How to crush charcoal into biochar? This is a question I get asked a lot and today I have another peice of the puzzle for you. How to crush charcoal into biochar in commercial quantities.
Lets start back in the days when I first learned about biochar. I will admit that this is not the first thing that you retain after a biochar demonstration. Usually it how to light the fire or how to make a simple retort. I am guilty of having charcoal chuncks the size of a golf ball in my first biochar test plot. I did not learn until much later that size does matter.
One expert in biochar told me that 1 cm square of charcoal has the same surface area as a football field and it would take the precious microbe all its life to travel from one side to the other.
Another expert told me that biochar should be charcoal smaller than 2 mm so the worms can swallow it. Wow what to believe? So I purchased a microscope and spent a bit of time researching for myself.
The conclusion Size does matter the smaller the better. Most of my charcoal comes out big really big so this brings us back to the question once again.
How to crush charcoal into biochar?
Well I can tell you the ways that do not work so well and then introduce you to my newest project.
Mulchers / Chippers / Lawn mowers all have problems with uniformity. Grinders / mortar and pestle / smashing devices all have problems with quantities. Without spending too much cash there must be a way to do it easily.
Anyone out there with the answer please comment and let us know. Remember it has to be as cheap as possible.
My bush mechanic training has served me well and for this project I used these concepts. Repair / Rescue / Reuse / Refashion and Rebuild.
It all happened 2 days ago as I was taking a shortcut to the local shops on my postie bike through the property. As I began to break for the big hill I saw something out the corner of my eye and thought I better have a look. My brain said do not do it the shop will be closed in 30 mins.
So I went back and had a look and discovered what I thought was the perfect charcoal crushing device. I still made it to the shops on time.
Today I spent 2 hours resuing it from the clutches of the bush and depositing it out front of the biochar Industries Head Quarters.
New Project while the mercury retrograde is on? Says my Astrologist. Of course not I say you will just have to wait 10 days before i start a new project. Have a sneak preview and try and work out what i am about to do.
Update: Have a look at our newer posts on grinding char here.