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New Burner Produces Biochar
After years of producing char ash as a gasifier byproduct, ALL Power Labs (APL) is making char ash for use as biochar a priority product. The Chartainer, a modified gasifier-based biochar machine, will be introduced later this year. It will produce only biochar and usable heat via heat exchangers.
“You can produce a lot of gas and a little char or a lot of char and a little gas,” explains Austin Liu, ALL Power Labs. “Our Power Pallet gasifiers with their gensets produce mostly gas. The Chartainer is designed to produce mostly biochar.”
Both systems use the five processes of gasification, which include drying, pyrolysis (heating without air to 200 to 500 degrees C), combustion/cracking (adding air to burn and crack tar gases--800 to 1200 degrees C) and reduction (converting charcoal to flammable gas--650 to 900 degrees C). The difference between the PP30 and the Chartainer takes place in the final stage, reduction.
“The last stage, reduction, is kept brief for the Chartainer, but is extended for the Power Pallet,” explains Liu. “The compelling benefit to this method of producing char is that the char is very clean.”
He explains that conventional methods of producing charcoal use the released tar gases in the drying and pyrolysis steps. However, tar gases can transform into hard-to-crack (and burn) and highly toxic PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) that are carcinogenic and difficult to decompose.
“Contamination of biochar by these organic pollutants is a significant concern because they can make it into food and pose a risk to human health,” says Liu. “The Chartainer draws the gases up and away from the char while it is hot, minimizing contamination by the PAHs. Lab tests of char produced by the Chartainer process show PAH content impressively low with many PAHs under the threshold of detection.”
A second benefit of the process is that Chartainer biochar is electrically conductive. The quality has only recently been recognized as beneficial to soil microbiology. Researchers have discovered that soil microbiology extensively depends on the transfer of electrons between microbes.
During ordinary combustion, woody biomass normally breaks down to 80 percent volatiles and 20 percent carbon or biochar. APL’s Power Pallets retain only 5 percent biochar while the Chartainer retains 15 to 16 percent as biochar.
“The Chartainer can process about 550 lbs. of woody biomass per hour, yielding about 88 lbs. of biochar per hour,” says Liu. “In addition, the capture of waste heat can heat about 100 gals. per min. to about 180 to 190 degrees F.”
It’s a market projected to grow rapidly as research into its benefits and agricultural applications is exploding. Biochar has been shown to sequester carbon, increase soil fertility and produce usable power, all in one solution.
In the case of the Chartainer, that solution will be enclosed in a 40-ft. shipping container. Initial release of the Chartainer will be to strategic partners in California in 2023 with general release in 2024. The company has a waiting list set up for potential buyers.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, ALL Power Labs, 1010 Murray St., Berkeley, Calif. 94710 (ph 510-845-1500 or toll-free 888-252-5324; www.allpowerlabs.com).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #1