03b. Biochar production in India

Biochar production for field trials:

Biochar for the trials is produced in a charring kiln, which is a simple design produced from an old oil drum . It has small holes in the bottom (it is raised up on bricks), and has a gap between the lid and the pyrolysis chamber to allow a small amount of air to enter. Feedstock is lightly packed into the barrel, lit from the top and is allowed to burn, typically for around 10-15mins. Where the feedstock is slightly wet, it takes a bit longer to burn, and may have to be stirred to ensure complete charring. Around 6kg of feedstock can be put in this unit, and around 2kg of biochar remains. It has to be extinguished by physically starving of oxygen, then dousing with water.

Charring kiln, Phaltan, India 24.05.2010

There is potential with this design to utilise the heat by putting a water jacket around the chimney for example.

Two different feedstocks are being used, sugar cane leaves, and also maize trash at a ration of 2:1 respectively by weight.
“Dry leaves, left in the field after the sugar cane has been harvested, care called trash. On average, a hectare of sugarcane generates about 10 tonnes of trash. Because it has no value as cattle fodder, and because it also resists decomposition, the trash is burned in situ, in order to cloear the field for the next crop. It is estimated , that in the state of Maharashtra, more than 4000,000 tonnes of trash are destroyed in this way.” (ARTI 2008)

General biochar production:

Processing of biochar from the charring kiln using an extruder can produce briquettes.

More to come…

‘Rural Technologies Developed by ARTI’, Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (ARTI), June 2008.


8 Responses to “03b. Biochar production in India”

  1. Don Hennick Says:

    We have a test plot on our Seattle community college campus and will be very interested in following your work. Its great to see such advanced testing happening .

  2. Sarah Carter Says:

    Don, thanks for the comment. I’ll also be following your blog, looks like you have some interesting work going on.


    I am planning to work with biochar since this is the urgent means for reducing Global warming. Hope we work in line in future

  4. Rishabh KP Says:

    I am a student of St.Patrick Matric Higher Secondary School, Pondicherry and I am doing a project for the National Children’s Science Congress this year (2010). I am doing a pot experiment with 10% biochar applied on chilly plants along with a control. Since I have learnt that charcoal has to be pretreated with nutrients with out which it may absorb available soil nutrients, I treated charcoal with 1 litre cow urine 10 litres of water. For balancing this pretreatment, I also treated the control soil with the same cow urine solution. I am getting good results, as the charcoal pots are showing good growth compared to the control pots. I am currently studying only the plant height and number of leaves. Thanks very much for the information.

  5. rani Says:

    i want to know about the applications of biochar with regard to engineering students..partiucularly in geotechnical applications,waste disposals etc.please give reply

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