,

  1. european bee eater - [...] side sighting of Cape Fox. Back to camp at 18.00 for the first relaxed drink of the day and …

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