Re: Origins of flame cap technology #technology #flamecap


Hugh McLaughlin
 

List, et al.

Since we are drilling down on the flame cap option, what is the consensus on emissions and levels of unburned VOC's, methane, etc. I am concerned there is a continuous region of quenching at the limits of the flames as they dart around, leaving carbon monoxide and perhaps forming PM2.5 via the Boudouard reaction, and possibly methane forming in the lower sections of the pyrolyzing biomass that does not combust in the flame cap due to methane's high auto-ignition temperature of above 550C. In addition, the issue of transient emissions during the addition of fresh biomass and the readily observed transient smoke escaping the flame cap.

If anyone has any data, please share it and the source with the group.

Hugh McLaughlin, PhD, PE

On Friday, October 9, 2020, 7:13:29 PM EDT, Paul Taylor <potaylor@...> wrote:


This angle was certainly a question.  I always made the 1.2m diam kilns with 60 deg sides because with that angle you naturally maximally use a standard 1:2 format rectangular sheet.  The first KT was steeper.  The maximization of use is not quite unique for the 2 sheets needed to make bigger cones but I settled on a maximum volume achieved at about 64.5 deg and 1.65m diameter (for 1.2m x 2.4m sheets; 1.69 m diam, 67.6 deg for the 4% larger Chinese/European sheets).

The convection dynamics indicated that steep, tall sides maximized vortex strength and stability. This of course is aided by the sides being hotter, so a heat shield with proper spacing, computed from thickness of skin layers, helped in several ways.  Very shallow cones switch to a reverse vortex as you would expect with a flat sheet, as Josiah first did it, and this is the incorrect vortex shown in the Japanese drawings.  There is an intermediate shallow cone angle (<45 deg), where the two modes compete, so the vortex has no strength and stability and it is hard to maintain good fire with inimical feedstock.

A couple of reasons for cone shape seemed to be easier to start with small fire, and quicker coverage and protection of biochar in early stages by more char.   However, understanding the vortex dynamics would be strong in a vertical wall, encouraged the simplification to rings.  These could be started well and quickly with air leakage around the bottom, which was blocked once the sides were hot and updraft strong, so the vortex kicked in.  The strong vortex drives air down to the pyrolysis front, determining the rate of pyrolysis, so has importance.  The big Mokis were truncated cones with open bottom as well, but were generally not deep.

We were unsure of our success with the first running of the completely sealed bottom of the deep cone KT. In fact we did find it hard to start with a small fire in the bottom, and we learned to start a fire on top of biomass piled high up into the kiln to aid access of air to the initial fire.

A new innovation in the KT was the drain at the bottom to allow easy draining and capture of the smoke water, which opened up the method of bottom quenching with nutrient solutions.  Naturally we experimented with leaving the small drain open for starting, closing it later, but surprisingly it did not help in natural draft, which I later realized was due to the convection flows creating a low pressure under the kiln.

Paul



On 10/10/20, 6:06 AM, "tmiles@..." <tmiles@...> wrote:

Interesting history. In my conversations with both Mokei and Dr. Ogawa in Japan in 2011 he emphasized the importance of the 60 degree angle of the sides of the kiln for optimizing char production. At the time Moki was offering kilns up to 10 feet in diameter but the ones we saw in use were more like 4-6 feet in diameter.
 
Tom
 
 

From: Paul Taylor <potaylor@...>
Sent: Friday, October 09, 2020 10:09 AM
To: josiah hunt <josiahhunt@...>; Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Cc: Schmidt, Hans-Peter <schmidt@...>; Kelpie Wilson <kelpiew@...>; Tom Miles <tmiles@...>; Kathleen Draper <draper@...>; Hugh McLaughlin <hsmclaughlin@...>
Subject: Re: Origins of flame cap technology
 

Hi all: the origin for me of the flame cap was Tom Reed’s open pyramid pyrolysis, and his exemplification of it in “pinecone pyrolysis”, and of course the Jack Daniel’s method from the 1930s, which Peter Hirst presented in his chapter in the Biochar Revolution, 2010.

The cone approach for me was specifically inspired by Tom Miles in his 2011 presentation referencing the Jan 2010 paper on the use of the Moki Kiln for making biochar for the “Cool Veges” initiative: A Rural Revitalization Scheme in Japan Utilizing Biochar and Eco-Branding: The Carbon Minus Project, Kameoka City. Steven R. McGreevy, Akira Shibata,
and by this report using the Moki kiln.
Properties of Cinders from Red Pine, Black Locust and Henon Bamboo Inoue, Y ; Mogi, K ; Yoshizawa, S
APBC Kyoto 2011

That was reinforced by an article and blog by an Englishman who reported a technique of gradually pushing biomass into an open fire in a pit or trench.  In my presentations I included Tom Reeds pyramid pyrolysis and the Moki kiln to explain methods of making biochar distinct from the TLUD and the retort, and I started to design large transportable flame cap ring kilns, assembled in sections, for handling large burn piles on my property in N NSW.  Independently, in late 2012, Dolph, a neighbor here, reported making biochar in an open top, deep steel ring, which he called the Moxham.    http://biocharproject.org/charmasters-log/farm-scale-biochar/

In 2013 Kelpie also discovered and reported the gradual feeding technique for the cone kiln, and Stuart Mather drew attention to the Holy Mother Kiln that Dr Reddy reported in May 2011:  https://biocharkiln.blogspot.com   He called it a TLUD but you can start a flame cap ring in a “TLUD” mode, then convert to flame cap by closing off the primary air, thus preserving the created char and allowing more biomass to be added till the kiln is full of char.  

So 2013 was a big year for the convergent emergence of the flame cap method, I think for some of us triggered by Tom Miles presentation in 2011, but it might be considered a reprise of an earlier convergent emergence in 2009-11 of explorations by Josiah, Reddy, the Japanese, and the Englishman. It took till 2013/14 for a final breaking of the spell that making biochar required various complexities of vessels, pipes, seals, lids and chimneys.

This then was all brought to Switzerland in Jul 2014 and comingled with Hans-Peter’s provenance.  Kon Tiki was named as we first lit it because it was the first voyage of a large deep cone kiln, and we had no idea if it could work.  The name was confirmed when I discovered Kon-Tiki was a fire/sun god.  The observation of the inward rolling vortex in the Kon-Tiki (similar to back eddies familiar from rafting the Grand Canyon) were consistent with physics, and corrected the confusing unphysical convection arrows shown in the Japanese drawings.  This convection driven dynamic provided a natural draft system that conveyed a balance and sufficiency of air and mixing to both the pyrolysis and the gas combustion regions. Calculations of the convective flow velocities confirmed this, and also guided understanding of the impact of diameter and wall slope, verified by subsequent experiments.

For me this was a renewal of a much earlier origin in 1980 during my 9 month’s of studies in India. There I acquired and brought back to the US an Agni Yoga pyramid, a small copper inverted pyramid, which is used to pyrolyse a mixture of cow dung, ghee and rice hulls or other biomass in a dawn and dusk ritual to heal earth and atmosphere (with the C/ash residue being valued for soil fertility). This inspired an interest in fire as an important element to manage, which manifested in starting a company in the 1980s, Micro-organic Fuel. This combined enzyme digested rice hulls or wheat straw, coal dust, and sodium silicate, and heated them to make low S synthetic fire logs or beautiful fire-proof wood-like building materials (depending on the amount of sodium silicate).  

The cone kiln or pyramid kiln (and open flame cap kiln in general), literalized the Agni ritual into a technology to physically heal earth and atmosphere, and I began calling my workshops such.  Hans-Peter and I discussed all this as we explored all variations of shapes and sizes, including heat shields and pits, during our first Kon-Tiki runs in Switzerland.

In Australia later in 2014 with Stephen Joseph we explored snuffing with a cover consisting of combinations of Fe rich clay, compost and cold charcoal, which in a reprise of Josiah’s discovery provided a baking for at least 4 days during which spatial and temporal temperature profiles measured in the range 250-450C. This produced a layer of biochar mineral complex to mix into the biochar.

Paul

On 10/9/20, 1:50 PM, "josiah hunt" <josiahhunt@...> wrote:
Hi Paul, here is a much better copy of that Poster from the Ames Conference 2010


On Oct 8, 2020, at 5:15 PM, Anderson, Paul <psanders@...> wrote:

Thank you all very much.   If you think of other info or people, please contact me and the others.
 
Paul
 
Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com <http://www.drtlud.com>  <http://www.drtlud.com/>
       Email:  psanders@... <mailto:psanders@...>      Skype:   paultlud
         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434
Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org <http://www.JuntosNFP.org>  <http://www.juntosnfp.org/>
Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com <http://www.woodgas.com>  <http://www.woodgas.com/>
Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org <http://www.capitalism21.org>  <http://www.capitalism21.org/> )
         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.
 
From: Schmidt, Hans-Peter <schmidt@...>
Sent: Thursday, October 8, 2020 3:45 PM
To: josiah hunt <josiahhunt@...>; Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Cc: Kelpie Wilson <kelpiew@...>; Tom Miles <tmiles@...>; Kathleen Draper <draper@...>; Hugh McLaughlin <hsmclaughlin@...>; Paul Taylor <potaylor@...>
Subject: Re: Origins of flame cap technology
 
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Dear Paul and all,
(adding Paul Taylor on cc)
 
I do not remember exactly if I found out about the “flame cap” / “flame curtain” principle through Kelpie’s backyard website or through Josiah’s pit demonstration. It was the one or the other but what is sure is that what we called the Kon-Tiki came after (in 2014) and was inspired by Kelpie, Josiah, Moki, Moxham, Wittman, Gilmore and the ancients. Paul (Taylor) and I described this “history” in our first article about the Kon-Tiki, the democratization of biochar production: https://www.biochar-journal.org/en/ct/39.
Our part in the story is mainly the popularization of the Kon-Tiki through articles and open access designs and operating instructions. This led to the nice success of Kon-Tiki type constructions in > 65 countries already in 2017.
 
In our article, Paul and I also explain why we choose the Kon-Tiki as a generic name for it and why it was important to use a catchy, generic name. Outside the US, and in a growing number of scientific publications, everybody uses the name Kon-Tiki which is very helpful for the scale-up and community exchange.
 
Thanks to Kelpie and Josiah, who started this journey for all of us.
Cheers, Hans-Peter
 
Von: josiah hunt <josiahhunt@...>
Datum: Donnerstag, 8. Oktober 2020 um 20:04
An: "Anderson, Paul" <psanders@...>
Cc: Kelpie Wilson <kelpiew@...>, Tom Miles <tmiles@...>, 'Hans-Peter Schmidt' - Switzerland - Nepal <schmidt@...>, Kathleen Draper <draper@...>, Hugh McLaughlin <hsmclaughlin@...>
Betreff: Re: Origins of flame cap technology

Hello All,
 
Covergent evolution.  
 
In August 2008, I first began efforts to intentionally produce biochar.  Guided by memories of bonfires on the beach, and the large bed of coals present in the waning hours, the first fires were on flat ground and built in a way that had a fast crescendo towards a peak point, then allowed to burn to coals before quenching.  When shaping the ground after each fire and before the next, ash and char would be scraped up, and a small depression was formed, this spurred the thinking that intentionally increasing that depression would make a better bed for the coals, and could give me better air control against the air intake that happens at the sides and bottoms and directly eats the building stock of char.  Deepening the depression quickly showed positive results.  Trial and error quickly resulted in a cone shaped pit in the ground with a high back on the lee side (when incline is present).  Several pits were used for commercial production of biochar for a period lasting about 5 years.  Several hundred tons of biochar were produced in this manner during that time.
 
Quenching was performed with water in the first efforts.  Then it was discovered that a dirt cover, applied only at the end when all the wood has been carbonized, could snuff out the embers effectively and efficiently.  Dirt cover would be removed several days later during harvesting of char.  Metal roofing and several other materials were trialled for coverings.  Clay rich dirt was the favored cover material, and was re-used many times until it became more charcoal than clay, at which point it was tossed in the compost.  
 
NOTE: The soils where I was doing the majority of the commercial production fires were mostly volcanic cinder, which allowed a unique trick - the embers could gently and evenly breath just enough oxygen from the soil to keep the temperatures at or above 250C for days or even weeks if I were to let it. This allowed for a “baking” trick that is rarely repeatable.  
 
Attached is a poster I presented at the 2010 conference in Ames Iowa.  
 
- Josiah Hunt
808 936-3484

"Each generation is entitled to the interest on the natural capital, but the principal should be handed on unimpaired."
Canada’s Commission on Conservation (1915)

<image001.jpg>
 
On Oct 8, 2020, at 10:15 AM, Anderson, Paul <psanders@...> wrote:
 
Kelpie,    And adding Josiah Hunt to this group of recipients and Hugh because he has been following this for years.
 
It was as recent as 2012 for you  !!!   The concept came from Japan but not brought by the Japanese.   How did you come across the concept?   Was Josiah Hunt making char in pits back then?   Or when did he start and why?   
 
These stories of origins will be lost if we do not pull them together.
 
Because of you I made my first attempt with a half-barrel (longitudinal cut) in 2014, and I immediately want to the covered design with the portal in the side and chimneys, put in a provisional patent application and then in 2015 started showing the covered cavity kiln (which did not rotate to accomplish the mixing until the second half of 2019).
 
Did Hans-Peter or Kathleen or anyone else do flame cap work then or earlier?
 
Paul
 
Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com <http://www.drtlud.com>  <http://www.drtlud.com/>
       Email:  psanders@... <mailto:psanders@...>      Skype:   paultlud
         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434
Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org <http://www.JuntosNFP.org>  <http://www.juntosnfp.org/>
Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com <http://www.woodgas.com>  <http://www.woodgas.com/>
Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org <http://www.capitalism21.org>  <http://www.capitalism21.org/> )
         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.
 
From: Kelpie Wilson <kelpiew@...>
Sent: Thursday, October 8, 2020 11:57 AM
To: Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Cc: tmiles@...; 'Hans-Peter Schmidt' - Switzerland - Nepal <schmidt@...>; Kathleen Draper <draper@...>
Subject: Re: Origins of flame cap technology
 
[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...]
Looking at my photo records, I see that I finally figured out how to use the cone kiln in spring 2013
https://photos.app.goo.gl/U4qpskMMRBg4V4M26
I built it the year before and it took me many tries to figure out how it worked. The pictures from Japan were all I had to go on.
I gave a flash talk on the cone kiln at the 2013 USBI conference in Amherst and after that, a lot of people started experimenting with cone kilns
I then switched to pyramid and cylinder shapes because the cone was much too difficult and expensive to fabricate. The other shapes work just as well if not better, especially the cylinder.  Dolph Cooke pioneered the cylinder kilns around the same time I made my cone kiln.
Thanks for being the historian here, Paul!
 
-Kelpie
 
-Kelpie
 
 
On Thu, Oct 8, 2020 at 9:09 AM Anderson, Paul <psanders@...> wrote:

Tom,
 
Yes, roots of flame cap go back to Japan.    When did it get started, or when did you see him making biochar?
 
But sometimes there can be LOOOOONG lead up times.   Like hundreds of years for terra preta before it was becoming recognized in about 2007.    
 
Who “brought the Moki kiln to the attention of a wider audience”?   HPS and Kelpie were really early, right?   But when were their starts?    I hope they will  answer.
 
Paul
 
Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com <http://www.drtlud.com>  <http://www.drtlud.com/>
       Email:  psanders@... <mailto:psanders@...>      Skype:   paultlud
         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434
Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org <http://www.JuntosNFP.org>  <http://www.juntosnfp.org/>
Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com <http://www.woodgas.com>  <http://www.woodgas.com/>
Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org <http://www.capitalism21.org>  <http://www.capitalism21.org/> )
         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.
 
From: tmiles@... <tmiles@...>
Sent: Thursday, October 8, 2020 8:03 AM
To: Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>; 'Kelpie Wilson' <kelpiew@...>; ''Hans-Peter Schmidt' - Switzerland - Nepal' <schmidt@...>; 'Kathleen Draper' <draper@...>
Subject: RE: Origins of flame cap technology
 
[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...]
Dr. Makato Ogawa, the Moki Kiln, Japan was the first one I saw making biochar.
 
Tom
 
 
From: Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Sent: Wednesday, October 07, 2020 9:47 PM
To: Kelpie Wilson <kelpiew@...>; 'Hans-Peter Schmidt' - Switzerland - Nepal <schmidt@...>; Tom Miles - Oregon - listservs <tmiles@...>; Kathleen Draper <draper@...>
Cc: Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Subject: Origins of flame cap technology
 
Kelpie, Hans-Peter, Kathleen and Tom,
 
When and by whom did the flame cap technology begin and become recognized?   I also call  it “cavity kilns” of which there are open top and covered versions, but nothing on that occurred until 2014.   
 
We should eventually get such information recorded, but my need at the moment is to give credit to the  early innovators and the time period of origin, so general answers are fine.
 
I  hope to hear from you soon.
 
Paul
 
Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com <http://www.drtlud.com>  <http://www.drtlud.com/>
       Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud
         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434
Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org <http://www.JuntosNFP.org>  <http://www.juntosnfp.org/>
Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com <http://www.woodgas.com>  <http://www.woodgas.com/>
Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org <http://www.capitalism21.org>  <http://www.capitalism21.org/> )
         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.
 

 

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