Art Esarn wrote:Dale, we weave another thread:
I second your rant.
1. People espousing being green, yet doing the opposite
e.g. The pursuit of home biochar making (cool in many ways, especially the "stick it to the man, self-sufficiency" ethic while at the same time doing such a miserable job of controlling emissions. I think it is a reasonable standard of care that if you have the technical ability to post a YouTube video, you can do basic research into what you're doing. e.g.:
Without a fair bit more effort to measure emissions I used the "far viewing" technique. I looked at the output of the chimney from 15 yards/metres against both the sky and a tree. At that distance, any smoke can be detected as a plume of "less clear/smoky" vs. the "transparent heat haze" of a "clean burn".
Wayne Newton wrote:Small automated system that creates Electricity and Biochar...
Light industrial automated system, again for Electricity and Biochar...
It will probably weigh 5% as much as the original feed stock. Remember that we're down to 20% after the gassification process.
What if you take your typical rocket mass heater design, with the 55 gallon drum, and put an oven on top (air tight of course) for making charcoal? I hear the temps can reach 900F. The oven gasses could be piped back into the rocket stove inlet making it more efficient. What is the possibility of explosion when working with syngas?
Abe Connally wrote:I think most people don't use firebricks because they are expensive. Check out the links I showed above, there are some insulated retorts.
Earthen kilns are good, but they take a lot of energy to get up to temperature, so use more energy. Google the Adam Retort to see an brick design that claims 40% efficiency.
Dale here- Something's gone wrong with the colour
The Adam kiln seems to work well. In searching out possible markets, I discovered that blacksmiths, cooks and firearms people want highly carbonated charcoal. Many makers stop the process prematurely in order to get more weight. Wood is about 50% carbon to begin with. When cooked it gives off methane and carbonmonoxide with small amounts of alcohol, kerosene and other carbon compounds. All of these chip away at the carbon yeild. Hydrogen is also a component of these compounds but it is the lightest of elements. From wikipedia concerning biochar- "Residues of incomplete organic pyrolysis, e.g., from cooking fires,..... In general, pyrolysis of organic substances produces gas and liquid products and leaves a solid residue richer in carbon content, char. Extreme pyrolysis, which leaves mostly carbon as the residue, is called carbonization."
The yeild definately goes down when complete carbonization is achieved. According to literature on biochar's benefits, greater carbonization improves the structure for holding nutrients. For me, the small, unmarketable stuff is what I would use as char. I'd like to sell the lumps, so 5% might be generous. Most of what I'm seeing being done I would label fiddling.
Dale Hodgins wrote:Fiddling with it and allowing it to drift over to the neighbours is shameful. Stop it if you've already begun. [/b]
leila hamaya wrote:this all seems unnecessarily complicated to me.
the bio char i use is all the bits that are left after a fire in a simple fire pit, burning the waste paper/cardboard at the same time. whatever is left as chunks after it is put out by the water hose, is what i can use as bio char. also the chunks at the bottom of the wood stove. combined with compost/ fresh wood chips/etc i put this on the bottom and edges of the garden beds.
maybe theres some complicated system that makes some idealized perfected version of bio char, or i am missing some good reason for all the fuss, but i think this works as well as anything.
lately i am thinking to make biochar right on top of the new beds i am making. take all the paper and cardboard waste and pile it on top of the new garden beds, light it and let the fire go for a while and then put it out with tons of water. then start adding the compost/straw/leaves/manure/soil layers on top of the whole thing. actually i might do this =) ever easier than a fire pit cause i wouldnt have to wheelbarrow stuff around.
sometimes the easy way is the way to go, me thinks.