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The Democratisation of Biochar Production - going open Source

Image credit: http://www.ithaka-journal.net/

Image credit: http://www.ithaka-journal.net/

The Kon-Tiki Biochar kiln is a true sensation in the realm of biochar production. Anyone with a budget of just a few hundred Euros can now produce biochar in large quantities of the purest quality. What I find almost equally sensational that Hans-Peter Schmidt of the Delinat Insitute in Lausanne, Switzerland has developed this kiln open source, with no profit-oriented thought in mind. Bear in mind that the Delinat Institute is not a non-for-profit organisation.

You may support their further research and projects at this link

The use of biochar in agriculture has at least 3000 years of history. The Indios of South America managed to create the world's most fertile soils using biochar. Biochar can be fed to animals, improving their digestion or added to the litter of animals. With that biochar manure we are able to produce a kind of super compost - for on that topic check out my TEDx talk.

Since discovering the human-made ultra fertile biochar soils of South America thirty years ago, a world wide community of biochar enthusiasts has emerged. Highly technisised and increasingly industrialised methods to produce biochar have been developed by companies from all over the world. For our biochar EU project in Hungary, we purchased a Japanese technology for close to half a million Euros. The biochar in Switzerland is mostly produced by PYREG facilities - also costing close to half a million Euros.

This video (with English subtitles) explains the pyrolysis process of these facilities. These half million Euro machines need a lot of expertise and infrastructure and manage to produce about 2 tons of biochar per day. This should put the sensation of the Kon Tiki kilt into perspective: It can produce 1 ton of biochar of equal quality per day on a budget of a few hundred dollars with no other infrastructure and little expertise needed. 

After months of experimentation, Hans-Peter optimised the design of the Kon-Tiki kiln to perfection. The final design produces biochar even more efficiently and produces zero smoke emissions .

I am really blown away by what Hans-Peter has managed to create here. This kiln is really the perfect solution for decentralised production of biochar anywhere in the world. I believe that with this kiln we are one big step closer to achieving the vision of improving soil fertility world wide and getting off our dependance on chemical fertilisers.