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Pyroligneous acid/ liquid smoke

 
Mihai Ilie
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I am using biochar quite a lot but i found this product on a supermarket shelf and its great.
Its called pyroligneous acid or liquid smoke or wood vinegar.Has a ph @3 andit contains a lot of humic acid.
Its a byproduct that results from charcoal making in a retort nd its basically the condensed fumes resulted.
Now i feel that i wasted this sunstance by making the biochar without having a system to condense and collect the fumes.
Its a mix of organic acids that chelates metals like iron preventing plant chlorosis.
When its mixed with tap water it turns it black instantly but when using pure water ( rain water) it remains clear and i think its the alkalinity that react to make it black.
wood-vinegar.jpg
wood vinegar
wood vinegar
wood-vinegar-turning-black-when-mixed-with-tap-water.jpg
wood vinegar turning black when mixed with tap water
wood vinegar turning black when mixed with tap water
 
Greg Martin
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Thank you for sharing this Mihai.  You're reminding me that I need to try and set up a system to condense some fumes during biochar making as well.  Just guessing, but I assume the dark color comes from it chelating metals like iron due to interactions between the electrons in the aromatic groups of the wood vinegar and those of the iron....but just an off the cuff guess.  
 
Chris Kott
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Wikipedia wrote: The principal components of pyroligneous acid are acetic acid, acetone and methanol. It was once used as a commercial source for acetic acid. In addition, the vinegar often contains 80-90% water along with some 200 organic compounds.

Pyroligneous acid

Why do we want these things? I am assuming for the 200 organic compounds?

One of the other fun things you might create using low-temperature pyrolisis is the wood-tar variant of creosote. This substance's tar-based cousin is responsible for all rail lands having the relative toxicity of superfund sites, though lacking the protections.

I think that instead of building a condenser, unless I had a specific need for a chemical that could be derived in this fashion, I would just ensure that the liquids vapourised into fuel for further pyrolisis, to make more biochar.

-CK

EDIT: Though I think I would like Dr. Redhawk's take on it.
 
Mihai Ilie
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Chris Kott wrote:

Wikipedia wrote: The principal components of pyroligneous acid are acetic acid, acetone and methanol. It was once used as a commercial source for acetic acid. In addition, the vinegar often contains 80-90% water along with some 200 organic compounds.

Pyroligneous acid

Why do we want these things? I am assuming for the 200 organic compounds?

One of the other fun things you might create using low-temperature pyrolisis is the wood-tar variant of creosote. This substance's tar-based cousin is responsible for all rail lands having the relative toxicity of superfund sites, though lacking the protections.

I think that instead of building a condenser, unless I had a specific need for a chemical that could be derived in this fashion, I would just ensure that the liquids vapourised into fuel for further pyrolisis, to make more biochar.

-CK

EDIT: Though I think I would like Dr. Redhawk's take on it.


It contains a lot of hummic acid and fulvic acid just like those expensive fertilisers that are made from Leonardite.It is verry much used in Asia but in Europe and North America is not well known.
Its probably why the biochar works ,because it contains somme of these acids from non complete and non uniform combustion.
 
Chris Kott
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I think the consensus is that biochar houses microbes that promote healthy soil, and along with conferring a longer-lasting soil structure than more volatile organics, the fact that biochar is the apartment blocks that the worker microbes that build soil live and breed in makes it effective at transforming dirt into living soil.

-CK
 
Greg Martin
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Chris Kott wrote:I think the consensus is that biochar houses microbes that promote healthy soil, and along with conferring a longer-lasting soil structure than more volatile organics, the fact that biochar is the apartment blocks that the worker microbes that build soil live and breed in makes it effective at transforming dirt into living soil.
-CK



Chris, beyond housing, I think they're now figuring out that soil microbes evolved with biochar as part of the soil environment and that these microbes use the biochar to reduce the cost of living via redox savings. Pretty cool stuff!  Forest fires and biochar seem to be critical to the way life on this planet works.  Fire adapted conifers seem to be a critical niche....up there with nitrogen fixers, dynamic accumulators, etc.  Time will tell as the understanding catches up.
 
John Suavecito
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Yes, we are just barely learning about how all of these things work together.  Each year brings huge new insights. One factor that is not conclusive but promising is that the structure of the biochar may support the growth of mycelium in a different and possibly more complete way than other soils.  Paul Stamets has written quite a bit about the mycelium growing through fabrics and other structures like a world wide web.  Another possibility is that the electrons flow through it, as I've posted here, which allows more biochemical reactions and symbiosis. It's an exciting time of much experimentation, another reason why it is so beneficial to share our results in places like this.
John S
PDX OR
 
Mihai Ilie
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The most interesting stuff ive read about pyrolineous acid and biochar ,was when on a forum,a farmer from Thailand ( they use biochar and wood vinegar/ pyroligneous acid there for ages) told me that they mix the biochar with the pyroligneous acid and that big chunks of biochar treated this way,simply dissapear after just a year in the ground.
I assumed that the wood acid melts the char but i didnt tested this myself.
In case its true then they dont use it to aerate the soil or grow bacteria but just to feed the carbon similar to the huggelmounds just a lot faster.
Those asians really know a lot about biochar.
He posted pictures and said they grow seedlings in biochar only,without any soil added to it wich its hard to believe but im sure they have their secrets.

I too look for ways to improvise a smoke condenser to make my own pyroligneous acid because in Europe its quite hard to find and the hummic acid from Leonardite costs @ 25 dollars per litter.
 
F Agricola
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It could be a sales ploy too - call something 'bio' and it's automatically assumed that the product is safe.

Arsenic and asbestos are also natural substances.

The other issue is that it is a concentrate. In a natural bushfire process it would interact in a different manner and precipitate with other volatiles in small amounts over a large area.

Maybe make a food flavouring condensate instead - I received a bottle of 'Liquid Smoke' in a Christmas hamper a few years ago. It's good to add that BBQ flavour/aroma to steak when cooked in a frypan on a conventional cooktop. Though I question its safety if used regularly.

In the Australian context, in regards to biochar, soil microbes and forests, it has been known for quite a while that a low/medium intensity forest fire promotes germination of most native seeds, increases phosphate and charcoal/biochar to infamously infertile soils and, in some instances, smoke alone actually triggers seed germination of several species.

The smoke triggering process obviously involves a cocktail of chemicals produced at high temperatures.

At the moment we're experiencing catastrophic forest fires along the east coast - these have been hot enough to melt glass and aluminium, so the forest and soil biota will take years to recover because we're also in a severe drought - no soil moisture to aid rehabilitation.
 
Chris Kott
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Yeah. I am not sure. I would like to hear Dr. Redhawk's take on this, if at all possible. I do hope he pops in.

-CK
 
Boy Bert
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Amazing! I work for a biochar outfit in BC and were looking for more info on charging biochar with wood vinegar. If your Thai farmer friend has it, would love to learn more (specifically about dilution ratios for charging biochar with WV) .. much appreciated!!!

Mihai Ilie wrote:The most interesting stuff ive read about pyrolineous acid and biochar ,was when on a forum,a farmer from Thailand ( they use biochar and wood vinegar/ pyroligneous acid there for ages) told me that they mix the biochar with the pyroligneous acid and that big chunks of biochar treated this way,simply dissapear after just a year in the ground.
I assumed that the wood acid melts the char but i didnt tested this myself.
In case its true then they dont use it to aerate the soil or grow bacteria but just to feed the carbon similar to the huggelmounds just a lot faster.
Those asians really know a lot about biochar.
He posted pictures and said they grow seedlings in biochar only,without any soil added to it wich its hard to believe but im sure they have their secrets.

I too look for ways to improvise a smoke condenser to make my own pyroligneous acid because in Europe its quite hard to find and the hummic acid from Leonardite costs @ 25 dollars per litter.

gift
 
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