Tag Archives: biochar project

teaching biochar to the next generation

Teaching biochar to the next generation

Teaching biochar to the next generation of planet custodians is exactly what Craig Bourne is doing at Singleton High School NSW Australia.

A Biochar Project was started 3 weeks ago and is showing results already. I just received an email from Craig yesterday with some pretty good photos of the project so far.

I will try and format it here so you can all see the difference and enjoy the results so far.

Teaching Biochar projects a picture of the difference in growth

New Guinea Impatiens With biochar and without.

teaching biochar to the next generation

Nemesia With Biochar and without.

Biochar project singleton High

Aryganthemum With Biochar and without.

Verbena biochar project singleton high

Verbena with Biochar and without.

Teaching biochar is one of the many things we like to do at Biochar Project.Not to mention of course spreading the word. Thank you Craig for spreading the word biochar. Thankyou for teaching biochar to the next generation at Singleton High.

Teaching Biochar.

Here is the contents of the email that Craig sent me so you can get a better idea on the project.

Hi Dolph,

The students are into week 3 of their potted flower project and already significant result can be seen with plants treated with biochar.
Have attached photos of differences achieved to date with the growing of New Guinea Impatiens, Verbena, Aryganthmum, and Nemesia.

Half the the plants were given 10 grams of your biochar to a 125ml squat pot. Each pot had the same debco plugger soil mix, 5gms of 3 month slow release fertiliser, equal amounts of water and kept in semi shaded conditions.
Students have been recording the growth rate and plant physical differences of plants with biochar added to the soil and plants with no biochar added to the soil.

It appears that there is significant differences in growth in the NGI, and Nemesia and less differences for Verbena and Argyanthemum. To date the biochar treated plants are growing more vigourous and have a larger root system with stronger and more of plant stems per pot.

Regards Craig Bourne.

Awesome stuff.

Charmaster Dolph.

Biology of Biochar 4.5.13 (15)-800

Biology of Biochar – hands on workshop at biochar industries Kunghur

Biology of Biochar

is a workshop with a difference hosted by Charmaster Dolph Cooke at Biochar Industries Kunghur on May the 4th 2013. Latest flyer can be found here

Graeme Sait will present his new TeD Talk Humus saves the world.

We now have 52 Rsvped. So don’t you miss out!!!  hurry and RSVP. 


Do you know what Biochar is ?

Do you know how to make it ?

If not Join us on Saturday the 4th of May 2013 for “The Biology of Biochar”

A free and highly entertaining day of Practical and technical learning for the whole family.

Biocharproject.org will be hosting a day of discovery at the Biochar Industries site in Kunghur.

You will learn about how Biochar can reduce the cost of running your farm.

You will discover the secret of Terra Pretta and learn something most scientist don’t even understand.

Get your hands dirty and understand why Biochar is the “peoples tool”  as we create biochar live on the day. See how its many different talents can be used by anyone.

See just how important biochar can be for you.

Also we have industry experts teaching you about Biological Farming techniques the next big thing in Agriculture.

Find out what the Tweed Shire Council is doing to help farmers create food security in our region.

Morning Tea and Lunch will be catered for and everyone who gets hands on with making biochar gets to take home a Free 10kg Bag of fine grade Biochar. So don’t just think about it become part of the solution.

Bring work clothes , Gloves, Notepad and pen, Write down all your questions and ask Charmaster Dolph Cooke on the day to explain to you in plain English what you really want to know.

9.30am till 2.30pm or later Interstate guests are welcome to come up anytime prior and camp on the hill of abundance.


Biology of Biochar program

Title: biology of biochar
Starts 9.30 finished 2.30

Biochar Industries Kyogle Road Kunghur
Follow Big Yellow signs from opposite the Mebbin Springs Estate.

9.30 Meet and Greet sign in etc

9.45 Introduction and Housekeeping

9.50 Biochar Basics a informal structured talk by!
Charmaster Dolph Cooke

10.20 Q & A

10.30 Practical demonstration of the TLUD Biochar unit and the Moxham farm scale unit designed by Dolph Cooke for third world, campers, gardeners and Farmers.

10.45 Walk to the top of the Hill of abundance for Morning Tea.

11.15 Walk down through the Community Sustainable weeds out carbon in project.

11.30 A talk by Hugh Lovel from Quantum Agriculture entitled “We are all carbon based life forms”

12.30 Biochar Industries processing area A demo of what we do to get your Biochar Ready.

12.45 pm Lunch

1.30 pm A talk By Shabari Bird entitled “Ferment your weeds for fertiliser, herbicides and pesticides”.

2.30 on wards Questions from the Presenters and folks can go home.

Please RSVP for this Free Event so we can have sufficient wholesome food for everyone.


Email dolph@biocharproject.org with the subject RSVP Biology of Biochar.


Biology of biochar with charmaster Dolph Cooke and the moxham

How to find Biochar Industries.

Click here : )

Graeme Sait will present his new TeD Talk Humus saves the world.



Picture of charcoal

Charcoal making with the Adam retort Biochar Kiln

Charcoal and biochar are interchangeable words down here at biochar project Kunghur NSW Australia. Yeah we know the difference but do we care ?

Picture of charcoal

Charcoal or soon to be Biochar

Biochar is charcoal made specifically to put in the soil.

Charcoal could be used for many things some one once said to me it was use for over 8000 things. I wonder if anyone has catalogued them all.


Biochar or Char probably have many more diverse things it can do however we at biocharproject.org really like to pursue it’s unique climate properties and its unique agricultural benefits and flow on effects.

The way charcoal absorbs and adsorbs in a rather greedily like fashion makes it perfect for cleaning up toxins in the environment.

The way charcoal holds onto anything it has devoured is very useful in high rainfall areas. Or even to stop chemical leaching down to the water table.

Charcoal has so many uses its unbelievable.

Anyway back to the story we have been working with an Adam retort biochar kiln actually the first one ever built in Australia. I have been documenting it and we have been learning how to use it.

Here is another short clip of last Thursdays trial and tribulations.

Opps no clip. If you want to see my private videos send a few bucks to cover postage and I will send you everything we do. Biocharproject.org Po Box 6146 Tweed Heads South NSW 2486.

Here is my recap

Some comments regarding what we were doing wrong were left on our website under last weeks update. We tried them and they worked.

It took us all day to dry the wood

We were able to shut the charcoal retort off for the very first time.

Our wood is fairly dry and awaiting this Thursday for the community to get together and finish the job we are looking forward to a big batch of charcoal this week.

I am happy to be getting this far along now however I am sad that it took me to verbalising my frustrations before the help came.

Looking forward

Charmaster Dolph Cooke




Biochar or not to Biochar that is the Question

Biochar me for the missleading headline I am a bit rusty. I have been very busy indeed. Also I have a new camera : )

Here is the Gos.

December through to Feburauy the 8th I have been engaged in bringing the project “Biochar Industries” to fruition and setting up the projects for this year 2012.

I have completed all the paper work includeing 3 new Government Grants to help put Biochar on the map in Australia.

I am now working on the grant I won last year called Community Sustainable weeds out carbon in Project. I have several farms to test and a documentory to make and the most fun part is creating a mobile community kiln.

So I recieved a great email from Flow Force Technologies who happen to build mobile retorts and I am starting to investigate thier “Series 1, Model 250MG Batch  Carboniser”

BATCH CARBONISER Series 1, Model 250MG Product Brochure _d.

Here is a link to thier blog with a nice photo.

BATCH CARBONISER Series 1, Model 250MG

I was also given a set of plans for another kind of quick char concept. I have until 2013 to make up my mind thou 😛

But you all know I can’t wait that long I want to be out at demo days doing and talking biochar so come on folks give me a hand. If you have a great biochar design and you think it would work good for a mobile community biochar unit then send me the info and lets get this going good.

Also if you have anything profound you would like to get into our Movie send me an email with the details.

Thursday sees the first community group taking advantage of the Adam retort Biochar Community kiln in Kunghur. I will be taking footage and will bring you  a great update as soon as it happen.

Thats it for the update I am sure I left heaps out but you can always email me or comment on this post.

Char – u – Later

Charmaster Dolph Cooke

Biochar master Dolph Cooke

biochar highlights 2011 the year at Biochar Project

Biochar highlights 2011. The year at Biochar Project.

Some might call him a maverick, others a genius, but Northern Rivers identity Dolph Cooke is passionate about sustainable living and biochar—and in the last 12 months has shown that he is a man of action. Some (but by no means all) of his achievements in the last 12 months include:

Biochar master Dolph Cooke

Maverick or Genius ?

Biochar Highlights from Biochar project kunghur 2011

With this groundwork in place, 2012 looks even more action-packed. If you want to get involved or know what’s going on, log in to http://biocharproject.org/news and get on to the mailing list.

Sustainable living and social responsibility are the hot issues for 2012, and Dolph is a hands-on trail-blazer with a knack for turning big ideas into practical reality. Watch this man!

Biochar Highlights brought to you by the letters D and B and the number 1


Bush mechanics Wombat the carbon Dog

Bush mechanic. Seeing the new in the Old.

Bush mechanic project number 1 completed. Here is a run down on how it all panned out. I was approached by Dr Paul Wildman on behalf of the Nunda Lions club to use my bush mechanics skills to help the Men of Labrador’s MENSHED build a better stove for their aid project.

Bush mechanics Wombat the carbon Dog

Wombat the carbon Dog

So Wombat, Gillian (Photographer) and my self trekked out to the Labrador men’s shed where we were able to grasp their project much better.
Peter welcomed us and brought us up to speed on the entire project.

Which is a great bush mechanics project in its own right. The men at Labrador men shed have a link with the chief of a village in Vanuatu.
Peter and the boys introduced their first stoves because the women of the village would have to walk many kilometres to try and find wood to cook food on. So they invented a stove that would be more efficient and much more safer to the young ones that live in the village.
Now the stove the boys made was much safer than the pit fires and much more efficient, the stove was also made from reused BBQ gas canisters that are thrown out. The Biochar project’s job was to make it better. I added a cleaner burning concept and a by product concept to throw in the mix.

Bush Mechanics

Set the boys the new tasks and headed off back into the forest. It wasn’t long before the new prototype photos were emailed back to me for inspection.
I was delighted these expert bush mechanic / Craftsmen created such a good stove their was nothing I could add.
The best part of today’s visit was seeing all the men proud as punch showing off their handy work and having the ABC Interview us for Coast FM 91.7 ABC.
Big Thanks to.
Dr Paul Wildmam
Kalgrove KIDS and Adult Learning
Crafter-circle.com the journal of the bush mechanics
Nundah Lions Club
Labrador Men’s Shed
Biochar Industries
ABC Radio 91.7 Coast FM


Biochar project Team Abundance

Biochar project wins caring for our country grant 2011

Biochar Project the home of everything biochar, has officially received word that they have been awarded a grant for the project called. Community Sustainable Weeds out Carbon in Project.

Biochar project Team Abundance

This grant is from the Australian Government and it is part of their Caring for our country program.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the team of awesome people who have kept the dream alive since we all got together so long ago. You guys know who you are and as promised we will all go to dinner together one time my shout. (Macdonalds anyone).

Seriously together we have created a new paradigm industry that has already won recognition for our creative commons. An industry that works on abundance and a new way to look at ourselves via community.

From now on I call what we do a Collaborative. Out goes my favorite word Cooperative and with it all the baggage that humanity has heaped on it.

So how many projects do we have going ? Ill list them here in case You as an interested reader would like to get involved.

Biochar project

1. BiocharProject.org – a world collaborative on all things Biochar.

2. Biochar Action Learning circles. A new paradigm learning experience.

3. Biochar Industry – An Australian Sustainable biochar education centre to set the standards.

4. Biochar Association of Australian Incorporated.

5. Hill of Abundance community collaborative.

6. Community Sustainable Weeds out Carbon in Project.

7. Biochar the Movie.

We are busy and we do welcome folks to join us in whatever capacity they choose. So if you would like to be involved in something extraordinary start now and email dolph@biocharproject.org with your intentions.

sleeping at biochar project hill of abundance shelter

Stay tuned as I write a post about our latest grant and how biochar project can make a difference to how folks understand biochar.

Charmaster Dolph Cooke


all the folks at biochar action learning circle

biochar action learning circle – Update from Charmaster

biochar action learning circle – Update.

Well the 1st biochar action learning circle is now complete and I find myself reflecting on what has transpired during these six sessions over the last three month’s.

My initial thoughts and feelings are. What a great Idea mixing technological innovation with social innovation. I am aware that social innovation is 1 million times slower than technological innovation.

all the folks at biochar action learning circle

all the folks at biochar action learning circle

In this case, in these circumstances, even in these times and this area it was the right thing to do. It is a really good feeling when you have been working on something for so long, keeping the faith through thick and thin, not really knowing what the end destination will be and to have it blossom into such an extraordinary and use full system to help humanity is just such a wonderful feeling.

Really the biochar action learning circle is a perfect blend of new and old school.

Hey and its not only Charmaster Dolph Cooke that thinks this way . Look what the folks of the United Nations Millennium Project must feel by selecting our project to be the winner of this prestigious award. Another world first, Another new paradigm project.

I wish to thank everyone who attended the very first biochar action learning circle you are now going to be recorded as pioneers of this system. Thank You for the feedback thank you for the millions of interactions throughout this time both with Paul, Gillian and myself and each other. To say something about this process in one word it would have to be – ORGANIC.

Biochar Action Learning Circle

List of champions in no particular order. Nev,Pixie, Scott, Chris, Myles, Jeff, Annettea, Mik and later Wolfgang. All of you have taken this system and molded it in your own unique ways and shown me that this system is flexible enough for the complexities of all people from all walks of life.

The biggest challenge I saw was trying to undue the damage from the closed and bondage system of education that has been spoon fed into everyone in Australia. Once we cut through some of the closed minded brainwashed techniques that had been used our champions sawed to greater heights as evident in the projects they have completed.

biochar action learning circle 2

biochar action learning circle 2

Where do I think this is going? New paradigm that’s where. I believe in a world where people can use all the faculties bestowed upon them. These people using their own judgment can easily see whats needed for the biggest problems our kind face. This is where the real excitement lays.

Of course there will be much twinking of the system and many more concepts to consider for the next one. This to me is deeply exciting. What did I gain from this that I consider the most important? Friends many new dear close friends who just so happen to have BIOCHAR as something in common.

Now you could not wish for anything more than that.

See you at the 2nd Biochar Action Learning Circle

Charmaster Dolph Cooke




Stainless Steel TLUD Lunchbox-Retort Project

Stainless Steel TLUD Lunchbox-Retort Project

In order to avoid the problems with burners and retorts rusting away quickly I want to build (or buy) a stainless steel biochar maker.

Here is a description of my first attempt at it: The Lunchbox-retort.

Stainless steel lunchboxes can be bought at camping stores for around AU$35.- and will allow immediate biochar making if added into an existing fireplace. The three compartments allow much experimenting.

Stainless Steel TLUD Lunchbox-Retort Project

Stainless Steel TLUD Lunchbox-Retort Project

Stainless Steel TLUD Lunchbox-Retort Project


Here is a video of SS Lunchbox retort in firplace

In order to use the SS-lunchbox without having to fire the fireplace, I built an insulated TLUD , to fit around the Lunchbox-Retort. It also fits to the tripod of the Champion TLUD. The bottom and top plates can be rotated to adjust primary and secondary air volumes.

Here is a video of the first burn in full swing



All the parts before firing:

The insulation is “Superwool 607”:


Before insertion of the “Superwool”: The SS tubes are flues from a BBQ and Fireplace shop  (5” for the flue, 9” for the inner wall and 11” for the outer wall). These come in 900mm length and that is enough to make three Lunchbox-TLUD’s.


Superwool installed:


The SS-Lunchbox-Retort fits upside-down into the TLUD:

Here the results of the first burn:

The whole burner and the retort got so hot that all tar deposits (from previous burns at lower temperature in the fireplace) were charred and flaking off the retort walls.


The “fuel” burned to a fine white ash:


The char in the retort that was at the top has some blue char in it – I wonder what that means. I guess it’s what happens at high temperature, but please let me know if you can explain this:


The retorts in the middle and on the bottom have only black char in them:

Thanks for looking!

Mr. Mik

hill of abundance bush doctor at biochar industries

hill of abundance update Biochar industries project

Hill of abundance update.

Its only been a day but I am so excited with how our biochar industries project is coming along. Today a few different people dropped by and we had a crack at finishing the first of our garden huts.

Here are last weeks progress photos on the garden huts.

charmaster Dolph making concrete for the footings of the garden huts

Making concrete for the garden hut footings

Charmaster Dolph Cooke learning many new skills as part of his Bush Mechanics training. Doing is the new skill and I am really enjoying doing.

 hut footings1

Charmaster Dolph Bush Doctor peter and James doing the footings

We mesured out the footings then dug them out with a manual post hole digger.
Then added the steel saddles and lined them up just right before pooring in the concrete.

footings done

footings done

Permaculture is one of the technologies we are using at Biochar Industries

poles going up

poles going up

Well all that was Last week on the hill of abundance. Now keep scrolling for todays progress.

The Hill of Abundance

hill of abundance hut 1 start

hill of abundance hut 1 start

The bush doctor dropped down early today and he had brought a friend with him. Bulli is his name and this guy has just cycled halfway across china to come to the hill of abundance. He is our furthest guest so far originally he is from Holland.

hill of abundance floors in

hill of abundance floors in


hill of abundance tractor ride with circus clown charmaster Dolph

tractor ride with circus clown charmaster Dolph

Here I am going for a tractor ride luckily we are 5 kilometers deep in the forest no pesky O H and S whistleblowers to be found anywhere. Seriously kids don’t try this at home.

hill of abundance roof struts on biochar Industries

 roof struts on biochar Industries

Above shows the roof poles in place. Not a particularily hard feat but very good looking. With all our non skills the roof was slanting in justr the right direction for us to collect water at the back away from the sunlight.

hill of abundance bush doctor at biochar industries

 bush doctor at biochar industries

So far this project has cost a little over $100.00. At Biochar Industries our new paradigm thinking is setting some pretty exciting benchmarks.

The Bush Doctor and the Charmaster and all the bush mechanics say R.

Reuse / Repair / Refashion / Retrieve / Reinvent / Replenish / Recapture before Recycle. Sustainable means geting the same or more energy out of a system.

See you next Update

Charmaster Dolph Cooke
Biochar Industries
Biochar Project