Sorry it took me so long to respond. I've been tromping through the snow most days, dealing with a new wave of dead trees - trying to assess the situation and adjust the Pc design accordingly. The evenings leave me feeling like a tired old guy.
One of my partners runs a non-profit that is currently distributing Adam Retort licenses/plans. Sustainable Obtainable Solutions is providing these without charge to serious people willing to take part in a study, share information, provide samples, etc. I believe they have 4 or 5 left.
The plans are pretty clear, and now that there are some being built I believe there will be more advice, collaboration and innovation available. Someone considering the project would need to have a fairly consistent supply of feedstock to make it worth their while.
Costs for materials in the US seem to run about $1,000 - $1,500, depending mostly on builders' choice of materials. You need to figure on several days of labor for several people, a skilled mason being requisite. My own costs may be double that. I am going to have two steel baskets made that can be loaded into the kiln by machine or block and tackle and a primary stack that has a water pipe and plenum built in. ( for heating a greenhouse)
As of now there seems to be a large gap between kilns available for the small woodlot/backyard scale operation (a great thing to do!) and the much larger kilns capable of handling tons of feedstock per day. Chris Adam's design fits in that space. The Adam has a simple design and is easy to operate, having been designed for use in the less affluent areas of our world. Under normal circumstances the Adam would be a good size for this property. Now however, there are many hundreds of tons of dead feedstock here. At about a thousand pounds of feedstock per load, and 30 hours run time per load you can see that I could use a larger kiln. The prices though, of the larger kilns currently available are astronomical by comparison and quite often require chipping or pelleting of the feedstock, and much larger (more energy consumptive) support machinery.
I will keep a photographic record of the construction and - I hope - some useful notes. I'll be happy to share any and all.
I claim no expertise when it comes to the Adam Retort or biochar - I'm just the guy with the trowel and chainsaw. However, you can contact Gloria at firstname.lastname@example.org
and get the real skinny.
Regarding the innoculation of the char, I do not have a large scale solution. On the garden scale (besides adding it to poultry bedding) I will do what others have suggested, keep an outdoor pee bucket full of char and feed beds and trees with manure tea strained through char. On a slightly larger scale I will be importing some soil mixed with cow manure from a neighbors ranch - perhaps 20 cu. yards - and I'd like to try tossing in a substantial amount of char when mixing in seaweed, bone meal etc. Also, I plan a mushroom bed using a heavy dose of char.
When it comes to application on forested ground on any kind of scale I just don't know yet. I'm still trying to figure out a means of application on sloped ground that won't lose too much char to runoff. We know it retains moisture and holds phosphorous, but what else can it do if there is a way to easily and cheaply inoculate it with some good stuff on a large scale?
There I go droning on again...