Sunday, January 31, 2016

Kiln Materials for Distribution

A collection of barrels, kilns and scrap metal is looking for a new home. If anyone wants to pick up any of this stuff, either to use it or to store in for future use in UBET projects, please contact me (Kelpie) and we'll make arrangements for you to go by and place to pick it up. Here is a description, followed by some pictures:
Here's the "stuff"; two plastic chairs are hidden; there are a number of pallets; there are  maybe 3 sheet-metal, but Scott said he will pick those up. There are 19 barrels down  over the hill; I don't know if they have lids or not. There is a large square covered with black plastic which we want to remain. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Duchess Biochar Field Trial Update

Work on the plots at the Duchess Sanctuary continues. UBET member Mike Burke is monitoring the new biochar applications made in November. There has been a lot of rain, but the top-applied biochar seems to be staying in place on the 10ft x 10ft plots. Here is a report from Mike:
"With a break in the weather we went to the Duchess Horse Sanctuary this morning to check out the plots.  These pictures were taken from plots in row #4, which is the middle row and a good sample of what is happening on all plots. 
First picture (0516) is plot C with heavy application of biochar and grass is spotty.  Due to the heavy application it looks like grass suffocated, might be due to all the rain?  To date approx. 26 inches of rain since 11/18/15 when we did this work. Second picture (0517) is plot B with moderate application of biochar and grass is more uniform.  B plots are the best looking."
Plot C treatment - 2 applications of biochar - total = 15 gal/plot

Plot B treatment - 2 applications of biochar - total = 5 gal/plot

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Great One Passes...

We are sad to announce UBET leader Jim Long died on Thursday, January 7 after battling cancer. Jim Long was a founder of the group and an instigator of many great biochar projects in Douglas County. Through his involvement in a large number of community initiatives promoting sustainability and community cohesion, Jim introduced a wide variety of people to the concept of biochar. He inspired and encouraged many volunteers to engage in biochar projects of all kinds. His family hopes his legacy will continue.

There will be a Celebration of Jim's Long Life, on Saturday, January 23rd, from 1:30-3:30 at the Southern Oregon Wine Institute -

First Burns Using the UCC Kilns

Thanks to Ian Fisher and Duane Thompson of Umpqua Community College for their work on our newest set of biochar kilns. From our rough sketches, they were able to put together these very functional steel kilns that we used in two biochar sessions on January 8 and 9. 

On January 8, we worked at the Alder Creek Community ForestThe Alder Creek Community Forest is a wonderful educational resource. Local schools use the Pavilion and grounds several days a week to teach children about nature and forestry. Now they can learn about biochar as well. Thanks to Don Morrison, Scott McKain, Jessica Pires, Jackie Parag and her son Rich, Jim Proctor, David Parker and Jerry Sabol for helping with kiln transport, loading, unloading and quenching.
ACCF will use the biochar in several different ecological restoration projects. 

Doranne Long, Kelpie Wilson and Scott McKain admire the new UCC biochar kilns at Alder Creek Community Forest.

Don and Scott add slash to the kiln. We did not cut the slash to fit in the kiln as an experiment in labor saving. As the longer pieces burned through, we chunked the ends into the kiln to finish burning.

On Saturday we met at Troy Michaels' place to process some recently fallen trees into biochar using the UCC kilns and Scott McKain's WigWam Kiln. The wood was very wet - most of it was more than 30% water. Usually we like the wood to be less than 25% moisture for an efficient burn. So, we burned a lot of wood just to make enought heat to evaporate the moisture. We still managed to make almost a cubic yard of biochar! It was a good learning experience. Thanks to Troy, Don, Scott, Stan, Michael and Dan for help.
The two Oregon Kilns, the WigWam Kiln and a heck of a lot of wet wood.

We improvised heat shields and caps to try to hold in more heat and improve the charring efficiency.

More pictures from both days are found here: