10. Biochar Production: From Colliers to Retorts



This e-Book builds on the perspectives which author Peter Hirst imparted in his earlier e-Book (also available on our bookshelf) “From Blacksmith to Biochar: The Essence of Community”. In this story, starts with a historical comparative of the methods of producing charcoal and biochar.

“light a wooden match and watch it burn. at the end of the burn, the wood in the matchstick will be completely burned and blackened. congratulations! You have just produced your first biochar.”

From that historical discussion Peter goes on to explain in really simple terms, what the pyrolysis process is – which is the basis of both charcoal and biochar production. Biochar is not charcoal though, and so the differences must be, and are explained.

You will find the later sections of this e-book really interesting if you want to build your own biochar retorts as it gives practical information and descriptions of various modern, community sized retorts which are scalable, clean burning, low tech and easy to build. Many of these types or retorts are used today for permanent biochar production.

Additional information we have included within this e-book include:

  • A Biochar Timeline
  • A full glossary of Biochar related terms

Direction to resources and organisations to assist you find what you are looking for, in the biochar community