David Yarrow and the folks at Four Oaks Community Farm in Topeka, Kansas, are making some exciting strides towards an efficient small-scale TLUD (Top-Lit Updraft) biochar stove. They’ve done 6 experimental test-burns thus far, and are learning more with each one.
Biochar is produced through a controlled process of heating up biomass in a lo/no oxygen system. In the absence of combustion, the result of the burn process is mostly biochar, and sometimes syngas. The process, when done correctly, produces no carbon dioxide, and is in fact a way to sequester carbon from the environment into a stable form that can be stored in the soil. This stored biochar can be used to make a “microbial reef” in our soil. Biochar holds much promise for the mitigation of climate change, and also provides a useful soil amendment for crops that need high potash and pH.
At 4 Oaks Community Farm, David and his colleagues are ready to find equipment and insulation to build a better, more efficient, permanent TLUD. They will be holding four biochar workshops in April, and are also preparing to build a smaller, 30-gallon TLUD that is portable. They’ll take this smaller stove to events and fairs around the region to spread the word about biochar and teach people how to make it.
They are innovators and changemakers worth checking out!