61 Photos - Nov 15, 2014
Photo: Photo by Raymond BaltarPhoto: Swallow Valley Farm, site of the 2014 Biochar School. The farm owner and manager seek to restore better ecological functioning to this overgrazed landscape.Photo: Permaculture walkabout was a Biochar School workshop that involved walking around Swallow Valley Farm and observing the land in preparation for changes in management. Led by Gloria Flora and John Miedema with help from Peter Hirst, the Swallow Valley Farm manager.Photo: The road we all walked many times each day to get from our dining room/class room to the Pyro Play Pen.Video: Michael Wittman adds a retort full of pistachio shells to a pyramid kiln.Photo: Standing around Michael Wittman's Pyramid KilnPhoto: Temperature Color Chart - hot matter emits radiation that glows in different colors depending on temperature. Thanks to instructor Phil Small for providing this chart.Photo: Comparing color of the glowing coals to a temperature color chart, we picked "light cherry", corresponding to 810 C. A thermocouple measurement confirmed this temperature.Video: After determining the temperature of the charcoal, we are ready to quench.Photo: Capping the pyramid kiln to dry quench.Photo: Michael Wittman clamps the lid down onto the pyramid kiln for a dry quench.Photo: Peter Hirst demonstrate methods for constructing biochar conservation burns.Photo: Building the pile with larger material in the middle layers.Photo: Peter Hirst explaining the need for a pyramidal shape for biochar conservation burn piles to encourage piles to collapse inward as they burn down.Video: Peter Hirst discusses fine points of the biochar conservation burn and how to use a bucket loader to make properly aerated piles of vineyard prunings for top-lit burns.Photo: Josiah Hunt demonstrates technique for firing the Hawaian Pit KilnPhoto: Josiah Hunt describes the "donut hole" he leaves in the center of the pit kiln to help with firing.Photo: Josiah Hunt points out placement of larger pieces of fuel for efficient carbonization.Photo: Josiah Hunt describes two kinds of biochar fertilizer formulations made by his company Pacific Biochar that use ingredients such as fish meal and bokashi.Photo: Josiah Hunt's demonstration of the power of biochar in compost. These piles of fresh, very smelly rabbit manure had biochar added at 0%, 5%, 10% and 20% by volume. Even the smaller amount of 5% made a huge difference in smell and texture - transforming the manure in just 2 days to something much more like soil.Photo: Phil Small demonstrates some simple biochar characterization methods. The row of jars on the table is a set of different biochars with equal weights of water added. As the biochar settles, the free water level above the biochar is an indication of the water holding capacity of the biochar.Photo: Phil Small demonstrates a test for ash content. Adding a bit of vinegar will cause carbonates in ash to bubble and fizz.Video: Fizzy biochar is a sign of high ash content. Just add vinegar.Photo: Art Donnelly introduces the course on construction of the Jolly Roger Oven TLUD.Photo: Layout for the secondary air supply to a Jolly Roger Oven TLUDPhoto: Attaching handles to the Jolly Roger Oven.Photo: Handle detail.Photo: Bottom slits for primary air - the Jolly Roger Oven TLUD.Photo: Matt Banchero demonstrates the Stihl leaf vacuum with metal impeller operated as a char collection and size reduction tool.Photo: Metal impeller in the Stihl that works well for crushing biochar. Available as a modification kit from Stihl.Video: Matt Banchero explains how to modify your Stihl leaf blower to vacuum and crush char.Photo: Sucking and grinding char with the Stihl leaf blower.Video: Hey! This is easy! Using the leaf blower as char sucker/crusher.Photo: Michael Wittman empties a pyramid kiln full of biochar with the Stihl leaf blower.Video: A 360 degree view of the Pyro Play Pen at the Swallow Valley Biochar School, 2014Photo: The Adam Retort at Swallow Valley FarmPhoto: Water jacket heat exchanger for using stack gas heat from the Adam Retort.Photo: Lighting the Jolly Roger OvenPhoto: Jolly Roger Oven and pyramid kiln, burning clean.Photo: Firing off the newly built Jolly Roger OvensVideo: Paul Taylor talks about adjusting primary air to control emissions.Photo: Paul Anderson's C-4 kiln. Biochar made during the School by the C-4 is shown piled in the pyramid.Video: The Adam Retort - "blowing and going"Photo: Mmmmm! Biochar baked potatoes.Photo: Michael WittmanPhoto: Chris tries a kiln-baked potato. A bit black on the outside, but tasty!Photo: Ben enjoys a biochar baked potatoPhoto: Kelpie Wilson leads the tour of pyrolysis technologies during the Saturday overview session of the Biochar School at Swallow Valley Farm.Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: