Biochar burn school results

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A quick summary of results of experiments in open burn techniques to minimize smoke and maximize charcoal production. Experiments were conducted by volunteers over a 3 day period, November 15-17, 2013, outside of Grants Pass, Oregon.

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  • Nice work Kelpie!! I'm glad we're improving our burning practices in the woods. What a great opportunity to control air pollution, with something that can be done now without a lot of extra money or equipment.
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  • What, no Biochar Cone Kiln???
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Biochar burn school results

  1. 1. Biochar Burn School Nov 15-17, 2013 at Enchanted Forest, Grants Pass, Oregon Sponsored by Wilson Biochar Associates, Table Rock Foundation, Lomakatsi Restoration, Sonoma Biochar Intiative
  2. 2. Current Practice: Pile and Burn Cost: $2,000/acre to cut, pile and burn Return: waste treatment – fuel load reduction Byproducts: smoke, sterilized soil, ash, small amounts of char
  3. 3. Objectives • We can do better! • Try different methods of pile construction and lighting to see if we can produce less smoke and more charcoal to minimize environmental impact of open burns • Keep labor requirements in mind and minimize effort and resources
  4. 4. Ethics • Open burning is NOT a biochar production method • Volume biochar production methods should produce zero or near zero emissions with capture of useful energy to substitute for fossil fuels • Biochar burning methods are intended as a best practice for situations where open burning is the only practical disposal method of problem biomass
  5. 5. Physics of Top Lit Burning Wood does not burn directly, rather, heated wood emits gases that burn: • Heat transfers by radiation into the wood • Heated wood releases gases that rise • When hot gases rise they are exposed to air and they burn • Heat converts remaining wood to charcoal • Charcoal will not burn if it is protected from oxygen by the gas flare • If rising gases cool too fast or do not get enough air, smoke results
  6. 6. Diagram by Tom Reed, www.thomasreedinventions.c om
  7. 7. Standard burn pile of fir and pine from oak savannah restoration project. Only change is, we light on the top instead of on the bottom.
  8. 8. TYPICAL BOTTOM LIT BURN PILE
  9. 9. TOP LIT BURN PILE - CONSUMES SMOKE
  10. 10. Wood moisture levels ranged from 12% to 30%
  11. 11. We rebuilt some piles to get a more pyramidal shape with bigger logs on the bottom, and few fine materials
  12. 12. These piles could be quenched with 2 bladder bags of water. Spread out the char to cool rapidly, reducing water requirement.
  13. 13. Charcoal yield approximately 40 gallons
  14. 14. Day 3 Ultimate Pile – culmination of lessons learned: Rule #1: bigger material on bottom, smaller on top.
  15. 15. Rule #2: Light on the top. If using accelerant, spray a mist evenly across the top. Avoid drip torches that will produce flame underneath unburned material.
  16. 16. Rule #3: space between sticks roughly equal to stick diameter
  17. 17. Rule #4. As pile burns down, consolidate fuel for minimum smoke and maximum biochar production. Observe the stick in the air, cooling and smoking.
  18. 18. Rule #5. Spread out and quench with light mist to conserve water.
  19. 19. Special Thanks! • Jan and Brenda Patton, owners of Enchanted Forest • Peter Hirst of New England Biochar for expert instruction • All the participants who labored over three days to learn and refine these techniques • Our co-sponsors: Lomakatsi Restoration Project, Table Rock Foundation, Sonoma Biochar initiative • Forest Service soil scientist Jim Archuleta for his preliminary experiments Wilson Biochar Associates specializes in biochar technology and market development. We provide strategic advice and services to businesses and organizations. Kelpie Wilson Wilson Biochar Associates Mobile: 541-218-9890 kelpiew@gmail.com www.wilsonbiochar.com

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