Fredy Perlman wrote:40 acres nearby was clearcut in Dec. One day it was down, the next day the "waste" was burning in 4 massive slash piles. It's wet here in winter and the wood couldn't have been greener.
Last week I visited the site. It's covered with piles of char. There must be at least 2 pickups worth, maybe as much as 4, hard to tell the way it's mixed in. The implications of slash pile carbon being usable as char would be huge.
I've wanted to learn how to execute a conservation burn, turning a slash pile into biochar, but have not been able to find any workshops or videos about it.
Biochar purists will tell you the wood has to pyrolize at 500 degrees, be feedstock of a certain type and size, and be dry. None of that is present here, obviously, so is the resulting char of any value as an amendment? It was burned with liberal lashings of accelerants, probably diesel. The smoke was godawful for days, hard to tell if it was the green, the accelerant or something else. I'd like to think that burns off completely but think that must be naive.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:While it is great to have the new techniques and the ability to incorporate them they really can't be as necessary as the "new wave" ideology insists, otherwise there never would have been a discovery of hundreds of years old terra preta, it would not have been able to be created.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:To actually get "the biggest energy-return-on-energy-invested" wouldn't you need the energy used to create the char do something else at the same time, other than heat the atmosphere?
As it so happens, there are two potential projects doing just this in my valley.
The implications of slash pile carbon being usable as char would be huge.
I'm not saying that what I did was right, but this is how I was thinking it. Since it's going to take a real long time to break down, I put the charred 'green' wood at the bottom of my trench, but the trench was not too deep: about a foot, so it pretty much filled the trench, so it was basically also at the base of the mound. So we are thinking the same there and generally on all points.
Roberto: would you have the char in the trench of the hugel, or at the base of it? I had thought green wood in the trench, raw char on top of that mixed with clay, then sand, soil and rotting wood with leaves on top of that. Probably mix charged char into the upper layers.
Michael Cox wrote:My few attempts at burying to quench the burn failed as well. Quenching with water on the other hand works very well.
Michael Cox wrote:For example, I have use a rocket cook stove - fueled with dry twigs - that burns hot and clean, and more powerfully than a gas fire. After cooking for 15 minutes or so, about 1 large cup worth of char builds up in the bottom of the burn channel. That doesn't sound a lot, but it is a fire you might have anyway, and the char is a waste product at the end of your cooking. Over a year of use you could build up quite a bit. The rocket stove I used would need to be slightly adapted to make it a more convenient collector of the char. Just a removable steel collection cup beneath the burn tunnel, for the char to drop into.