From Karl Frogner August, 2015

Naming Small Scale Biochar Production Technology
Cone/ Ring Pyramid


~500 l &

Larger BP

? x ? x x x

Small to
~500 l BP
x x x ? x

Cook Stove
Small Cooking

x x ?    

Items in brackets are tentative designations pending a consensus on a good name.
X = Technology type commonly found in units in the category
? = Technology type not commonly found as PDF in units in the category but might fit
(looking for references, help wanted.
BP = Biochar Production (as primary design function)
(LLU) = Low-tech, Large-capacity Unit (looking for a good name – suggestions by workers,
innovators of this category welcome.
PDF = Primary Design Function
(SFP) = Stacked Feedstock Pile
(see: magazine/2014/02/index.htm#?page=26 )
TFOD = Top Fed Open Draft
(TFUD) = Top Fed Up Draft (see:
05/04/2015 Flame Cap Tube Kiln)
TLUD = Top Lit Up Draft

The last UN climate change report should have been a wakeup call for everyone, even slumbering believers, that climate change is the preeminent crisis we face as well as the most daunting one we have ever faced. This is heightened by the Popes recent Encyclical dealing with climate change. I am not a Catholic – not even a Christian and don’t agree with everything he said, but the fact that the Pope issued it has forcefully raised for all to see that whatever else it may be, climate disruption is emphatically a moral issue, intimately entwined with a number of other moral issues, the more so because it is human induced. Large numbers of people are suffering and dying and a great extinction of species has already begun. This moral imperative should (& I hope, will) have an impact on the future of biochar’s perceived role in climate change mitigation.

The current level of CO2 in the atmosphere exceeds 400ppm. This needs to be brought down to 350ppm, and soon, if we are to have a chance of maintaining a climate close to the one in which humanity and civilization arose. [1] The exact amount of CO2 needed to be removed is dependent on the amount of CO2 that we continue to put into the atmosphere. But, as modeled by Hansen et al. this can be (could have been ?) accomplished by removing 100 Gt of carbon in the 50 year period between 2031 and 2080. [1] We have only 2 proven means of significantly and economically removing CO2 from the atmosphere, planting trees and sequestering biochar.

Current science and expert opinion indicate that sustainable biochar sequestration could sequester up to 40% of the 100GtC, approximately 30% by distributed low tech biochar production (DLT) systems, while on the other hand, all of the high tech commercial production is not likely to be able to account for more than 10% - though this is still a significant figure. [2]
The moral imperative seems clear. We need a properly balanced biochar program where effort and funding reflect the needs and potential for sustainable, responsible biochar sequestration to responsibly and morally maximize biochar’s contribution to climate disruption mitigation. Our leaders should be advocating for this, we all in the biochar community should supporting this, being careful that our individual activities are not getting in the way.

With that said, can we start a serious conversation on a categorization of low tech units that facilitates low tech biochar’s potential for climate change mitigation?

Installing an Urban Food Forest in Pottstown, PA Working with Feed The Burbs, Permanent Future Institute, and Mosaic Community Garden with Soil Reef Biochar

Mosaic Community Land Trust
Feed the Burbs
Soil Reef Biochar:
Biochar Bob


Nice academic introduction to biochar from Dr. David Laird.

Biochar: an Introduction to an Industry from CenUSA Bioenergy on Vimeo.

Dr. David Laird gives us an introduction to biochar, and research being done by CenUSA to investigate it's potential for use as a soil amendment.
Video filmed by Kelsey Lee, edited by Dylan VanBoxtel.
Find out more about Cen USA:

CenUSA Bioenergy is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2011-68005-30411 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Full Ears of Corn by July 4
Healthy Roots - Corn July
Good healthy growth Mid June
Adapted No-tiill setup for applying biological amendments

Farmer J.R. Bollinger has been seeing remarkable results with his no-till corn this year in the Mississippi valley near Cape Giradeaux, Missouri. As you can see from the pictures he had lush, green 6 foot corn in mid June, and full ears of corn by the fourth of July. As you can see by the root growth and green leaves, these are healthy plants and have ready access to the nutrition they need to grow and develop fruit.

Mr. Bollinger built a custom pre-tillage rig on his no-till tractor toolbar that allows him to add both wet and dry amendments as he is pre-tilling his field. Allowing him to create stripes of ground that already contain a blend of biochar, beneficial microbes, mycorrhizae, minerals and other biological amendments. Next he precision seeded the corn into the amended strips. The seedlings were directly in contact with beneficial amendments with a minimum of passes (compaction of the field) and grew vigorously and quickly. This type of system allows farmers to amend fields efficiently and use long term soil amendments like biochar and mineral amendments in a cost-effective way. In this way, he's adding carbon, micro-nutrients, and minerals to the field, and by thinking of amending a series of strips over a number of years, can improve the long term health of his soil, while growing a healthy crop for market.

For more detail see

Making Bone Biochar with the Exeter Biochar Retort
Callicrate Bone Biochar
Making Bone Biochar with the Exeter Biochar Retort
Callicrate Bone Biochar

Callicrate Cattle Company, a leader in the Kansas movement to raise Cattle in humane conditions on improved soils, also sells bone biochar made from their cattle in an Exeter Charcoal Retort.

Bone biochar is an excellent source of char, in addition to the qualities we associate with chars, better tilth, improved water holding capacity, improved microclimates for beneficial microbes, bone chars are rich in calcium and phosphorus.

"Charcoal is a valuable ingredient in rebuilding healthy soils," Mike concludes. "Blended with composted manure and other nutrient-rich organic materials from our meat processing operation, it will make a great natural fertilizer."

For more information, and to purchase a bucket of bone char: footwear | Nike Shoes


John with covers 5 ways to improve your biochar for best results.

Arundo donax Australian Wine
Arundo donax Australian Wine

From the South Australian Press:

Barrie Williams the manager at Temple Bruer Winery in South Australia is using Arundo Donax to create biochar and sequester C in the soil of his winery. They started with 1.2 hectares which they will turn into biochar and blend into compost for use in their winery. They are looking forward to using the biochar to boost soil microbe habitat, and help them get even more benefit from their compost.

For more about Temple Bruer Wines

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The Kennedy/Jenks project that used biochar as part of a stormwater filter in a busy log yard for the Port of Tacoma was a winner of the American Association of Port Authorities 2014 Environmental Improvement Award.

In this project they are using a chain of filters working together, that includes sand filteration, a sand and biochar combination and finish with biofilters for phytoremediation. They've had some impressive results: 92% reduction in Zinc, 81% reduction in copper, 94% reduced turbidity, and 85% reduced suspended solids. Biochar is a small part of the total project, but it shows the potential for using biochar as component in filteration media that can improve the system as a whole.

Cover of Biochar Systems for Smallholders in Developing Countries

ClearStak and Ag Fuel Energy Systems NE have designed a greenhouse sized wood chip powered combined heat and biochar unit. It's set up for easy operation with fairly dry fuel. The thermostat uses a Nest system, and can link directly with an iPhone for alerts.


coffee and biochar from International Biochar Initiative on Vimeo.

For more detail, also see the Biochar Journal whitepaper:
How Biochar Can Improve Sustainability for Coffee Cultivation and Processing
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Tufts University from the Biodiversity for a Livable Climate conference: "Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming"
Sunday November 23rd, 2014

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Josh Kearns
Aqueaous Solutions

Water Treatment with Biochar from Josh Kearns on Vimeo.

From their web site,active field and laboratory research projects include:


16-21 April, 2015
Nanjing Agricultural University
The University of Newcastle of Australia

Following the success of the first and the second Biochar Training Course, The Biochar and Green Agriculture Center of Nanjing Agriculture University in collaboration with the University of Newcastle and University of NSW of Australia is announcing a third course to be held starting 16th April 2015. China now leads the world in the commercial production of both biochar and biochar technology. It has pioneered the development of combine NPK biochar granulated fertilizers.

Instructors Include

  • Johannes Lehman
  • Stephen Joseph
  • Ellen R. Graber
  • Scott Donne
  • Lianqing Li

Courses Include field trips to Sanlin biochar factory in Henan Province, and Yizing biochar factory and field test site.

For more detail, download the course description (pdf)


Tom McCormick of McCormick Environmental
Thatcher School Bioswale, Ojai, Ca

Minimizing the damage from flash floods and run-off from a horse pasture at Thatcher School.

More about the biochar used in the project, and the building of the wattles and the check dams:
Black Owl Biochar

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Carbonex in Gye-sur-Seine in Aube, Champagne-Ardenne, France uses locally sourced wood and modern wood processing and pyrolysis equipment to make high quality lump charcoal and renewable energy.

They started 20 years ago, with charcoal making, but in 2012 installed a newly designed, much more efficient cogeneration pyrolizer that consumes fewer resources, creates great charcoal and generates energy for the grid. They use locally sourced wood, and in 2013 they received the National Stars & Métiers 2013 Prize for Global Strategic Innovation.
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Bioenergy Earth Systems,
Melbourne, Australia

The proof of concept, Earth Systems’ CharMaker – Mobile Pyrolysis Plant (MPP 20 and MPP 40) is a ship-abple batch pyrolysis unit primarily designed for woody biomass.

The mobile unit was developed for the North East Catchment Management Authority (NECMA) as part of with the support of the Victorian Government.

The mobile unit has been used to try out more than 20 feedstocks to make both conventional charcoal and Biochar.

For more information about Bioenergy Earth Systems, and the Earth Systems Charmaker see | Nike Air Max 270


Announcing an exciting new biochar learning opportunity
More info and registration coming soon!

  • 5 days of learning and experimentation at Swallow Valley Farm in Sonoma County, California
  • Produced by Wilson Biochar Associates, New England Biochar, LLC and Biocarbon Associates
  • Co-sponsored by US Biochar Initiative, Sonoma Biochar Initiative, Southern California Biochar Initiative and others TBA

Sign up at:
- See more at:


BioCharWorks, Pawling, New York

"THE HYBRID" A Bio-Energy Converter Converting Biomass to Heat Energy and Biochar using pyrolysis and gasification in a self sustaining converter.

Stationary and Mobile Units

  • A BIO-ENERGY CONVERTER with the flexibilty to be site specific to fit your actual application.
  • Converts biomass,(wood chips, coconut shells, peach pits), into a value-added product, biochar.
  • Supplies heat to your home, farm, or greenhouse with the ability to produce 500,000 BTU/hr of heat energy.
  • Continuous feed system.
  • Project feasibility and plant layout design available.
  • Makes cents while heating your home!
Super Vegetable Garden field Application
Por Natura Pyrolizer
Pro Natura Village Workshops

Pro-Natura has been working in the Ivory Coast with farmers on the edges of the natural parks there to discover ways of helping the farmers cultivate food for local markets and for their families and provide incentives for increased biodiversity.

In the areas where they work, old cocoa and coffee plantations are often not renewed because of of the threats of disease and soil exhaustion. Additionally, full sun cocoa varieties encourage cutting down all of the trees which suppresses biodiversity. (Biodiversity is important to maintaining the health of native species, but it's also important to maintain disease resistance in the crops that these families' lives depend on).

Biochar applied to the topsoil of the trees at the rate of 1kg per square meter have increased crop yields by 50% to 200%. Trials have also shown that trees grown in 5 - 10% biochar soils are more disease resistant, specifically to phytophthora, a family of pathogens that includes Monilia or black pod. Black pod has devastated whole swathes of cocoa growing regions, which has spurred the abandoning of older cocoa plantations.


Matt Kieffer is presenting a web seminar titled "Biochar and Beyond" as part of the Bioenergy Friday Web Seminar series, sponsored by the University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension

For morn information, and to sign go to: Nike Sneakers | Nike

Bill has been working developing TLUD greenhouse and home heaters for a project in Mexico where the plan to use pecan shells for heating applications, and use the biochar to help restore soil fertility. He's done a nice job designing the fan system to detect the heat inside the burner and buzz to remind the user to pay attention to the stove when the fuel canister needs attention.

Bill has also developed a comal style stove top for the TLUD stove that can use pecan shells, wood chips, or other crop residues for cooking.

Biochar Bob highlights a project near DC where they are using biochar in a wetland restoration project to filter pollutants out of run-off and restore natural water infiltration to that neighborhood.

For more videos from Biochar Bob see his YouTube channel:
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Refertil is a project using agricultural by-products to create high quality natural fertilizers for use in farming. It has a strong testing-analytical data-gathering, and they've been creating and optimizing both compost and biochar to develop good zero-emissions alternatives to current agricultural pratices.

The project objectives:

The REFERTIL is an application oriented science and technology development project contributing to the cost efficient transformation of the organic waste streams from the agriculture and food industry. The key objectives of the REFERTIL project are to improve the currently used compost treatment systems and develop zero emission performance biochar industrial production technologies towards safe and economical nutrient recovery process. Beyond the industrial compost and stabile carbon based biochar technology development, the REFERTIL project provides a strong legislation support to the European Commission for the new EU27 fertiliser regulation, and standardization of the compost/biochar technologies and safe products. The compost and biochar policy support work elements will be completed by September 2013.

Mayoral Guillermo Rosas is a mechanical engineer working in the Chemical Engineering Group, Environmental and Bioprocess of the University of León (ULE). He was honored for his work on a mobile pyrolysis plant for turning vineyard prunings into biocahr. The mobile pyrolizer needs no external power source anc converst 55 kg/hr into char at temperatures between 550 and 750 degrees C. and was a research and development project between the University of Leon; the Barcelona business Bodegas Torres; and Mecanotaf based in Lugo.

The biochar was applied in an experimental vineyard at Bodegas Miguel Torres.

More information about the award can be found here: Running Sneakers | adidas youth showcase basketball league 2016 Release Date , Gov


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