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Biochar Production in Kon-Tiki Australia

After exploring and making deep cone kilns, cylindrical kilns and pyramid kilns in Switzerland, Canada, and California it seemed they presented the fastest way to get into biochar making on the small property. I was keen to set them up on my own property in Australia. The goals were: These goals were largely accomplished between February and May 2015, and are reported in the next several blogs. Videos are published on The Biochar RevolutionYouTube channel. In this blog I discuss the design, construction, and operating of a Kon-Tiki kiln to produce (7.5cu meters or over [...]

By |2019-03-13T10:35:28+00:00July 14th, 2015|1 Comment

Biochar Workshops On Australia’s Sunshine Coast

Back in March 2012 Paul Taylor went to Maleny on the Sunshine Coast hinterland to teach a two-day workshop about biochar and its potential hosted by Hans Erken of the Bamboo Society of Australia. In the media release Paul was quoted: "We'll be teaching people how to make and operate biochar ovens from recycled material such as 200 litre drums and how to prepare and condition the biochar for optimum benefits in the garden or farm. Bamboo is a particularly good source of biomass as it is fast growing and grows in abundance the Northern Rivers climate - it is used [...]

By |2019-03-13T10:35:39+00:00May 13th, 2015|1 Comment

Making and Operating Pyramid & Cylinder Flame-Shield Kilns in Northern California

Following the exploration and teaching about cavity kilns like open pyramids, cones and cylinders in BC, Canada (Cavity Kilns in Canada - October 2014), I built similar kilns in California. This is a photo blog on building 4ft (1.2m) pyramid kiln out of metal sheet, and a 1 cubic yard cylinder kiln out of a large propane tank on a rural property in Northern California. There are various suggestions for what these open draft cavity kilns ought to be called as a category. As shown in previous blogs, the cavity can be a cone, pyramid, drum, cylinder or ring, pit or [...]

By |2019-03-13T10:35:57+00:00April 25th, 2015|0 Comments

Cavity Kilns in Canada – October 2014

In September I did a biochar presentation in Calgary, Canada, which seemed to be a mecca for Permaculture, with participants from several permaculture organizations eager to hear what biochar could do for them. There are several initiatives around the world including from Switzerland, Australia and the US to start a biochar training courses along the lines of Permaculture courses. The presentation in Calgary was a prelude to a hands-on weekend biochar workshop at beautiful Quantum Leaps Lodge near Golden BC in the Canadian Rockies. This is a photographic blog of a pyramid kiln built out of a single sheet of steel, and a [...]

By |2019-03-13T10:36:07+00:00April 6th, 2015|0 Comments

Box kiln – July 6 2014, Ithaka Institute, Switzerland

In evaluating the relative characteristics of various top lit open draft kilns we desired to test, in addition to a metal cone kiln (previous Posts 1-3) and an earth pit cone kiln (post 4), a pyramid kiln and a vertical sided kiln such as one made from a 200 L drum. A drum was not readily available to us in our village in Switzerland. However, we had at our disposal a rectangular box, which held promise to shed some light on how both a rectangular kiln and a vertical sided kiln would compare to a cone. The box had interior dimensions [...]

By |2019-03-13T10:36:15+00:00March 13th, 2015|0 Comments

Pit Kiln – July 6 2014, Ithaka Institute, Switzerland

To evaluate the performance of a pit of similar shape to a cone kiln, a pit was dug on slightly sloping ground nearby the Cone Kiln, which was firing simultaneously. See previous Post 1, Post 2 and Post 3 for a run down on the kiln we are comparing with. Our pit profile was 140 cm diameter at the top, 70 cm deep at mid pit from the ground profile. Assumed to be a truncated cone of these dimensions, the kiln volume is 580 L. The pit edge was lined with stones to even out the rim profile towards the horizontal. A 75 x 85 [...]

By |2019-03-13T10:36:25+00:00February 28th, 2015|1 Comment

Kon-Tiki Too – July 6 2014, Ithaka Institute, Switzerland

This is the third post in a series reporting my notes as we worked on testing the Kon-Tiki concept at Ithaka Institute in Switzerland. Hans-Peter Schmidt and Paul Taylor reported the outcome of the work in a YouTube video and an Article in The Biochar Journal. In the first post I outlined why we called the kiln the Kon-Tiki. In my second post we began to learn how to operate the kiln and how it is characterized by a rolling vortex around the rim of the kiln that entrains the pyrogases into the flame zone. That prepared us for clear sailing of the Kon-Tiki in its second [...]

By |2019-03-13T10:36:36+00:00February 18th, 2015|0 Comments

Maiden Voyage of the Kon-Tiki Kiln

The Kon-Tiki deep cone kiln was commissioned on July 4 at Ithaka Institute in Switzerland. As the day and the next progressed, the Kon-Tiki exceeded our expectations, and seemed destined to set a new trend and alternative for biochar making. Hans-Peter Schmidt and Paul Taylor reported the work in a YouTube video and an Article in The Biochar Journal. In the previous post I outlined why we called the kiln the Kon-Tiki. In this post I continue my notes written late into the night, after the days run, in the guest quarters of the Ithaka Institute in Switzerland. The Cone [...]

By |2019-03-13T10:36:43+00:00February 9th, 2015|0 Comments

Biochar Makers for the Biochar Gardener and Small Farmer

This is the beginning of a series of articles, describing Paul Taylor's journey in making a cheap and easy to make biochar kiln or oven for the small property and small farmer. This will eventually take me back to my origin with biochar in 2007, and stoves, ovens and kilns explored, understood and developed along the way. The Kon-Tiki Deep Cone Kiln July 4 2014, Ithaka Institute, Switzerland A break through in the journey was my work with Hans-Peter Schmidt at the Ithaka Institute in Switzerland last July to commission a large cone kiln, which we dubbed the Kon-Tiki. Like some [...]

By |2019-03-13T10:36:57+00:00January 26th, 2015|4 Comments

Kon-Tiki – The democratization of biochar production – A Review

Hans-Peter Schmidt and Paul Taylor recently published the article "Kon-Tiki - the democratization of biochar production" on the Biochar Journal website. You can see a video of the Kon-Tiki firing here: Kon-tiki Video Link. You can read the whole article by clicking here.We recommend and encourage you to click through and read the full article. The article looks at the potential issue that, with competing demands for the biomass the biochar is made from, and with increasing applications for biochar, the cost of biochar may remain too expensive for smaller farmers to purchase for use on their farms. The answer to this issue [...]

By |2019-03-13T10:37:04+00:00December 11th, 2014|0 Comments