Below are recent reports from people actively designing, making and using biochar systems. It may help to refine the list by using the "Processes" navigation at the left.

We also have a simpler list in How To

  • The Kon-Tiki was developed by Hans-Peter Schmidt in Switzerland with the Ithaka Institute> based on the MOKI Cone Kiln from Japan.

    There is a nice description in the video of air currents around the cone kilns. The Ton Tiki and The Tasmanian version developed by Frank Strie called the Kon-Tiki-Tas. Are both large - vinyard scale cone kilns.

    Information about smaller kilns and backyard scale variations can be found at: http://backyardbiochar.net/

  • Making the Pyramid
    Skewers on the Pyramid
    Lighting the Pyramid

    Kelpie Wilson has put together an outstanding list of Backyard Charmakers at http://backyardbiochar.net/

    This is a great opportunity to upgrade your firepit or burn pile to a cleaner burning biochar-maker.

    PLEASE BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE FIRE SAFETY RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR YOUR AREA!!

    Ok, now go put a skewer on the biochar-making barbecue!

    Dimensions & Instructions from Kelpie's site:

    (The Pyramid kilns is) much easier to make than the round kiln. Kevin just cut the pieces from flat sheet steel and welded the edges together, adding some square tubing around the top edge for stability....

    Dimensions of the pyramid kiln are 46" top edge; 18" bottom edge; and 27" along the angled edge. It was made from a 4'x8' piece of 11 gauge sheet steel. The sheet was cut into two, 2'x8' strips, and the 4 trapezoidal shaped sides were cut out of that. Square tubing was welded along the top edge for stability.

  • Notes from Paul Anderson

  • Douglas Clayton has updated his video about making Biochar in the Jolly Roger Oven.

    He has a bit of help from Hugh (making jokes about steam activating the char). It's a great video, well worth the watch.

    If you are new to the Jolly Roger Oven, Doug has more detail in his first video

    more about the the line of thought behind the Jolly Roger biochar method can be found here:
    http://www.biochar-international.org/regional/ubi

    For those of you in New Hampshire, Doug Clayton and Intuitive Biochar is in Jaffrey, NH 03452

  • From Living Web Farms in Mills River, North Carolina
    http://www.livingwebfarms.org/

    Great introduction to making clean biochar lead by Bob Wells, soil scientist Jon Nilsson and Patryk Battle.

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  • Kelpie Wilson has been playing with the Japanese Cone Kiln for Biochar see the latest on her site: http://www.greenyourhead.com/

    She's finding that the Cone Kiln is easier to use than the alternatives and it produces more char too.

    in her words:

    I love my Japanese Cone Kiln. ... It is basically just a cone-shaped fire ring - a truncated cone. All you do is start a small fire in the bottom, and once that is all burned to glowing coals, you add small stick wood or branches on in layers. Each time the wood gets black and starts to ash, you add another layer. The layers underneath continue to cook out tar and gas, but they don't burn because air is excluded. When the cone is full you quench it with water. If you like, you can throw a grill on it and cook your dinner before you put it out.

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  • Method One

    From Kelpie's Web site: Green your Head
    http://www.greenyourhead.com/2013/04/making-biochar-in-burn-piles.html

    Since she wrote the article below, Kelpie discovered another way to make biochar from the brush pile, it's a little easier to do if like me, you get sprinkled on by rain while you're burning your pile.

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  • Good straightforward video - small scale system for making biochar from pellets.

    Also watch Biochar video 2 for improvements to the system:

    Tips on the Korean farming techniques he mentions can be found on the web site: http://www.prokashi.com/videos/

  • Vithusa Biochar Kiln

    Vuthisa Technologies in South Africa have been working on improving the Portable Metal Kiln Charcoal Making Method and using a retort design to reduce emissions and improve efficiency making charcoal.

    They have a great description with lots of detail on their web site: http://vuthisa.com/biochar/
    as well as a Google Group:
    https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en-GB&fromgroups#!forum/portable-kiln

    In short the system is composted of an outer drum, often fabricated of sheet steel enclosing an inner set of 30 gallon drums.

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  • Today Chris fired up his own creation, which took an oil drum (with Texaco logo still intact) and a butane tank with the bottom cut off. Total cost, including welding & machining labor, was US$40. He stuffs the inner chamber (inverted gas tank -- the top handles serve as a stand) with guadua (bambusa vulgaris) -- great for the cellular structure -- and the outer chamber with woody scraps from the farm as he limbs trees, opens trails, etc. It takes about 20 min from the time he fires the barrel to get up to pyrolysis temperature, at which point the smoke coming from the barrels ignite and the burn is pretty clean. He puts food for his pigs -- breadfruit, chocho, bananas -- on top, to use some of the heat (it comes to a boil in a minute or two), but I have to say there is still a lot of waste heat that would be good to find some uses for.

    The nice thing about this rig is that it is so simple and easy to operate that it can be used every day by either the farmer or his wife or son. Chris throws the bamboo-char into his pig pen for the pigs to pulverize. They ate it the first time, which was even better, but haven't eaten it again since.

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