Pyrolyzer Work Team Makes First Moves

A small group meet this afternoon to work on the pyrolyzer. Tasks completed:

  • primary door was made and intended location was marked on barrel
  • holes and round stock was prepared for the grate support to suspend the biomass above the primary air door
  • holes for secondary air were marked with future hole modifications in mind

Goals for next work session (probably Thursday morning):

  • weld primary air door to hinge and hinge to barrel
  • use plasma torch to cut primary air opening at the base of the barrel
  • weld supports for grate to barrel
  • plasma torch the hole in the barrel lid for the chimney
  • drill holes for secondary air into the chimney

And then the first version of DHE pyrolysis kiln will be ready for a test run!

The Drums are In

The Bioenergy Project recently received its delivery for four 55-gallon steel drums for the purposes of making compost tumblers and pyrolysis kilns. The are currently safe and sound in Thayer’s large frame lab but will soon be met with plasma torches and drills next week after our new members have gone through machine safety training.

To see a design for a compost tumbler look here: http://www.thathoneydolist.com/homemade-compost-tumbler/

To see a video on pyrolyzers, watch our good friend Peter Hirst from New England Biochar talk about them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXMUmby8PpU

 

Bioenergy Project Winter 2013

The Bioenergy Project is off to a great start this winter term! The fall served as a time of reflection and strategic planning after our back-to-back spring and summer trips. Now that we are on campus for 2013, we are charging ahead with renewed focus on improving our biomass briquetting program and developing biochar production for fuel and fertilizer uses. We feel that by focusing on the fuel source, rather than solely improved cookstoves, we may have a lasting economic, environmental, and health impacts on communities which we serve in a time frame which is achievable and without changing traditional cooking methods.

Tuesday, January 15th was our first Bioenergy Project meeting of the term. We had a terrific turnout with over 30 interested new members. James, Julie Ann, Ayushi, and Amelia gave an overview of the goals of the Bioenergy Project. Below are some of the work team divisions for hands-on projects throughout the term. We can’t wait for all the new members to jump in and get their hands dirty!

Pyrolyzer

Also known pyrolysis kilns, pyrolyzers are chemical reactors that thermally drive decomposition of a feedstock in the absence of oxygen. Pyrolyzers can be optimized for all types of products, but ours will be designed to produce charcoal (stabilized carbon), CO2, and water vapor. Members will build a pyrolyzer over the course of the term in the machine shop.

Compost Tumbler

Also known pyrolysis kilns, pyrolyzers are chemical reactors that thermally drive decomposition of a feedstock in the absence of oxygen. Pyrolyzers can be optimized for all types of products, but ours will be designed to produce charcoal (stabilized carbon), CO2, and water vapor. Members will build a compost tumbler then start decomposing biomass found in the the New England area.

Briquetting Molds and Techniques

Briquettes are traditionally a flat, donut shape. But would alternative shapes and sizes be easier to make or burn? This work team will experiment with different types of briquette molds. We will also explore alternative briquette presses, including a metal ratchet press.  

Education and Outreach  

In order to effectively transfer briquetting technology to local communities, DHE must develop an appropriate curriculum. This term we will be exploring how to convey such information through alternative mediums such as short radio messages and videos for farmers.

Biochar and Fertilizer Research

This research-based team will help us identify techniques for making, using, and selling biochar and fertilizer in East Africa and other regions of the world. We plan to talk to experts in the field on campus and abroad via Skype.

Join us on Tuesday evenings to find out how YOU can be involved in the Bioenergy Project!