Biochar and the Kannibal Kooker

Biochar and the Kannibal Kooker title=
Biochar and the Kannibal Kooker
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By Channelfog

As Carbon based beings, Carbon is crucial to us, as Humans have known for thousands of years. From Egypt to the Amazon we dig up ancient horticultural biochar that provides a viable matrix for a whole host of beneficial bacteria and critical mycorrhiza to this day. This biochar has also sequestered Carbon in the Earth for centuries, a very different topic of discussion.

Modern agricultural tradition of the last few centuries has often been to simply burn all brush or unwanted agricultural material until all that is left is ash. Rarely is this alkaline ash residue utilized in any way and 100% of the Carbon contained is released to the atmosphere while alkalizing what may already be an alkaline soil. This is where pyrolytic combustion of brush to produce valuable biochar becomes reborn in the ken of man.

We started with a cut open 55gal drum on its side which proved to be a good low Oxygen burn to make biochar. It takes an hour of feeding brush into the chamber to produce 15 gallons of biochar. It is hot work!….and the waste heat is considerable. I thought,”What if I could use that waste heat while channeling it away from my face and body?”

And so the “Biochar Kannibal Kooker” was born. The experiment involved digging a trench for the pyrolytic combustion chamber (horizontal burn barrel) and setting an enameled tub in the ground above with an earthen flue and barrel chimney. The same effort and results are achieved with the new set up with two salient differences. It is much less hot work and When I am finished and tired, I can slip into a tub of hot chlorine free water, a sublime relaxation after an hours work feeding the fire.

To get into a tub with fire still lit below is to ask for burns or worse. Also, for biochar not to be turned in to useless ash, the fire must be completely quenched with water, at which point the hot tub becomes safe for use. 

We grow the wood that we burn which makes this Carbon neutral by definition. We also plant more trees than we cut (reforestation).

While this method converts a large percentage of fuel into biochar, it still releases CO2 which alarms me not. I am alarmed by many pollutants and greenhouse gasses, but CO2 is not one of them. CO2 levels are 15% higher in less than a century and too, the green mass of the planet is up by about 15% as a result. At higher CO2 concentrations, plants need to open their pores less to consume CO2 and so they lose much less moisture to the air allowing them to spread into more arid rergions. In contrast to predicted desertification, we are seeing plants become more drought tolerant and capable of moving into previously barren areas. This net greening also applies to food crops which are more productive provided with more CO2, requiring less fertilizer from the ground.

As with all combustion, all brush/fuel must be dry or there will be more smoke created than heat. It is this factor, where people burn damp wood and trash, that creates the noxious smoke that neighbors complain about, and justifiably so. The Kanibal Kooker does smoke sometimes, but the nearest neighbor is over two football fields away, and the same distance to the next neighbor. No one is annoyed.

Fear is increasingly being used to control us and so we have only to rely on ourselves each other and Permaculture Practices to be truly Free. Learn from the ancients though their lessons are often buried….

Details: Barrel must be sealed except for small drain holes which are covered with sand during firing to prevent air flow. Wings help limit air flow and facilitate loading with brush.

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a-1676064070 Feb 10, 2023 01:21 PM
Biochar and the Kannibal Kooker

Many misconceptions and outright fallacies in this article relating to the carbon cycle. People who are convinced they are doing good will ignore evidence to the contrary, of course, as they have a vested interest.

Chip of SB Feb 10, 2023 01:56 PM
Biochar and the Kannibal Kooker

What misconceptions or fallicies? It looks to me like this is a case of traditional science (CO2 is not a pollutant, and if you grow what you burn you’re carbon neutral) with modern “science” (a religious faith that hold plants and trees magically and permanently destroy the CO2 they absorb from the air by teleporting it to a parallel universe).

Channelfog Feb 10, 2023 02:06 PM
Biochar and the Kannibal Kooker

Chip- CO2 is zero problem for me and is being used as a missile to take down anyone with a clue.

macpuzl Feb 10, 2023 02:19 PM
Biochar and the Kannibal Kooker

Yes, you will increase the carbon value of your soil.
No, cutting and burning trees is not carbon neutral in the long run, just more greenwashing, unless you plant many more trees than you burn over decades of time.
The advantage of biochar over outright burning is that some of the carbon remains in the soil.

Chip of SB Feb 10, 2023 03:03 PM
Biochar and the Kannibal Kooker

If a plant grows from a seed, it absorbs CO2. If it burns or otherwise decomposes, it releases CO2. I don’t see how this process can’t be carbon neutral, at least from a traditional chemistry point of view. I will acknowledge that this is entirely possible if one takes a “faith based science” approach. It’s kind of like perpetual motion where you get back more than you put in. Perhaps the process of burning dead plants somehow teleports CO2 into the air from a parallel universe such that burning wood can release more carbon than the tree ever absorbed while it was alive. It’s got to come from somewhere!

Voice of Reason Feb 10, 2023 03:12 PM
Biochar and the Kannibal Kooker

100% @1:21, that is exactly how I feel about the climate apocoyse type - convinced they are doing good and ignoring evidence to the contrary.

a-1676097363 Feb 10, 2023 10:36 PM
Biochar and the Kannibal Kooker

3:03 - As usual with your paltering on climate science, you ignore facts that don't suit you and push greenwashing propaganda. Here's a clue for you: carbon sequester has a time dimension. Do you somehow think that the seed you just planted has instantly sequestered as much carbon as you just released by burning a decades old tree?

Channelfog Feb 12, 2023 04:58 AM
Biochar and the Kannibal Kooker

It took five years to do this, and that is planting to harvest. Not only is the Carbon locked into the plant mass, living plants roots sequester Carbon into the soil itself so burning a tree does not release all the Carbon that it took in. Add biochar to the equation and large amounts of Carbon are locked up for a long time while improving soil quality 100x. Anyone with any interest in soil or gardening would do well to understand and implement biochar principles. We use very little fossil fuel as our electricity is 100% green, primarily hydroelectric. No regrets, no apologies.

Channelfog Feb 12, 2023 10:16 AM
Biochar and the Kannibal Kooker

Correction 99% green electricity, there are fossil peaker plants that pick up the slack demand.

Alexblue Feb 12, 2023 10:26 AM
Biochar and the Kannibal Kooker

Chip, please don;'t use the term "faith based science". It makes you sound like an idiot even when you are making an intelligent point.

a-1676090340 Feb 10, 2023 08:39 PM
Biochar and the Kannibal Kooker

"The Kanibal Kooker does smoke sometimes, but the nearest neighbor is over two football fields away, and the same distance to the next neighbor. No one is annoyed." This constitutes specious and ignorant reasoning. When the prescribed fires are burning in Santa Ynez, we can smell the smoke here in Santa Barbara. People who enjoy breathing clean, smokeless air are sure as hell "annoyed" when forced to inhale their neighbors' wood smoke. If not annoyed, they should be. Fact: There is no amount of wood smoke which is safe to breathe. It was the same with secondhand smoke from cigarettes. For years upon years people said there was nothing harmful about breathing in secondhand smoke from cigarettes. Wood smoke = particulate matter (PM2.5) = health problems.

Channelfog Feb 11, 2023 03:45 PM
Biochar and the Kannibal Kooker

For those who doubt the hue importance of biochar:

a-1676187201 Feb 11, 2023 11:33 PM
Biochar and the Kannibal Kooker

YouTube - The go-to source for any sort of disinformation you need on any given day.

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