Thu

11

Apr

2024

Biochar production technology

A bit of biochar kiln history - might want to copy and paste this one guys


Biochar kilns
    - small scale
        - batch:
        - Kon-Tiki

             -Introduction https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1o0QqePtNM4&pp=ygUVa29uIHRpa2kgYmlvY2hhciBraWxu

           - Water tight:
            - 1.6m deep cone kiln https://www.thebiocharrevolution.com/biochar-production-in-kon-tiki-australia/
            - KTR https://www.permachar.net/kon-tiki-biochar-kiln/
            - KTE https://www.permachar.net/kon-tiki-essential-kte-biochar-kiln/
            - Compact-Standard-Stretch https://www.terrapretadevelopments.com.au/
            - Flatpacked:
            - Carbon V3 https://www.permachar.net/flat-tiki-carbon/
            - Nepali 1000L https://www.biochar-journal.org/en/ct/46
        - Pyramid https://www.permachar.net/resources/
        - Oregon (design on internet), Oregon Hybrid https://www.permachar.net/resources/
        - tube eg.Ring of Fire https://wilsonbiochar.com/, Moxham Kiln http://backyardbiochar.blogspot.com/2014/11/moxham-kiln-from-charmaster-dolph-cooke.html?m=1
        - moki https://www.moki-ss.co.jp/en/biochar-kiln
        -  trough kilns eg.Bamboo Biochar Kiln https://www.permachar.net/bamboo-biochar-kiln/, Warm Heart Foundation https://www.warmheartworldwide.org/flame-cap-trough.html
        - TLUD kiln eg. Permachar https://www.permachar.net/stockpot-tlud-biochar-system-stbs/, Warm Heart Foundation https://www.warmheartworldwide.org/biochar-training-videos.html
        - trench kiln https://www.warmheartworldwide.org/biochar-training-videos.html
        - pit kiln eg. Lu'au pit (Josiah Hunt) https://pacificbiochar.com/how-to-make-biochar-with-only-a-match/
        -retort: BBB https://www.hpbiochar.com/boulder-biochar-barrel
    - medium scale
        - batch:
        - Kon-Tiki (multiple units)
        - tube (multiple units)
        - the Big Roo (design available)
        - Joey's NZ vineyard kiln (under trial)
        - Power Pallet (power and bc)
        - https://www.allpowerlabs.com/product-overview/powerpallet
    - large scale
        - batch:
        - Earth Systems Bioenergy 'Charmaker'
            - MPP https://www.esenergy.com.au/
        - continuous:
        - rotary eg. China, Japan, US, Pyreg https://pyreg.com/
        - Energy Farmers Australia
        - https://www.energyfarmers.com.au/organic-waste-solutions/
        - ByGen (activated biochar) https://www.bygen.com.au/
        - Earth Systems Bioenergy 'Charmaker'
            - CPP (feedstock drying, wood vinegar, bc)
         - ECHO2 (power, heat and bc)
        - https://www.rainbowbeeeater.com.au/what-we-do
        - Pyrocal https://www.pyrocal.com.au/
        - Charman (hearth tech from BiG) https://charman.com.au/about/

 

REFERENCES

An ageing list of biochar companies - some may be defunct
    - http://biochar.bioenergylists.org/company

https://biochar-international.org/about-biochar/how-to-make-biochar/biochar-production-technologies/
https://biochar.international/guides/biochar-reactor-to-meet-needs/

 

And for some additional reading:

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2024/04/11/new-quantum-solar-cell-material-promises-external-quantum-efficiency-of-190/

-could this be the beginning of my fictional 'new material' blogged a few years ago?

https://cnevpost.com/2024/04/03/talent-unveils-battery-cell-ultra-high-energy-density/

-too good to be true? Predicted 2000km range for EVs! But - buyer beware. This is a global battery war and it's not unusual for a company to overstate the performance specs...sounds interesting though.

 

Maybe the safest move is betting on 'Permaculture plants', coined by Jeff Nugent. I would bet on hemp, micro and macro algae and bamboo - all multi-functional plants and fast C sequesters for biochar. ?Palms and ferns? Copper is probably a sure bet too with electrification happening around the world though biomass is being reinvented with biochar. Lithium takes up too much water to mine, environmentally destructive in some regions eg. Salar de Uyuni, and may even be obsolete in 10 years if Quantum Carbon tech has it's way eg.solar and storage in the same material. I'm imagining unlimited range in EVs and self-powered buildings. Probably better than a water engine. Atmospheric mining has great potential too - C, N, H2O.

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Wed

10

Apr

2024

Experimental Kon-Tiki 'Essential' system

The atmosphere is a Carbon quarry waiting to be mined and turned into Inertinite after more than 250 years of industrial Carbon pollution. This can be done at different scales of pyrolysis technology. Start small and aim high!

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Mon

01

Apr

2024

Education and skills, anyone?

A free undergraduate degree, whatever the University, with modules from all of the university undergraduate offerings
Specialty pathways
Compulsory units: Problem Based Learning, Design, Start Ups
Rental HECS scheme
Some TAFE integration where it's needed
Hybrid and online

Before a Military education

Whatever happened to the student unions that worked like clockwork and gave students a voice and breathed life into University campuses?

18 year olds, myself included back in the day, think they know what they want for a career but realistically don't know what they want after liberating their minds in a 'Liberal arts degree' - which could include STEM and whatever else they want to study in a free undergraduate Bachelor degree.

Until you undertake a Bachelor degree, you don't realise how little you were taught in Secondary/High School
Post graduate: PELS, CSP, accessible with a completed degree, hybrid or online

Until you undertake Post-graduate education, you don't realise how little you learned in a Bachelor Degree.

However, many Masters Degrees, which could be an entry point to a PhD, cost around AUD$50k.

 

Fortunately, there's a good alternative to University education - Permaculture. An ecological design system for now and the future. Start with a PDC and if you love it, convert to a Diploma. You won't regret it. I certainly didn't and it's provided a great foundation for life and business.

 

The 'Tree of Knowledge' knows no limits and shouldn't be restricted in any way.

 

Down the track - it's not just who you know but also what you know - many people can impress HR in an interview if you know what you're talking about! But - a well conceived Resume can make all the difference to your application in order to get an interview.

 

Coursera Plus, or, whatever else is suitable, can fill in the gaps where it's needed, earn LinkedIn badges or even start earning credit for a Bachelor or Masters degree.

 

A 'Carbon Valley' could accelerate Carbon negative technology Research, Design, Development and Commercialisation for Start Ups. Maybe somewhere between Mt Gambier and the ocean in South Australia, which would have a variety of feedstocks eg.pine, sea kelp etc. and could be the perfect region, roughly 5 hours between Adelaide and Melbourne. and provide a sweet lifestyle for people living there.

 

The mind boggles - many possibilities are out there - find what's right for you and for the Planet which needs our help.

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Sat

23

Mar

2024

Carbon negative factory for Carbon negative renewable energy

I had the idea today that a Carbon negative factory could be built using Carbon negative building materials, based on biochar, and powered by biomass to biochar kilns for heat and power, to power the kiln and provide power to production line equipment. The biochar produced from the kilns could be used to fabricate C-based perovskite PVs and thermal energy blocks made from biochar to store electricity from the PVs and despatch electricity, via 40%+ efficient thermal PVs, on demand for a variety of applications.

Research suggests that biochar, in addition to graphite (Antora Energy), has suitable physical properties for energy storage and release - with the added advantage that it's produced from biomass (waste) and isn't a finite mining resource which graphite is. There's also a possibility of producing graphite directly from biomass, which I am currently researching. There could be a kiln idea brewing...

 

REFERENCES

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-024-46620-1

https://antoraenergy.com/

https://www.rainbowbeeeater.com.au/

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Sun

03

Mar

2024

X Prize for desalination interest?

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Sat

02

Mar

2024

Activated Biochar System (ABS) concept

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Mon

19

Feb

2024

Some apptech worth checking out

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Sun

14

Jan

2024

Sustainable adaptation?

There's a number of ways this could go. Entire biospheres can be protected in the form of a 'Half Earth' using Indigenous Stewardship as it's main driver. We can avoid another World War, nothing is 'inevitable', though there are many reasons to be pessimistic (and some optimistic). The 'Laws of War' are being twisted of late.  Professor Takahashi from Osaka is not happy (https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2024/1/17/gaza-will-be-the-grave-of-the-western-led-world-order). It's starting to look regional which would surely be financially unsustainable for Israel and the U.S.., especially if the next U.S. President withdraws support and leaves Israel stranded in a regional conflict... that money should be going to Zelensky. If political survival means jumping into a regional abyss with no clear victory, why bother? Why risk it? Can anyone, or AI, predict the ricochet? Then there's war superimposed on top of climate change or even climate change causing war.  But let's get down to business - it's not a blog about war.

 

I understand that Sovereignty isn't much of an issue for climate change as Earth Systems and climate pollution aren't limited to political boundaries though getting Nations to agree on climate agreement wording is very difficult, as observed at COP28. Even though the wording in the COP28 agreement is diluted, I believe we can almost completely 'phase out' fossil fuels with the right incentives and disincentives and affordable, available, safe, chemically benign, efficient and potentially Carbon negative energy alternatives. Carbon from the atmosphere can be removed in the form of biomass ('waste') to biochar with integration of the base material into the economy. Biochar is essentially a feedstock for other C based materials, eg. biochar can be used as a medium that can be physically, chemically and biologically modified for customised applications such as WASH eg. Atmospheric Water Harvesting (AWH)  and 'Regenerative Agroforestry'.   Biochar becomes Inertinite, that stores Carbon for 100 million+ years, if it meets the Inertinite Benchmark of >2% Random Reflectance. I'm predicting that biomass with higher Phytolith content can be pyrolysed at lower temperatures (probably still above 550 Degrees Celsius in most cases) for the same Biochar Inertinite yield. Storage of Inertinite could be anywhere on the Planet - in current and future supply chains and sinks. Carbon removed out of the atmosphere will slow down 'Climate heating' and 'Climate change' acceleration BUT we still have to stop burning fossil fuels if one expects Carbon removal to make any significant difference to the balance of the Carbon Cycle - which is accelerating out of balance. A number of Carbon Removal Marketplaces out there (and no doubt, more to come) may just tip the balance in favour of a sustainable Planet - money talks.

We are travelling outside the safe Earth boundaries on a number of indicators according to the 'Stockholm Resilience Institute' (https://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/research-news/2023-09-13-all-planetary-boundaries-mapped-out-for-the-first-time-six-of-nine-crossed.html). And that's not even drawing on the relationships between those indicators as they are presumably all inter-connected and inter-dependent. So, a more accurate system dynamics picture, holistically speaking, is probably far worse than what researchers are measuring, though difficult to measure and model. I'm worried about ocean evaporation->increased atmospheric moisture/clouds (water is a potent greenhouse gas)->increased climate heating->increased ocean evaporation etc.. There's the 'Albedo flip effect' at the poles. There's also the melting permafrost problem->methane,  too, that has been underestimated in Earth system modelling. It is expected that in 2024 the average Global climate temperature increase will be above 1.5 degrees Celsius above the average at the beginning of the First Industrial Age for the first time - widely recognised as the upper 'safe climate' threshold according to the Paris Climate Summit and the many scientists that supported it (and possibly still do).

It's still a 'Climate Emergency'. Can we 'Save the Planet'? The first major Anthropocene is well underway with the 'Sixth Great Mass Extinction' event. The Planet's survival options are becoming more limited the longer Nations and people wait to do more to help as many species survive as possible. The Earth is becoming irreversibly modified by many unsustainable patterns of human-controlled resource mining, consumption and pollution. Time for a regenerative circular economy at all scales!

There will never be a perfect 'World Civilisation', or 'Globalisation', which is currently unsustainable and squeezes the rising Middle Class to consume more (I get sucked in from time to time too!). There will always be different cultures and reasons for conflict - and avoiding conflict. There will always be human suffering to some degree. Some would argue it's a part of the human condition but clearly much suffering is due to artificial physical scarcity. Maybe one of our only options left is 'sustainable adaptation' (with competition and collaboration) for survival? Back to Ancient human history with a post-structural twist perhaps? 'Ancient Brews' by Dr Pat could be a good starting point and complements the 'Permaculture', 'Regenerative Agriculture', 'Regenerative Agroforestry', 'Biochar', 'Biodynamic', 'Vegan' (manure optional) and 'Locavore' movements. Try and enjoy this life (and brews) while it lasts.

 

It's easy to become too academic about things and sometimes people criticise academics as being 'Out of touch with reality' but the reality is much academic research is informing possibilities of future reality and in some cases, a future that those academics never get to see. Live your dreams.

A greener path can be beaten until we get a Zen/other state of sustainability, which begins in the mind. But - I'm a little bit biased. There is no Zen! Zen doesn't exist. Sustainability doesn't exist - or does it? Why can't sustainability exist? If it does exist, where can I find it? My first step was designing a TLUD in the mind, then building it and adding a biochar piss bucket - 'Applied Science' in action.

 

What will be your next step? I know what mine is...see below - very experimental!

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Mon

08

Jan

2024

A cunning plan for 2024

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Fri

29

Dec

2023

A 'Closed loop' Green Hydrogen fuel system

Lund University in Sweden have come up with an interesting proposition for charging Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHC) with 'Green Hydrogen' for a 'Closed loop' fuel cycle.

So, a LOHC is charged with Hydrogen then converted to Hydrogen gas using an Iridium catalyst (with 99% conversion efficiency), for fuel cells to power electric transport in a 'Closed loop' cycle. I'm unsure how green the LOHC is: isopropanol (which is a common ingredient in screenwash) and 4-methylpiperidine but it would get reused - needs more research. I'm betting that if this preliminary research steams ahead, greener LOHCs will be discovered. Also, maybe a biochar-supported catalyst (BCSC) with highly tunable surface chemistry could replace or enhance Iridium (with less Iridium/nano-substitute reverse engineered Iridium, doped BCSC, needed). Same argument as the Perovskite crystals for Photovoltaic cells and panels. Lund University might have found the first Zen stone catalyst/structure for dehydrogenation of a greeener LOHC -but -Iridium might be specific to the LOHC mentioned in the study - why not take a punt and try it for other LOHCs? It's just a combination problem that could be machine learned for system integration - Catalyst + LOHC...lock and key. Could be a Nobel Science Prize if it's open source. So let's get down to business.

 

The system could take ten years to develop, according to researcher Professor Ola Wendt, but possible however by then ceramic Solid-State Batteries (SSBs) eg.Lithium-air, will probably have taken over most of the EV space eg.e-bikes, cars, buses, trains and trucks. Unsure about aviation. I imagine shipping could be an exception and the main application for this Hydrogen system as SSBs could be too expensive for larger scales of ships with enormous payloads - but - wait and see or do.

 

How would the shipping idea work? The advantage of this system for shipping is liquid fuel handling similar to Methanol and Green Ammonia (but safer) with the advantage of a 'closed (energy) loop' for reusing the LOHC which is more sustainable (with only water vapor emissions) than the 'open (energy) loop' of Methanol (CO2 emissions) and Green Ammonia (Nitrogen emissions). I should mention too that in the proposed 'Green Ammonia' hub at Gibson Island, IPL is still using the inefficient 'Haber-Bosch' process. I believe ammonia also has a higher value use case as fertiliser rather than for fuel but ideally organic fertiliser would be produced and used on the local scale combined with biochar compost.

 

'Green Hydrogen' could be produced at or near shipping ports, used to charge the spent/discharged LOHC collected from the ships while at port then refuel the ships with Hydrogen charged LOHC in a 'Closed loop'. Sparc Technologies are producing Hydrogen directly from water exposed to the sun with no electricity using a photocatalyst. A biochar photocatalyst (a type of 'Biochar Supported Catalyst') could be a more sustainable catalyst for their system which they are looking into. Alternatively, 'Green Hydrogen' could be produced with electricity using water electrolysis and could be powered by offshore wind turbines strategically located around the ports. There's wave energy too. And water fusion (which could trump this entire system with In Situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU) of water for onboard fusion powering electric engines). Otherwise, if there isn't enough wind or wave action, electrolysis of water for Hydrogen could be grid-tied to an ideally 100% renewable powered grid. Hysata, based in Australia (as opposed to 'Plug Power'), has developed an efficient way to electrolyse water for 'Green Hydrogen', which could be done directly from seawater (more cost effective than using potable water without the opportunity cost) integrating the University of Hong Kong's recently developed SS-H2 stainless steel for non-corrosive electrodes - a recent breakthrough that could change the game. There's also the possibility of electromodding existing ships with electric engines and fuel cells though I'm not an expert in this area but I imagine it's possible.

 

There's a problem here for billionaires and the Earth - Do you build a less sustainable fuel system now and lock it in or do you sink your money into R&D for a more sustainable fuel system that might not be ready for deployment for another 10 years (or sooner or later) in the future? If you're purchasing a computer, you buy what's available and affordable at the time - but I'm talking about an entire transport industry with a massive C footprint. Maybe it's worth the wait and get it right for the next ?50+ years...It's the equivalent of using a standard USB-C port with backwards compatibility...in other words, the Hydrogen fuel cells, the electric engines and the 'Green Hydrogen' production processes and technologies can/will all improve over time but could be backwards compatible with and independent of a standard catalyst+LOHC system. So, it's essential to find the greenest chemistry possible for the catalyst+LOHC (maybe with machine learning chemical discovery) as it could be rolled out at large scale, and ideally using open source chemistry to avoid IP issues. I think the concept is great but the Devil is in the chemistry.

It's a gobsmacking opportunity for chemical engineers and the shipping industry!

 

https://scitechdaily.com/new-catalyst-could-provide-liquid-hydrogen-fuel-of-the-future/

https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4344/13/10/1336

https://www.hydrogeninsight.com/transport/in-safe-hands-onboard-the-world-s-first-ammonia-powered-ship-billionaire-andrew-forrest-s-green-pioneer/2-1-1576006

https://www.hydrogeninsight.com/industrial/we-will-make-green-ammonia-but-it-will-be-too-expensive-for-us-to-use-for-fertiliser-production-chemicals-firm/2-1-1559448

https://theconversation.com/why-green-ammonia-may-not-be-that-green-204363

https://sparctechnologies.com.au/sparc-green-hydrogen/

https://eng8.energy/energicell/

https://scitechdaily.com/cannot-be-explained-scientists-unveil-revolutionary-ss-h2-steel/

 

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