Monday, October 31, 2016

Another GREAT Biochar Expo!

According to UBET President Scott McKain, this was UBET's 7th Biochar Expo event. The group has learned a lot over those years. Since biochar is such new and unknown technique, it has been invaluable to have this strong learning network for discovery and sharing of knowledge and resources.

For the first time, UBET held the Expo on the Umpqua Community College Campus, and UCC biology professor Ken Carloni spoke to the group about some biochar projects his students are working on. Several students attended the expo and we hope they will continue to investigate biochar as part of their science education.

After a morning of presentations on various aspects of biochar - its impact on soils, plants and water, and the potential to mitigate climate change - we reconvened outside near the UCC garden plots to see the new kilns that the UCC Welding Department fabricated for us and fire a few of them up. We also saw some new innovative designs from UBET members Den Morgan, Scott McKain and Don Morrison.

A new TLUD (Top Lit Up Draft) gasifier design from Scott
WigWam Kiln and Ring of Fire Kiln made by UBET members.
We can make biochar in a Weber grill - perfect for small gardens in town.
A stack of brand new four foot wide kilns made by UCC Welding Department
Thank you welding students and instructors! We love these kilns.
UBET members demonstrated the two-stage method for starting the pyramid-shaped flame cap kilns. Begin by building a loose pile or rick of smaller material in the kiln. Light it on top. Keeping a flame on top at all times will burn up the smoke for a clean burn. Once the initial charge has burned down to glowing coals, add new material one layer at a time until the kiln is full. When all the flames are gone, everything is charred and you can quench with water.
Stack a loose pile or rick in the kiln with small kindling on top
Light the pile on the top. Always keep a flame on top to burn the smoke.
Let the pile burn down to glowing coals and then add more. We did not have time to fill the kiln - that would have taken several hours.

Quench with water when you are done. The new kilns have drains to let the water out.

We made some biochar!

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