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While Peter Hirst was here, he showed the guys how to build a biochar burner called a TLUD, which stands for Top-Lit UpDraft pyrolysis. The basic components are a paint can (with lid and handle), a no.10 can, and two 28 oz. cans. It uses the principle of a top down burn and actually burns the rising gasses to help create the heat needed for the char to be made. The idea is that hot air rises, but heat energy radiates in all directions.

Keith commandeered the first version and is a dedicated pyrolisis maniac. He has a large stash of old pine boughs that he’s been chipping up to make his char. It’s an efficient way to sequester the carbon of that junk wood. He’s accidently burned a few batches, but that’s the learning curve. The picture shows him with a piece of char from his first successful burn, and that piece is a bit overdone (note the grey ash), but the next burn worked well and he has a nice little batch of biochar. He plans to use it on his “farm” under the pine trees, so it’ll be a good test of what biochar can do on pine tree soil, which many new northern Michigan growers have to deal with.