Home Industry News Releases Sitos Group, Biochar Producer Launches State-of-the-Art Slow Pyrolysis Plant in Monterey, First of...

Sitos Group, Biochar Producer Launches State-of-the-Art Slow Pyrolysis Plant in Monterey, First of Its Kind Design in the U.S.

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Biochar Offers Wine Grape Growers and Wineries Improvements in Soil Health, Water Conservation, Crop Yields and Carbon Sequestration

Monterey, CA – September 13, 2023 – Sitos Group (SG) is pleased to announce the launch of its groundbreaking slow pyrolysis biochar manufacturing facility in Monterey, California. Pioneering a highly efficient technology, SG desires to support wineries and grape growers in adopting regenerative and sustainable farming practices through biochar application in their vineyards. Named after Sito, the goddess of agriculture and earth (also known as Demeter), Sitos Group was co-founded by Steve McIntyre, owner of Monterey Pacific Inc. (MPI), which manages 17,500 acres of vineyards in Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties, and Mayo Ryan, a seasoned agriculturist with extensive leadership experience in large agribusiness firms.

Doug Beck of Monterey Pacific Weighs Grape Clusters Photo: Raymond Baltar

“We have been monitoring the effects of biochar for eight years at Monterey Pacific,” said McIntyre. “We are convinced that its application in vineyards is a tremendous win for growers, wineries and the environment.”

Biochar is a charcoal-like substance created by transforming organic matter into a carbon-rich material (biochar) through a controlled process known as slow pyrolysis. This process involves treating organic matter at very high temperatures in a low-oxygen environment to yield premium-grade biochar. The biochar created through this specific process is typically comprised of 80% pure, fixed carbon, built to last in the soil for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Due to the high carbon content of biochar, it does not release methane nor CO2 into the atmosphere through natural decomposition. Instead, it remains sequestered in the soil, making it an exceptional soil amendment and carbon sink.

The application of biochar as a soil amendment enhances moisture retention, promotes soil health, boosts crop yields, and contributes to efficient means of carbon sequestration. A comprehensive three-year field trial (see attached) led by Dr. Doug Beck at MPI’s Oasis Vineyard in Monterey County demonstrated that the combined use of biochar and compost delivered superior results in terms of improved soil health, water conservation, fruit quality, and crop yields.

Through the biochar application field studies, MPI observed a remarkable 66.67% increase in soil organic matter over three years following the introduction of the biochar/compost blend in MPI-managed vineyards. Economic benefits over the first three years, resulted in an astonishing 27% yield increase, 33% reduction in water usage, over 15% increase in cluster counts and a 5% increase in cluster weight.

The Sitos Group’s chosen slow pyrolysis machine – the first of its kind design in the U.S. – handles 1000kg (2.2 tons) of feedstock per hour, resulting in a 30% biochar production rate. The technology is scalable and is not feedstock specific (biochar can be made from vineyard, agriculture and forestry waste, etc.), producing high-quality biochar and giving new purpose for otherwise costly waste streams

Slow pyrolysis biochar presents a sustainable solution for wineries and growers looking to reduce their carbon footprint. With sustainability becoming a paramount concern for wine consumers, and wineries alike, carbon sequestration serves as an effective sales and marketing tool. Biochar is a game-changer and places authentic sustainability at the forefront of the wine industry and agriculture as a whole.

About Sitos Group

Founded by Steve McIntyre of Monterey Pacific Inc. and McIntyre Vineyards, and Mayo Ryan, Sitos Group is a leader in scalable, efficient, high-quality biochar production and carbon removal. With their state-of-the-art slow-pyrolysis biochar production process, the company delivers premium-quality biochar, made by growers, and used by growers for increased yields, improved soil health and durable carbon sequestration.

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