Progress this Week | Building a DIY BioChar Stove and Planting Tomatoes

We built a DIY BioChar Stove to help us not only resolve some of our brush clearing accumulations, but more importantly to make some biochar to use in our compost and our aquaponic wicking beds as an all natural soil amendment. This is a top light updraft stove (T-LUD stove) that burns biomass through pyrolysis.

We followed the ideas of Milkwood Permaculture Farm in Mudgee, Australia, who built their own BioChar Stove by upscaling the Dome School BioChar Stove.
(Here is How to make the Dome School Biochar Stove).

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To build your own BioChar stove, you will need 2 steel barrels that fit inside one another.

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Then cut the ventilation holes at the bottom of the larger outer barrel (55 gal) and at the top of the smaller inner barrel (35 gal). In the lid of the larger barrel, you will also need to cut a hole in the center.

Then simply fill the smaller barrel with your sticks, or whatever organic biomass material you choose to burn.

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IMG_3689Next, insert the smaller barrel into the larger one and light your fire.

As with any fire, make sure you have plenty of water and protection from the flames.     This is a VERY hot burning method…and can be used very efficiently for heat in colder climates or to boil water quickly as well.

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Once your fire is going, put the lid with the center hole onto the outer barrel and wait patiently. Do not remove the lid until the burn is complete. Removing the lid will cause an influx of oxygen, which will cause a flare up of the flames (potentially dangerous) and will reduce your biomass to ash rather than true biochar. Our experiment was a success and we will be building a couple more!

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This week some of our tomatoes that were growing out of control and about to hit the ceiling at home have been transplanted into the media bed of the aquaponics system.

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