Re: Re your dream of developing world production at 1t/day for $25k


d.michael.shafer@gmail.com
 

Paul,

This is what I have spent the last five years working on. There are important issues to consider that apply out here
1. Weather cycle. In many (most) places, the cycle is 3 months of rain and 9 months of dry. Farmers farm the rains and for another 2 months. 
2. Biomass is dry to char and farmers are free to char it only after the harvest.
3. A month before the rains, field prep begins.
4. Actual biomass per farmer is typically very small - perhaps 5 tonnes. 
5. Roads are very poor and transportation costly.

Collectively, these add up to a situation where biochar production is a six-month a year, distributed operation that doesn't lend itself to scale tech.

This said, a farmer and a friend or two can char all the biomass on a farm in a couple of weeks. Within months, farmers using the lowest tech available can char every bit of biomass in the village. The char can be delivered to a broker when villagers go to market.

If a village has 20 active farms of 2.5 ha each, that village can produce a minimum tonnes of char.  In North Thailand, I can easily find 100 such villages. Capital equipment and working capital work out at about $10,000 per village, but - with off take!!! - they are profitable in Year 1, pay back the capital loan in 5 years and pay a nice dividend to both investors and coop members.

I emphasize the issue of off-take because the issue here is not making the stuff, it's finding someone who wants to buy it at a price good enough for the poorest people on earth.

M

On Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 10:14 AM d.michael.shafer@... <d.michael.shafer@...> wrote:
At the end of this thread are references to biomass available per ha. Behind them lie assumptions about land availability. The figure 40 ha strikes me as very high. The figure I encounter most often is an average farm size of 2.5 ha. In a standard village of 200-300 people or 40-60 households, this suggests a maximum average cultivated area of not more than 150 ha. I have never visited a village in which all potential land was in use nor in which all villagers would participate in a single scheme. 

The primary challenge of charring at the periphery is is very small size of biomass piles available at any location or in any village. 

M

On Thu, Feb 21, 2019, 9:40 PM 'Anderson, Paul' psanders@... [biochar] <biochar@...> wrote:
 
[Attachment(s) from Anderson, Paul included below]

To all,

 

The message from Hans-Peter (HPS) is important about emissions from cookstoves AND from char-making devices.   The focus is on methane emissions.   Some comments, based on a rapid look at the 2 articles attached, which should be studied by the chemists and emissions specialists in our groups.

 

1.  Why are the stove tests not including methane emissions results?  (be sure Jim Jetter sees this.)

2.  HPS says methane is 100 times worse than CO2, but others say 25 times worse.   Which is it?

3.  Major comment by HPS:  “methane molecules get wrapped by arising water vapor which prevent its combustion.”   Correct or not?   Can it be explained more fully?   And conclusion would be to use very dry fuel, right?  (meaning changing our stoves?)

4.   I take issue with one comment from table 4 on page 12 (of 16 in Kon Tiki article) about disadvantage of TLUD stoves:  “Too small to generate larger amounts of biochar.”     THAT statement is the perspective of a SINGLE stove.   But when they are used by the thousands, each 1200 TLUD stoves produce about one ton of char/biochar EACH DAY.    36,000 in West Bengal are producing about 30 tons per day, every day, and have been doing so for a few years, and will continue.   On a worldwide scale today, that much charcoal is probably more than that of all the flame-cap devices combined on a daily basis.   (That last statemen can be challenge if anyone has and data.)

 

AND the heat energy is not being wasted when TLUD stoves make charcoal.      Although the comment in the table overlooks the importance of “scale by number” (instead of “scale by size”), I am glad that the TLUD stoves were at least mentioned in the report and Table.   That is progress over being totally ignored.

 

I hope that there is substantial discussion about the methane topic.

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP

Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile: 309-531-4434

Website:   www.drtlud.com

 

From: Schmidt, Hans-Peter <schmidt@...>
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2019 12:29 AM
To: Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Cc: Kathleen Draper <draper@...>
Subject: Re: Webinar comments by Hans-Peter

 

Hi Paul,

Please find attached our paper on low tech pyrolysis emissions. The CH4-emissions of TLUD and Kon-Tikis are in the same order. Optimization of gas combustion and especially the use of dry feedstock can greatly reduce CH4-emissions of both. CH4-emissions of forest wild fires are in the some order as optimized Kon-Tiki (see the other attached paper). In field burning of  harvest residues produce more methane especially when the residues are humid as is often the case.

The quantity of emitted methane may not look high but as the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of methane is about 100 times that of CO2 in the first 20 years, the climate effect of rather low CH4-quantities is already considerable.

The problem with methane in all low-tech pyrolysis systems is that methane molecules get wrapped by arising water vapor which prevent its combustion.

Be well, Hans-Peter   

 

Von: "Anderson, Paul" <psanders@...>
Datum: Donnerstag, 21. Februar 2019 um 04:25
An: "Schmidt, Hans-Peter" <schmidt@...>
Cc: "biochar@..." <biochar@...>
Betreff: RE: Webinar comments by Hans-Peter

 

Hans-Peter,

 

Thank you.

 

There was no attached graph.   Please send.

 

I am assuming that you are not subscribed to the Biochar Listserv because you do not send replies to that address.   So I am forwarding your very valuable comments to the Biochar listserv.   More comments are below.

 

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP

Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile: 309-531-4434

Website:   www.drtlud.com

 

From: Schmidt, Hans-Peter <schmidt@...>
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2019 6:01 PM
To: Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Subject: Re: Webinar comments by Hans-Peter

 

... considering that 40 t DM of biomass per ha is what can be expected in tropical carbon farming systems, the 1500 t of biomass necessary for one standard size E-pyrolysis would need about 40 ha. And even when they do not achieve those numbers in productivity in the first years, with 100 – 200 ha there would be enough biomass per village. In the tropics, this is more or less year around, and the machines can work in continuous processes.

 

[PSA>>]  The above is a valuable statement.   DM is “dry matter”, right?     Just knowing about 40 t/ha/year would require 40 ha, and then to have extra, allow up to 100 or 200 ha.   100 ha is NOT a very big area; it is only 1 sq km.

So a safe easy statement is that there can  be sufficient biomass to produce 1 t of char per day for a year from a area the size of about 1 sq km.  

??? Did I say that correctly?   We do not want to be saying things that we later need to retract.  

???? Maybe others who are in the tropical settings (Thailand, Uganda, etc.) could comment about this.

 

The US$ 50.000 estimate are based on our experimental E-Pyrolysis data, the Pyreg 1 t BC per day systems and experiences with other rotary kiln systems.

[PSA>>] I looked up the Pyreg rotary kiln.   Nice video of a small model at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=138&v=Rok9a28IJqQ

???Where is there some info of a larger unit that does 1 t BC per day?   Or was that a calculated estimate of scale-up?   Either way, that is a good starting  point.

 

It is only an estimate but I do not see any that may increase the material and construction cost beyond 50.000 when it enters serial mass production. And I also think that 50.000 would be a kind of limit for investors to start upscaling.   

[PSA>>] I agree.   The $50,000 is not a trivial amount and could be the limit for investors.   And that is ONLY based on when serial mass production is possible.  

??? Statement:   What the world needs is a 1 t of BC per day system that costs only $25,000.    Is that a good goal or “dream”???   Would that price make the production  of biochar become a major factor quickly???    I would like several people to comment about this.   Not just Hans-Peter has answers.   Comments from all are appreciated.

 

 

The methane emissions shown in the graph are based on our Kon-Tiki paper (attached). The data are even much worse when the feedstock is not completely dry. We are going to publish a paper about it within the next months.

[PSA>>] As said before, please send the graph.   I really did not associate methane with burning of biomass.   I need some instruction.   Does an open fire (bonfire or campfire or 3-stone fire) put out considerable methane emissions?   The testing of cookstoves does NOT have a methane concern!!!!    So is it something about the flame-cap of the Kon-Tiki  and other open cone kilns that “causes” the methane to be created and to escape??  Please help with this question.   I am still not understanding about methane for such fires.

 

[PSA>>] Paul

Best, hp

 

 

Von: "Anderson, Paul" <psanders@...>
Datum: Mittwoch, 20. Februar 2019 um 23:57
An: 'Hans-Peter Schmidt' - Switzerland - Nepal <schmidt@...>, "biochar@..." <biochar@...>
Cc: "Anderson, Paul" <psanders@...>
Betreff: Webinar comments by Hans-Peter

 

Hans-Peter,

 

Just wondering, why do you think that the 1 t/day of char production would be a size that would be appropriate for villages?    We are discussing developing countries.  Would this be expected year round, or maybe only seasonally for 2 to 5 months (and then idle)?

 

And where did the $50,000 price per pyrolyzer installation come from?   I am content if you say it was just a convenient number, but maybe you have some basis for it.  

 

*********

Another question:

I was surprised by your comment about the (relatively) high emissions of methane from the Kon Tiki (and other) flame-cap charmakers.   Any links to reports about this?   Why methane?   I would have more easily believe high PM or CO.  

 

Paul

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP

Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile: 309-531-4434

Website:   www.drtlud.com

 

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