Category Archives: Experiments

biochar tlud gassifier Assembled 200 l TLUD

Tlud gassifier with awesome mods by Karl J. Frogner, PhD

Tlud gassifier

I love being a charmaster and I love having a website that people are happy to use. So to all you readers check this out…

Introducing the UB 200 l  natural draft Tlud gassifier oven 2 July ‘11

E, Dolph, aloha kaua-
Just came upon your web page and thought you might like to take a look at the modifications we made to John Rogers’ 200 l TLUD based on what little I know from a bit of reading of TLUDs.
I’ll send a set of pictures that should give you the basic idea if your page input allows me to, otherwise send me an email address and I’ll send them.
An extended set of pictures is available that I would be happy to send if you think they would help. We are calling it the UB 200 l  natural draft TLUD oven, or the UB T- oven  or t-oven for short. But please, please, please don’t call it a stove.


Biochar Tlud Gassifier Component parts of 200 l TLUD

Biochar Tlud Gassifier Component parts of 200 l TLUD

1 of 5 Component parts (l to r):

1.Primary air chamber with adjustable slip ring intake ports;
200 l feedstock chamber;
afterburner (also with adjustable slip ring intake ports) with chimney.

Biochar Tlud Gassifier Chimney damper

Biochar Tlud Gassifier Chimney damper

2. Chimney damper
Only a power drill and a power grinder are needed to make the design, although the student who was doing the work had access to a welder and used it to put the handles on the slip rings on the primary air & afterburner air, the male slip coupe for the chimney and the handle for the chimney flue. Easy workarounds could be used if welding is a problem.
I’ve run two trials so far, both with cow manure that was air dried after being shoveled out of the cowshed. Both runs were smokeless. The first, in which hand to 20-30 x 20-30 x 5-10 cm sized on down burned down in 55 min, the second that was filled with fairly uniform 7-10 x 7-10 x 5-10 pieces together with the fins from chopping up the larger pieces burned down in 1 hr 40 min. The charing was compleat throughout the charge, slightly oily on the rub to the hand rub test.
Another run was made (I was absent) using birch branch & twigs segments (2 cm on down) about 10 cm long. They had smoke problems with keeping the afterburner lit in an exposed site on a windy day, but the char came out good. Devising a wind shield should not be much of a problem.
biochar Tlud Gasifier Primary air hole pattern

biochar Tlud Gasifier Primary air hole pattern

3: The circled square pattern of 45 holes, each 13 mm in diameter.
We are very interested in developing these large TLUDs for getting serious amounts of biochar into the ground, leveraging smallholder benefits of biochar in sustainable rural development into timely climate change mitigation. We are thinking of initiating another sib-project based on a virtual community of low-tech biochar producers, TLUD designers and tinkers who would want to test and improve the design. Joining might be a good sub project for your Biochar Project or any of your interested readers.
Me ke aloha-frog
biochar tlud gassifier Assembled 200 l TLUD

biochar tlud gassifier Assembled 200 l TLUD

4. Assembled 200 l TLUD
biochar tlud gassifier Burn line at 20 min

biochar tlud gassifier Burn line at 20 min

5. Burn line 20 min after spreading starting fire coals
and putting afterburner/chimney in place.
(Coals were spread 10 min after igniting starting fire)
Note smokeless burn

Karl J. Frogner, PhD, OZP
President & Project Development Head; UB International (UBI)
Project Development Head; Mongolian Biochar Initiative (MoBI)
Project Development Consultant; Thai Biochar Initiative (ThBI)
Project Development Head; UBI Hawaii (UBI Ha
Member, Advisory Committee, International Biochar Initiative (IBI)
47-481 Ho’opala St.,
Kane’ohe HI 96744 USA
Hawaii:  1-808 234-3486
Ulaanbaatar:   976 9600-3688
Bangkok:   085 328-3731

I am so very happy to see our biochar project family extending to all corners of our planet. Yes I know it is impossible for a round planet to have corners:P.
Thank you Karl and thank you to your assistant(s) for inspiring sustainable biochar, Reusing, Refashioning, Repairing, Reinventing and of course sharing (Y)our Biochar Project with the world.
If you folks are ever in Australia come stay with me for a visit and I will treat you like the royalty you are. On behalf of Biochar Industries, Biochar Project and Biochar enthusiast the world over we salute you.
Charmaster Dolph Cooke

European legislation blocks delivery of sustainable waste-derived biochar for field trials

The current challenge

The world faces a “perfect storm” of food, water and energy shortages. Food stocks are the lowest they’ve been in 50 years. John Beddington, chief scientific advisor to the UK Government, has stated that 50% more food, 50% more energy and 30% more water will be needed by 2030 to supply a growing population. Even in developed nations like Britain and Australia, rising environmental pressure on crops would drive up import prices. Higher temperatures and less water brought about by climate change is expected to make some crop growing area difficult to manage, particularly in areas which are already experiencing drier than normal conditions. However, the precise impacts of climate change are difficult to predict accurately.

To mitigate the effects of global climate change, greenhouse-gas emissions must be reduced immediately. The largest contributor to GHG emissions is the burning of fossil fuels. At present, it is not possible to avoid all GHG emissions. Therefore, active GHG removal from the atmosphere could form an important mitigation strategy. To remain sustainable, atmospheric GHG withdrawal must be substantial and stable. Any strategy must fit within ecological cycles with little risk of leakage. The burial of biochar into the soil in conjunction with bioenergy production (gasification) could potentially meet these criteria. For large scale sequestration efforts, biochar production could potentially divert previous cropland to biomass production. In this instance, other forms of soil carbon amendments could provide a solution for soil management and GHG sequestration. Due to its high aromatic carbon content, biochar is believed to be highly inert in soil. In reality, most biochar is slow to degrade in soil but the extent of microbiotic oxidation depends on pyrolysis condition (heating length and temperature).

The current view of sustainable agriculture in the UK focuses on improving the rural economy as a means of improving environmental resilience in agriculture. It treats the environmental problems associated with agriculture as symptoms of a dysfunctional system. The seminal Curry report (2002) sets the scene for the development of British agricultural reform. It identifies the necessary changes for sustainability. The report helped change the view of soil from inert substance which must be injected with useful nutrients for crop growth to a living entity which must be cared for like other crops. Increasingly, commercial farming is being viewed in an ecosystems way where each individual part contributes to the whole farm health, including the living soil. Biochar can help improve a range of living and inert soil conditions. Adding carbonaceous amendments to soil could enable a more efficient soil ecosystem by enabling the use of organic reducing GHG emissions from the soil with potential carbon mitigation, improving soil, improving soil physicochemical properties and improving fertiliser use efficiency.

“Waste”-derived biochar is also considered waste

Typically, biochar has been produced on a small scale using traditional charcoal kiln methods. Building kilns is simple and enables on-site biochar production from waste such as wheat chaff or straw. Kiln use is widespread in developing countries. However, it is difficult to control burning conditions in a kiln and any large scale production is limited.


A purpose-built gasification combined heat and power (CHP) plant designed to deliver energy to the campus which has over 10,000 staff and students.  Such a plant has been built at the University of East Anglia but barriers to the use of it’s biochar has been substantial. The UK Environment Agency views the biochar as a waste and. Under EU legislation, the CHP plant produces energy and biochar is a waste.  Therefore any field trial must comply with waste protocols Waste must not be buried without specially permission or the appropriate tests to ensure its safety. Obviously, we need to burry biochar to carry out these experiments in the first place.  A dedicated team of researchers at the UEA have been trying to solve this barrier to field trials for nearly a year with moderate progress. The UEA wish to carry out field trials and to do so, must show the EU that the biochar is reasonably safe to apply in the open environment. Therefore, experiments must show within reason, that biochar incorporation up to the proposed incorporation rate of 10t/ha will not 1)adversely leach toxic chemicals into the open environment; 2)inhibit plant growth; 3)cause increased GHG emissions; 4)negatively impact soil physical, chemical and biological health. We carry on working diligently but for now, it appears that only bespoke biochar will fit the bill.

– Melanie Bennet, PhD

charred coffee husks from the tlud

Biochar coffee husks the biochar project way

Biochar coffee husks is today’s learning curve project.

I went to give a demonstration of the Tlud gassifier stoves and a bigger home made Johnny Rodger tlud to green mountain coffee in Northern NSW. It was a wet day and we had the luxury of a beautiful freshly roasted organic coffee to really get our minds into gear for the task at hand with the further effects of unable to keep my mouth closed lol yap yap yapp yada yada yada Nice Coffee.

Green Mountain Coffee 1

Green Mountain Coffee bio char team

This organic coffee company has a big pile of coffee husks that they would like to turn into biological charcoal and feed the char back to the coffee plants.

Piles of coffee husks

Piles of coffee husks

Simple I thought we will run these through a gasifier and that will be it.


We tried introducing more primary air from the bottom but it kept putting the flames out. We then tried adding more secondary air from the bottom with no luck either. We tried extending the chimney for better draw and still no improvement. Finally we tried introducing the primary air into the top of the tlud and this seemed to work.

charred coffee husks from the tlud

charred coffee husks from the tlud

Here is what I believe is one of our problems.

Bucket of coffee husks

Coffee husks

The coffee husks although very dry are unable to hold a flame so when using them straight in a gassifier they do not stay alight.

Solution : )

Because you all know how I like to solve problems.

Ask the biochar community for any ideas that may work (This is the easy way)

Experiment by myself (this is the harder way).

My first idea is to introduce a piece of firelighter charcoal soaked in metho onto the top of the husks in a Tlud this way the charcoal can maintain a flame while the surrounding coffee husks turn into char.

What do you think out there in bio char experts land ?

Please comment below with any ideas you might have that will help me over come this problem and allow me to write up a  informational page for pyrolizing coffee husks. All information will be maintained as open source / public domain so everyone can learn this great new technology.

Charmaster Dolph Cooke

John Rodgers Pirate Biochar Gasifier with 5 ft flame

Biochar Bath 2nd attempt…. Success down at Biochar Industries

Well if you have been tuned in to our quest for hot water down in the valley which we call Biochar Industries Headquarters you will be glad to know tonight we had success. Click here to see attempt number 1.

Starting to build the bath up on blocks to get a fire under it

Starting to build the bath up on blocks to get a fire under it

Biochar Bath Picture showing the bath now supported by blocks and wood

Biochar Bath showing the bath now supported by blocks and wood

After showing attempt number 1 to US expert on Biochar production and characterisation Dr Hugh McLaughlin he suggested among other things to build a fire under the bath. Well we took his advice and tonight I am toasty, warm and lived to tell the tale.

Biochar Bath with Fire under it at Biochar Industries Kunghur

We have lift off a Fire under the Biochar Bath

Biochar Bath with fire and flash at Biochar Industries Kunghur

Biochar Bath with fire and flash

The good thing about biochar is you stay pretty warm with all that fire going on and tonight was no different except I was wet and warm. The bath water temp got to 47.5C Smileing.

We also had a Johnny Rodgers “Pirate” 44 Gallon Gasifier roaring about 2 meters away from the bath as I work on preparations for the farm demonstration at byangum in 2 weeks time.

Here are some Pictures

John Rodgers Pirate Biochar Gasifier with 5 ft flame

John Rodgers Pirate Biochar Gasifier with 5 ft flame

Charmaster Dolph Cooke

P.s Thanks Hugh

biochar industries picture of our washroom the problem is we have no hot water and its almost winter

Experiments are exciting when ? Biochar Industries

Experiments are exciting when ?

To answer the question of the headline.

A. When they are fun filled, create a solution to a problem and yield BIOCHAR :)

Check this out here is my latest experiment in picture format.
(A picture is worth a thousand words)

Charmaster Dolph Cooke


Bamboo biochar from Mullum

Real Biochar Scientific Data Biochar Industries region Mullumbimby

As part of the Mullumbimby Biochar pod I received the Real Biochar Scientific Data from

Industry & Investment NSW
Diagnostic and Analytical Services
Environmental Laboratory

The kiln used was the project 540 Rising Phoenix
The char stock used was Camphor Laurel and Bamboo
The Charmaster was Rameshwar.

Biochar Project Australia ( and Biochar Industries ( are committed to making biochar a household word. We are the doer’s in this world of talker’s.

Who this document might be very helpful for -:
Anyone who uses these search terms whilst researching on the Internet.
biochar,buy biochar ,organic biochar ,organic soil ,permaculture,gardener,terra preta nova , pyrolysis ,black earth, Australian biochar,
To you doer’s we salute Char Bless you all.

Bamboo biochar from Mullum

Bamboo biochar from Mullum


Here is the Document

Industry & Investment NSW Report Number: WN10/2175/E

Diagnostic and Analytical Services

Environmental LaboratoryWOLLONGBAR  NSW  2477

Owner          I & I NSW   CPI                                                                                          Submitted:  25.11.10

WOLLONGBAR                                                                            Received: 25.11.10

Submitter      J RUST


Samples received: 2 x char

The samples have been assigned the following laboratory numbers.  Lab No 7369 / Mullum Camphor; 7370 / Mullum Bamboo


Char Analysis Report


Analytical MethodMethod numberDate Analysed
Soil pH (CaCl2)R&H 4B215/12/10
Available orthophosphate phosphorus in soil using bicarbonate extraction, ColwellR&H 9B115/12/10
Soil ConductivityR&H 3A115/12/10
Determination of Gillman and Sumpter Exchangeable Cations by ICPR&H 15E1USEPA 601017/12/10
Total Nitrogen and Total Carbon by Dumas combustion methodIn house 6307/12/10
Acid ExtractionUSEPA 3050B14/12/10
Acid Extractable Elements and Metals by ICPUSEPA 601014/12/10
Available orthophosphate phosphorus in soil using Bray #1 extractionR&H 9E29/12/10
Mineral Nitrogen KCl ExtractionR&H 7C28/12/10
Carbonates (% CaCO3 equivalents)R&H 19A114/12/10

R&H~ Rayment and Higginson

APHA ~ American Public Health Association

USEPA ~ United States Environmental Protection Agency



Laboratory NoLimit ofreporting73697370
Sample IDUnitCamphorBamboo
pH (CaCl2)pH units0.048.68.6
Bray Phosphorusmg/kg0.0634810
Colwell Phosphorusmg/kg2411800
Total Nitrogen%
Total Carbon%0.207877
KCl extractable Ammonium-Nmg/kg0.3<0.3<0.3
KCl extractable Nitrate-Nmg/kg0.2<0.20.51
Acid Neutralising Capacity% CaCO3 equivalent0.54.64.6
ICP Elements and Metals


Laboratory NoLimit ofreporting73697370
Sample IDUnitCamphorBamboo
Exchangeable Cations
Calcium/Magnesium Ratio4.40.32
Aluminium Saturation%<0.04<0.04
Exchangeable Calcium %497.7
Exchangeable Potassium %3967
Exchangeable Magnesium %1124
Exchangeable Sodium%0.981.4

glen rangott

21 December, 2010     SGJ


  • Samples air dried at 40 °C in dehydrators according to Method 1B1 (Rayment and Higginson, 1992).
  • These results apply to the sample(s) as provided and are expressed on a dry weight basis unless otherwise stated.
  • This report should not be reproduced except in full.
  • Samples will be retained for one month from the date of the final report.  Samples will then be discarded. Clients wishing to recover their samples must contact the laboratory within this period.  The laboratory will return residual samples at client expense when requested.
  • Test results and findings may be provided to authorised staff and used for statistical, surveillance, extension, certification and regulatory purposes in accordance with Departmental policies.  The information assists disease and residue control programs and underpins market access for agricultural products.  The source of the information will remain confidential unless otherwise required by Law or regulatory policies.

Enjoy : )

Charmaster Dolph Cooke

dolph cooke of biochar industries adding biochar to concrete to test

Building with biochar another biochar project test trial

Easter Monday / Anzac day special,

Up early today to pay my respects when a funny thing happened. Energy I mean MENERGY more energy than a man has room for.

dolph cooke of biochar industries adding biochar to concrete to test

Dolph Cooke of Biochar Industries adding biochar to concrete to test

So I set about doing a Biochar trial this one came to me last night while I was watching the garbage warrior a man who makes earth-ships he builds with anything.  I needed to design a new clothes line here at the biochar industries HQ where it rains a lot.

close up reveals one part biochar 5 parts concrete as test

Close up reveals one part biochar 5 parts concrete as test

I was wondering how biochar can help with building materials in this climate. The penny dropped biochar is great for absorbing water and its structure is such that termites can’t eat it so since I was going to concrete two wooden poles into the ground here was a double whammy test.

Stay tuned for the test results.
Coincidentaly it was fine all morning until I finished the trial and now it is raining heavily I think the universe is trying to let me know I am on to something.


Charmaster Dolph Cooke

The johnny rogers biochar gasifier alight at biochar industries

Biochar gasifier project results from first firing.

Here is the latest info on the Biochar gasifier I found on YouTube the one that John Rogers created. Read previous post on this subject here.

Firstly it cost $6.00 to build and approximately 2 hours.

a biochar gasifier made from old 44 drums with charmaster Dolph and wombat from Biochar Industries

Hey she aint pretty but she is REUSED. Wombat says Hi.

Next I loaded her up with wood chips which were 4 different kinds of hardwood gumtrees. Then I waited until we all finished Easter dinner before lighting her up in the dark. I can still smell the biochar cooking.

The johnny rogers biochar gasifier alight at biochar industries

Roaring now Biochar incoming, Check out the even burn line.

She got off to a great start but then the chips were too wet and she slowed down somewhat. I was expecting a 1hour 30 min  burn time but it took all night to smoulder away.

The payload of biochar from this project.

The pay load somewhat more than the beginner char mk1

Sweet Easter Dreams my Char Babies

Charmaster Dolph Cooke


A trial to see if Biochar can enhance plant growth in a hydroponic environment

Dear viewers,
I have a quick trial to share with you. Recently I presented at a biochar event in Uki at the castle on the hill as a speaker and within my presentation I displayed my  biochar project. Does Biochar enhance plant growth in a hydroponic environment ?

You decide for yourself after seeing these photos and reading the accompaning story.

Hydrochar experiment comm. 02-03-2011
Design parameters: No Dig, No Bend, No Bugs, No Weeds, No Watering, No space use, No Pump, No light, No electricity. Medium: 50/50 Perlite and Carbon8 – chunky and fine mixed. Nutrients: Ionic @ $0.60/charge (which lasts 4-6weeks) + $3 for plants = $5 all up. Australian AutoPot system.
First harvest 2.5wks at $4.00ea. Total harvests from this AP system: 6-8 (salad greens) for two people.


Dr Paul Wildman

Janet the Revitaliser Bring life back to Trees

A discussion occurred at the Biochar Industries Community information night that saw input from farmers, charmasters and scientists working towards a common goal.

The question that started this amazing event was:

“Can Biochar help with flooding and the trees that were affected by the rains ?”

Well we had many ideas, stories and suggestions, with the winner being “We really do not know if it can help.”

So Janet the champion gardener and the owner of a tree that got its roots destroyed by waterlogging and subsequently died, decided to do a trial to see if she could revive the tree.

This post is the start of this trial.
Biochar Industries supplied the Biochar
Janet supplied the labour and the tree.

Stay tuned as we await more updates from Janet and finally Bust this Myth.
Can Biochar bring back to life dead trees ? : )