Step 1 : Feedstock Supply
NewCarbon have identified six specific feedstock sources for their bio-carbon processing;
- Alien invasive plants (AIP’s) (Eucalyptus, Black Wattle and Pine) were selected due to their propensity to spread rapidly with negative consequences for native species. AIPs have an impact on the diversity of local species because they affect water availability, adversely affect the quality of soil nutrients, and can totally change environmental conditions.
- Bush encroachment is a global phenomenon. In South Africa and neighbouring countries there is an increase in the abundance of indigenous woody vegetation in the grasslands and savanna biomes; in particular, Blackthorn and Sicklebush. This leads to the degradation of the grasslands with resultant changes in vegetation composition.
- Agricultural product waste such as Macadamia nutshells are a valuable feedstock source due to the hardness of the shells and it’s propensity to be utilised as a high grade biocarbon once it has gone through the pyrolysis process.
- Forestry clippings similarly are a valuable contributor to the production of agricultural grade biocarbon through pyrolysis for soil remediation and other applications.
- Sawmill waste is also a valuable feedstock source for the production of biocarbon grades especially applicable to the treatment of dessert soils resulting in increased soil fertility, moisture retention and soil total carbon.
- Charcoal is a good feedstock source when further processed and upgraded for water treatment applications.
With regards to felling, trees are cut mechanically using mobile cutting machines or manually handled chainsaws. This process is typically outsourced to SMMEs and individual operators.
When it comes to harvesting, feedstocks are gathered from the felling site up to a collection point where chipping can be done for homogenous sizing. A number of feedstock types and sources can be processed such as logs, woodchips, agricultural waste, sawmill waste and charcoal which are collected and delivered to the processing plant. These feedstocks are then specifically stored dependent on feedstock source and sizing.