Marketing EPRIDA’s Terra Preta*

Wednesday, June 14

I’ve been writing on this blog – directly or indirectly – about climate change (too many greenhouse gases in the atmosphere) and agriculture (too little carbon and richness in the topsoil that’s left) – and energy.

After numerous references to Natural Capitalism, I picked up the book Natural Capitalism for a re-read and re-discovered a chapter, “Food for Life” that addresses climate change, agriculture, energy and solutions:

climate change: “Farming, as presently practiced, contributes about one-fourth of the risk of altering the earth’s climate.”
agriculture: “A more subtle decline than physical soil loss, but no less dangerous, is the invisible loss of the soil’s organic richness.”
energy: “The food sector uses about 10-15 percent of all energy in the industrialized countries, and somewhat more in the United States. Despite improving efficiencies, about two-fifths of energy goes to food processing, packaging, and distribution, and another two-fifths to refrigeration and cooking by final users. Only one-fifth is actually used on the farm – half of that in the form of chemicals applied to the land.”
solutions: “Agriculture based on more natural models would feature reduced land clearance, tillage, and fertilization, higher energy efficiency, and greater reliance on renewable energy.”

A technology development company, EPRIDA, has a solution in carbon capture, carbon utilization for sustainable agriculture and renewable energy. Biomimicking an organic, closed-loop process, EPRIDA aims to take carbon from the air and put it in topsoil. One byproduct of the solution is called ECOSS (a fertilizer). Another is hydrogen (energy).

EPRIDA (“Sustainable Solutions for Global Concerns”) stands for: Earth People Research Innovation Development Acknowledgement. The company was founded “to provide a commercial vehicle for exploring innovative solutions to global challenges.”

Typical for technology development companies, EPRIDA has myriad product ideas, myriad potential markets and myriad value propositions. EPRIDA chooses to sell energy and fertilizer and carbon credits. Thus, it’s a solution. It’s not a widget; it’s not a product, like a can of soda.

I called Bob Gower, EPRIDA’s marketing director. I wanted to know what goes into marketing a cleantech solution. Bob is an MBA candidate at Presidio College in San Francisco and brings to EPRIDA a traditional corporate marketing background. How different is traditional marketing for a large established brand and marketing for a cleantech startup? I’ll fill you in next week. Until then, check out the “EPRIDA cycle” flash presentation…in Mandarin!

* Terra Preta is healthy, dark soil. On a sustainable farm, biomass is left on the ground to rot, or composted in, adding nutrients to the soil, a process that requires no energy input other than that from the sun and the work of bacteria, fungi, protoctists, and creatures of all sorts.

Other goings on this week:
Deloitte’s Senior Advisor, Joseph Stanislaw, on E&ETV: U.S. must take lead in shaping international energy policy (June 14)

1 reply
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I feel we should push for this Terra Preta Soils CO2 sequestration strategy as not only a global warming remedy for the first world, but to solve fertilization and transport issues for the third world. The economics look good, and truly great if we had CO2 cap & trade in place: There are processes that you can have your Bio-fuel and fertility too.'Terra Preta' soils I feel has great possibilities to revolutionize sustainable agriculture into a major CO2 sequestration strategy. I thought, I first read about these soils in " Botany of Desire " or "Guns,Germs,&Steel" but I could not find reference to them. I finely found the reference in "1491", but I did not realize their potential . Current issue of Nature article: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v4 … 2624a.html Here's the Cornell page for an over view :http://www.css.cornell.edu/faculty/lehm … r_home.htmThis Science Forum thread on thes soil contains further links :http://forums.hypography.com/earth-scie … eta-9.htmlThe Georgia Inst. of Technology page :http://www.energy.gatech.edu/presentations/dday.pdf There is an ecology going on in these soils that is not completely understood, and if replicated and applied at scale would have multiple benefits for farmers and environmentalist. Terra Preta creates a terrestrial carbon reef at a microscopic level. These nanoscale structures provide safe haven to the microbes and fungus that facilitate fertile soil creation, while sequestering carbon for many hundred if not thousands of years. The combination of these two forms of sequestration would also increase the growth rate and natural sequestration effort of growing plants.Also, Terra Preta was on the Agenda at this years world Soil Science Conference !http://crops.confex.com/crops/wc2006/te … P16274.HTMI also sent it to Dr. Jared Diamond, if he replies, I will probably have an orgasm!Here is a great article that high lights this pyrolysis process , ( http://www.eprida.com/hydro/ ) which could use existing infrastructure to provide Charcoal sustainable Agriculture , Syn-Fuels, and a variation of this process would also work as well for H2 , Charcoal-Fertilizer, while sequestering CO2 from Coal fired plants to build soils at large scales , be sure to read the "See an initial analysis NEW" link of this technology to clean up Coal fired power plants.Soil erosion, energy scarcity, excess greenhouse gas all answered through regenerative carbon management http://www.newfarm.org/columns/research … coal.shtmlIf pre Columbian Indians could produce these soils up to 6 feet deep over 20% of the Amazon basin it seems that our energy and agricultural industries could also product them at scale. Harnessing the work of this vast number of microbes and fungi changes the whole equation of EROEI for food and Bio fuels. I see this as the only sustainable agricultural strategy if we no longer have cheap fossil fuels for fertilizer.We need this super community of wee beasties to work in concert with us by populating them into their proper Soil horizon Carbon Condos.I feel Terra Preta soil technology is the greatest of Ironies since Tobacco.That is: an invention of pre-Columbian American culture, destroyed by western disease, may well be the savior of industrial western society. As inversely Tobacco, over time has gotten back at same society by killing more of us than the entire pre-Columbian population.Erich Erich J. Knight

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