Wednesday, January 13, 2016

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: 

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