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Can you make biochar with a Garn?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Rick Stanley, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. Rick Stanley

    Rick Stanley Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Messages:
    391
    Loc:
    Southern ME
    I remember Heaterman saying one time that if the blower on a Garn stops during a burn for whatever reason that it is a creosote making machine and makes a hell of a mess pretty fast.
    I'm wondering about stopping the blower after it has burned down to nothing but a glowing orange heap of coals with barely a wisp of blue flame. I'm wondering two things: Can it make creosote at that point? and If the glowing coals are allowed to just sit there and cool off, is that good for biochar?

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  2. Kemer

    Kemer Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
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    Loc:
    Northeast Pa
    With my new controller it shuts down with coals still glowing.I use them to start the next fire
  3. 711mhw

    711mhw Feeling the Heat

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    Western ME
    Don't know, but that's what I'm thinkin when I throw my "cleanings" on the snow covered garden!;lol
  4. Sawyer

    Sawyer Minister of Fire

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    Northern WI
    Rick, when my fan shuts down I also have enough for starting the next fire 12 hours later. In the summer when I don’t fire often it seems there is still enough air movement that most of the coals are gone when I want to refire. I do not get creosote with the few coals when the fan stops. I may be wrong but I use a white loading door as an indication of a successful burn.

    We had a charcoal maker at a local sawmill years ago. They fired below a tank to distill the moisture gasses out of the wood and then covered and cooled. The wood was not flaming.
  5. Rick Stanley

    Rick Stanley Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
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    391
    Loc:
    Southern ME
    Sawyer, About the charcoal maker you mentioned. I have googled making charcoal to death and have found exactly what you discribe. It's always a bottom-up process of burning the wood in the inner vessel in a low oxygen atmosphere. Real environmentally conscious guys add a stack to the top that makes an after burner set-up just like a Garn does except without the forced draft and of course the Garn burns horizontally.
    I asked about the coals left in the Garn because it would be nice if I could use the heat from the gasification of the Garn to heat my domestic hot water in the summertime and stop the fire short to collect the coals to make a soil amendment (biochar)...........ps- I even talked with an older farmer that said the same process is used to make a base for black power production. He said alder is best because it is very porous.
  6. Sawyer

    Sawyer Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 17, 2008
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    Loc:
    Northern WI
    I use the ash for my food plots and forest trails, it was recommended at a rate of 1#/100 sq/ft.

    I have a friend that is a pyrotechnic, he makes his own gunpowder. He uses different species to vary the burn rate of the fireworks. He has to have a liscense and an approved safe to do this. His facility & records are regularly checked by the BATF for compliance.
  7. Kemer

    Kemer Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    213
    Loc:
    Northeast Pa
    Rick
    I would think the Garn air intake dampner would help to make char

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