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Simple Kiln Technology

 

Background

Mobile pyrolysis is a novel approach to fuels reduction. The intermountain west has experienced a significant accumulation of forest fuels over time, creating hazardous conditions and extreme fire danger in some places. Removing excess fuels can reduce fire danger, however there are substantial costs associated with this practice of fuel removal and disposal. In response to this problem, the Utah Biomass Resource Group has spearheaded the use of multiple small, metal kilns as a way of removing forest fuels and making biochar - in a relatively low-cost way. These portable kilns have been used throughout Utah by a variety of people. To make biochar using these kilns, dry branches are stacked in the box, the pile is lit from the top, and as the material burns down, more wood is added until the kiln is nearly full of black carbon, or biochar. The volume of material leftover is eight times less than the originally woody feedstock. Eliminating the need to chip the wood before burning is one advantage this DIY technique has over the higher tech kilns which require the material to be chipped into a size less than a half inch; a costly step in the process.

Objectives

The objectives of this project are to introduce a new method for making biochar that is portable, low-cost, and widely accessible. By introducing this technique to the Utah wildland fire community, arborists, Extension agents, loggers and landowners as a means of hazardous fuels reduction, the UBRG hopes to encourage the use of kilns for making biochar and as a result, reduce hazardous fuels in Utah.


Demonstrations

Kamas - Big Box Biochar

Kamas - Big Box Biochar

The Utah Biomass Resources Group (UBRG) and USU Forestry Extension collaborated with both the USDA Forest Service and the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands to reduce hazardous fuels left behind after a salvage harvest that was done to remove s...

Big Box Biochar Open House - Moab, UT - January 2020

Big Box Biochar Open House - Moab, UT - January 2020

Location: Moab, Utah - The Utah Biomass Resources Group (UBRG) and USU Forestry Extension collaborated with other agencies to demonstrate a new approach to reducing hazardous fuels in January of 2020 near Moab, Utah. Over the course of two days, 35 people...

Big Box Biochar Demonstration - Providence Canyon, UT - November 8, 2019

Big Box Biochar Demonstration - Providence Canyon, UT - November 8, 2019

Location: Providence Canyon, Utah - The Utah Biomass Resources Group (UBRG) held a big box biochar kiln demonstration in Providence Canyon, south of Logan, Utah. Thirty attendees watched as piles of juniper were stacked into the dumpster-sized kiln and li...

Biochar Demonstration - Moab, UT - March 13, 2019

Biochar Demonstration - Moab, UT - March 13, 2019

Location: Moab, Utah - The Utah Biomass Resources Group along with various partners hosted a demonstration in Moab where local feedstock was pyrolyized in simple, low-cost kilns and made into biochar to demonstrate alternatives for dealing with unmerchan...

Biochar Demonstration - Park City, UT - November 13, 2018

Biochar Demonstration - Park City, UT - November 13, 2018

Location: Park City, Utah - Thirty-six participants attended the demonstration in Park City, where local feedstock was pyrolyized in simple, low-cost kilns and made into biochar as part of a forest health improvement project. Objective: The objectives of...

Biochar Demonstration - Blanding, UT - March 28, 2018

Biochar Demonstration - Blanding, UT - March 28, 2018

Location: Blanding, Utah - Participants attended the demonstration in Blanding where pinyon pine and juniper were pyrolyized in simple, low-cost kilns and made into biochar to demonstrate (to private landowners) alternatives for dealing with unmerchantabl...

Biochar Demonstration - Castle Dale, UT - November 30, 2017

Biochar Demonstration - Castle Dale, UT - November 30, 2017

Location: Castle Dale, Utah - Utah Biomass Resources Group hosted a demonstration in which Russian olive trees were pyrolyized in simple, low-cost kilns and made into biochar. Objective: The objectives of these projects are to introduce a new method for

Forestry Practices Tour - Soldier Summit, UT - September 21, 2017

Forestry Practices Tour - Soldier Summit, UT - September 21, 2017

Location: Soldier Summit, Utah - Utah Biomass Resources Group hosted the Timber Harvest Tour, where Douglas-fir and aspen were pyrolyized in simple, low-cost kilns and made into biochar as part of a forest health improvement project. Objective: The objec...


Utah Forest Fact sheets

039 - Taking it to the Road: Utah Biochar Workshops Increase Knowledge and Lead to Behavior Change

039 - Taking it to the Road: Utah Biochar Workshops Increase Knowledge and Lead to Behavior Change

This fact sheet describes attitude and behavior changes that have resulted from attending our state-wide biochar workshop program. By administering surveys 6 to 8 months following workshops, we learned that attendees were making biochar and biochar kilns,...

037 - Hazardous Fuels Reduction Using Flame Cap Biochar Kilns

037 - Hazardous Fuels Reduction Using Flame Cap Biochar Kilns

This fact sheet describes a do-it-yourself technique for making small-batch biochar. The Utah Biomass Resources Group has demonstrated this method for reducing hazardous forest fuels, protects soils, and creates biochar using simple, low-cost materials.

Figure 1. Chipped (masticated) juniper | Photo credit: Patrick Rappold

034 - Biochar for Forest Restoration in Western States

This factsheet introduces biochar, bio-oil, synthesis gas, pyrolysis, and torrified wood products to the reader. We describe biochar production methods and applications for forest restoration projects in the Intermountain West.


Journal Articles

Mobile Pyrolysis for Hazardous Fuels Reduction and Biochar Production in Western Forests 


Kiln Related Research

Utah Prescribed Fire Smoke Study 2019-2020 Paul Corrigan, USDA Forest Service