The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › open pit biochar production

open pit biochar production

Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 592
http://hawaiibiochar....­

It's been too long since we had a good biochar post. End product looks pretty good!
Derek L.
user 14490127
Portland, ME
Post #: 28
Excellent! I have been working on clearing all that invasive honeysuckle and wild rose - very gratifying actually!

I also happen to have uncovered a pit probably testing drainage for building - I see biochar in my future.

How is the stuff processed and used after production? Pulverize and soak in biodynamic remedy? Disperse anywhere? garden beds?

Pardon my ignorance - I am taking advantage of the expertise heresmile

Better yet - i am glad to host a biochar production meetup if anyone is interested?

Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 593
I usually process mine through my compost piles or mix it in as part of sheet mulched areas that will not be planted out for a year or more. I signed up for the compost tea workshop mostly because I'd like to work with making compost tea for experimenting with charging biochar.
My other thought is that pits be dug where the biochar will be used. Then the soil would go back in and be blended with the char. This bed would then be planted with a nitrogen fixing crop for the first year as nitrogen fixers seem to do better that first year. I have not tried that yet though.
These pit fires might also be good for killing root systems of invasives by cooking them in the area.
james k.
user 8248185
New Port Richey, FL
Post #: 8
My Friend, "Bio-Char George Hoche" in Eastport has been doing the open pit char making in place and calling it "Hugel-char" because then he covers it and plants it like a Hugelkultur bed. He did this this past spring so no real results to report yet.
Jesse S.
user 29709632
Harrison, ME
Post #: 103
Nice simple process for making char with an open burn.
I like the idea of stacking the functions; using the pit as a future planting site. I could see a 'hugelchar' hybrid where one replaces topsoil, rotted wood and applies sheet mulch to bring the bed above grade. Or one could do it on a smaller scale for tree or shrub planting. I've seen young apple trees do really well that were planted on an area used as a burn pile where the ground contained the remaining char and ashes.
I've been making char for a few years now as a co-product of cooking in my earthoven- I don't let my last stoke load of wood burn down to ash, but rather pull out the live coals and then quench them with water. I crush them with a log on the ground, then put that through a 3/16" mesh screen. I've read rice-sized particles are ideal for biochar. Fill a bucket with the char, and wet down with some sort of nutrient tea/innoculant. Compost tea, diluted urine, fermented plant tea, worm bin leachate and household greywater are different ones I've used. Then it goes into the compost, or get applied to grow beds. I did a big asparagus install where I used quite a bit of it, and the growth has been great there. Also good for raising pH though I gather that softwoods can have an acidifying effect. Another way to cycle char would be to use it as livestock bedding, or humanure.
Here's a great website related to char:
http://www.biochar-in...­
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 594
Jesse, on the biochar-international site did you see under the Open Source Technology http://www.biochar-in...­ there's a slide show on open pit biochar production. http://www.slideserve...­ Some interesting slides explaining how to do this. It looks like the pyramid of brush they burned produced a decent amount of ash to me. The Jack Daniels rick charcoal burn method seems much more controlled and productive, but more time consumptive....but really interesting! I imagine it would work well with poles from a coppice.

http://www.youtube.co...­
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 599
OK, this link might show the best method yet for an individual to make biochar from. Good scale, you can cook over it or just enjoy being around it on cool summer nights or during those cooler days of fall while doing outdoor duties. It's the Japanese Cone Kiln. The Japanese are great, aren't they!
http://www.greenyourh...­
I'm planning to design one up as a formal fire pit, but I imagine that just digging a pit in this geometry would do the trick right in your garden, then mix it into the soil while quenching it really well.
Tyler O.
TylerOmand
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 19
AWESOME!
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 602
AWESOME!
I KNOW!!! I had to share it as soon as I saw it.

Derek, I also recently ran across this article in Ithaka (a new journal to me that I'm LOVING) that demonstrates some methods of charging biochar and the effects of charging vs. not charging:
http://www.ithaka-jou...­
Tyler O.
TylerOmand
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 21
I was just reading an article yesterday that stated .04 oz of biochar can have 4000-1200 square feet of surface area!
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