[Gasification] Small steam systems plus gasifiers for electricity

Tom Miles tmiles at trmiles.com
Mon Dec 2 22:39:09 CST 2013



We find that biochar from a downdraft gasifier composted 15% v/v with
alfalfa and wood chips makes a very nice compost. We have used it as a
substitute for a vermiculite-peat-bark blend. Tree seedling response is
generally good. Some species are pH sensitive and the alfalfa pushes the
compost pH up so adjustments need to be made. In Japan Dr. Ogawa rinses high
pH grass (bamboo) chars to reduce soluble alkali before application to the
tree root zone.


Biochar-peat and biochar-coco peat blends work well. 


So if you have a gasifier in a location where there is no market for power
you can make heat for greenhouses and a char byproduct that you can compost
for use in the greenhouse. We estimate that the combined savings from the
heat (propane) and soil amendments for a 10 MMBtuh (3 MW) system are about
$350,000 per year. 


David Yarrow likes chars from grasses. You can make char in your




From: Gasification [mailto:gasification-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] On
Behalf Of Jeff Davis
Sent: Monday, December 02, 2013 8:03 PM
To: Discussion of biomass pyrolysis and gasification
Subject: Re: [Gasification] Small steam systems plus gasifiers for


Thanks Tom,

Interesting way to combine grass compost, charcoal, heat and gasification.
If there is a market and I guess there is - I'll have to consider this (less
the shyster stuff) ! !


On 12/02/2013 10:24 PM, Tom Miles wrote:



Nothing is that sensible. With retail garden products, and especially on
eBay, weight and value go out the window. It's whatever the customer
(sucker?) will pay for a package. Garden products are usually sold by
volume, not weight.  


Take the 5 gallon bucket of biochar that weighs 17 lbs. The blend is 25
lb/ft3 (17 lb/0.67 ft3). If the biochar is about 8 lb/ft3 and the additive,
say compost, is 42 lb/ft3 then that's a ~50:50 blend by weight. Is it worth
$56? Sip the KoolAid and pay the $56 to support your biochar curiosity.
There are some very good biochar-compost blends that sell for far less. 


I like the Biochar "charflakes" at $129/5 gal or $65/2 gal. $192/ft3
(>$5,000 CY) or $240/ft3? (That 5 gal plastic bucket must be worth more than
$2 that I pay.) 


I'll take the 40lb bag for $33 ($0.83/lb). That must be a misprint. The same
supplier wants  $1.80/lb for 10 lb and 2.60/lb for 5 lb. 


We don't really know what portion or how much of a market these retail
garden products represent but several sharp marketers are taking advantage
of it. If you are willing to do the packaging and sales and get a lot more
than $1/ft3 then you are at the head of the class. 


At least eBay makes it easy to find these things on the internet.




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