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Natural Building & appropriate technology’s blog 05

Article Five of Natural Bldg and Appropriate Tech Internship

This morning we finished our discussion about Rocket Mass Heater as a way to heat our places and why not cook at the same time on them. That is always the interesting part in designing things. Once we understand the principle we can always stack different function on one element to make it more complex and useful. We also had a discussion about human powered technology. It is amazing how much the electricity is helping use in our daily life and how we have forgot the real energy embodied into our electric system. If we had to go on a bike to generate our own electricity we would give up really fast on even using a single lamp!

After all these enlightening conversation we want into the discovery of the biochar.  Here for some information about the biochar and it’s benefits. Because we are in the middle of an Appropriate Technology workshop we focused more on how to create a biochar stove to have our own production here on site instead of commanding it. What do we want to do to have biochar? We want some charcoal. So we need to burn the gases contained in the wood without burning the carbon structure of the wood. This process is called pyrolysis.

Tim Barker already had an experiment on creating a biochar stove but it wasn’t perfect so we improved it with all the students. Here’s a picture of our final stove.


We did reach some high temperature but there was still a lot of smoke. It tells use that our design can be improve. We probably didn’t have enough air flow to burn the gases.

Anyway here is our result, a beautiful biochar that, once activated, can be spread into the gardens.

~Oscar Morand, 21 February 2013, Natural Building and Appropriate Technology Intern

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