I've been interested in biochar as a soil amendment for a couple of years, since I saw a documentary on Terra Preta in the Amazon basin and its valuable effects on fertility, water management and food production.

So naturally I want to try some out for myself. Making it turns out to be, potentially, a LOT more fun than I suspected, but also a LOT more spectacular and noisy than I reckon would go down in my local community.

One biochar burner predicts 20 foot flames above the burner while another refers to a noise "like a jet engine" from the burning gases.

I've come across several designs for home biochar makers but most of them assume that "home" has at least one 40 acre paddock. One instruction suggests that you should keep 200 feet from the neighbour's boundary. NOT likely in suburban Auckland.

SO. How about we organise a biochar evening for November 5 when half of the rest of the population will be creating sky-high bangs, whistles, crackles and flashes beside which half a dozen or so 44 gallon drums emitting massive flames and howling like the damned might be a bit less noticeable?

We would need
  1. A big field where we could set up a series of test burners.
  2. A bunch of highly responsible, practical people able to take charge of a variety of burner types
  3. Plenty of scrap wood (untreated) from prunings and hedge cuttings to garden-edging offcuts, pine cones etc etc etc.
  4. Food
  5. Drink (no booze)
  6. Plenty of water for dousing, cooling and potentially fire control.
Ideas and offers please.

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