Biochar: Old Technology and New Solutions
Date: Saturday, October 16th, 2010; 9:00am-2:00pm
Location: Land's Sake Farm, 90 Wellesley Street
Presenters: Bob Wells and Peter Hirst
Fee: $25 for members, $35 for non-members.
Contact [masked] for more information and to Register
This workshop is for all farmers and gardeners that want to improve their soil fertility, yields and nutrient quality with biochar. In this workshop you will build a burner and gain skills to use immediately. If you can swing a hammer you can learn how to build a biochar burner.
Biochar is an emerging technology based on centuries old techniques and principles for producing charcoal. Biochar is the byproduct when biomass is burned or heated with a minimum of oxygen. It is primarily used to enhance soil fertility and helps improve the health of plants, increases yields, reduces costs and improves food’s nutritional quality/density. Making biochar by pyrolysis also produces energy. When this energy is captured biochar can be turned into electricity, space heat or diesel (this workshop will focus on the soil fertility aspects and touch upon these other uses.)
We will build a barrel burner with a simple retort design capable of making small amounts of biochar safely and easily. We will also learn how to start a burn using our new barrels.
Peter Hirst (Blacksmith): Peter is the self-taught proprietor of Keziah's Forge, the newest incarnation of the old barrel factory forge in Harwich on Cape Cod. Peter demonstrates basic forging at fairs, festivals and private gatherings, replete with history, stories, poetry and blacksmith lore. He recently retired from the energy industry.
Bob Wells (Farmer): Bob comes with a wide spectrum of experience; from working on the biggest farm in New York State to learning organic farming and blacksmithing in the back woods of West Virginia. He's run businesses in electronics, metalworking and boat building. Currently he's carving out a small organic farm from the tangled woods of Eastham on Cape Cod. He is passionate about developing small scale biochar systems and educating others about biochar’s fantastic advantages.