Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Biochar for Arborists and Tree Service Professionals

One of the objectives we have for developing the Oregon Kiln is to see if it can work for arborists and foresters working on private land. In our region, many people have trees or small forests on their land that need management, including thinning and brush disposal. Often, professionals are hired to do the job. How can tree service businesses use the Oregon Kiln to make money?

Here is a list of things to think about if you are wanting to start a business turning people's burn piles to biochar:
  • Price for chipping - $200/hr
  • Price for biochar burning - $200/hr
  • Separate firewood from small branches & brush
  • Customer gets biochar made from small brush, valued at $250/cy
  • Arborist gets the firewood to sell
  • Or you could do it the other way around - maybe the customer wants the firewood and has no interest in the biochar - then you could take the biochar and sell it.
  • No expensive chipper to maintain
  • Burn permit is required
  • No smoke to bother the neighbors
  • Customer gets biochar carbon sequestration bragging rights

Biochar carbon sequestration bragging rights: 
  • Half of the carbon in the wood will be sequestered in the soil as biochar for thousands of years. 
  • If the wood had been left to rot on the ground, most would be back in the atmosphere as CO2 within several years if it is small branches, a little longer for bigger branches. 
  • Wood chips decompose even more quickly. 
  • Biochar is a great way to sequester carbon from wood long term. 
  • The only other ways to sequester carbon from wood are to use it in buildings (but there is a lot of sawmill waste) or sinking large logs in water or burying them deep underground.

Jeff Meier processes brush on a job, using the Oregon Kiln

Jeff made about one cubic yard of biochar in two hours. With another kiln, he could have made twice as much.

Steel fabricator Brian Vicklund (L) sold a kiln to Michael Burns (R) who will use it in his brush disposal business

Finished kilns in Brian Vicklund's shop in White City, Oregon

No comments:

Post a Comment