A handy kiln for making charcoal from urban leaf litter

Tom Miles

A handy kiln for making charcoal from urban leaf litter
Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (ARTI), Pune, India www.arti-india.org

Single Barrel Charcoal Kiln

Single Barrel Charcoal Kiln

I can tell you how to make char out of your burnable organic waste. The simplest device is a top-lit updraft kiln. It consists of a vertical cylinder, having relatively small holes near its base for primary air. You fill the cylindrical body of the kiln with the material to be charred and then light it from the top. Once the fire gets going, you place a lid on the cylinder. There is a chimney built into the lid. The lid does not sit flush on the kiln, but there is a gap between the lid and the kiln. The draft created by the chimney sucks secondary air into the chimney, where it gets mixed with the pyrolysis gas to burn it. The biomass burns downwards, leaving a layer of charcoal on top. As the primary air comes upwards, it meets the burning front which traverses downwards. The burning biomass utilises all the oxygen in the primary air, so that the air going up through the layer of char has only carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen and the pyrolysis gas left in it. As there is no oxygen left in the updraft air, it cannot burn the char that has formed above the burning biomass.The pyrolysis gas and carbon monoxide burn in the chimney, because of the secondary air that is sucked in through the gap between the chimney and the kiln. You have to find out by trial and error, how long it takes to char the material loaded in the kiln. After that much time is over, you remove the lid, and extinguish the fire by sprinkling water over the burning material.

This particular device is portable and manually operated. There are larger charring kilns, based on the oven and retort process. Prof. Yuri Yudkevich, a Russian scientist, has made them for charring useless material generated by the timber industry in Russia.

We are already using both types of kilns under field conditions in India for charring agricultural waste as also urban waste.

We have a video CD that describes the kilns and you can fabricate them by watching the video CD. Our web site www.arti-india.org would show you how to get our CDs by paying us through Pay Pal.


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