What is the Kon-Tiki biochar kiln?

The Kon-Tiki biochar kiln is the fastest, cleanest way to make medium-sized batches of biochar from local biomass with minimal processing, and condition it for application.

The Kon-Tiki deep-cone flame-curtain process was developed by Dr Paul Taylor (author of 'The Biochar Revolution' book) and Hans-Peter Schmidt at the Ithaka Institute in Switzerland in 2014. In 2020 its use has been recorded in 80+ countries. The kiln was named Kon-Tiki after the Peruvian sun God, and inspired by the voyage of discovery of the Kon-Tiki raft Thor Heyerdahl sailed across the pacific.


Why the Kon-Tiki biochar kiln?


  1. Low cost, simple and elegant compared to other biochar production technologies.
  2. Proven, high quality biochar – fulfills all conditions for the European Union Premium Certificate for biochar.
  3. The natural vortex dynamic of the Kon-Tiki cone kiln supports an “air-curtain” and flame cap that pyrolyzes the feedstock, burns the smoke and protects the char.
  4. The Kon-Tiki has tested lower air emissions compared to other low cost kilns.
  5. Rim shield provides safety, and heat protection, as well as clean combustion and uniform biochar.
  6. Low feedstock processing requirements compared to other technologies.
  7. Accepts a range of feedstocks, including mixed feedstocks and higher moisture content feedstock, in sizes from small off-cuts, through hog fuel and limb wood up to 1.2 metres in length and up to 6-8cm in diameter.
  8. Ideal moisture content for pyrolysis is 15% but anything up to 19% is OK. Wetter material can be used during the middle of the burn if the fire is going well
  9. A high volume of biochar can be produced in a few hours. The volume yield is about 45% and mass yield about 17%, comparable to other kilns and gasifiers that produce a high temperature biochar.
  10. Nutrient charging can be conveniently done during charring, quenching or post-production right in the kiln. Add,eg. sea minerals such as liquid kelp or SEA-90, molasses, blood and bone et al
  11. Quenching liquid and nutrients can be easily captured and recycled or used for multiple purposes via a drain at the base of the cone.
  12. Agronomic trials show the Kon-Tiki system to be especially effective for improving crop yield.
  13. Relatively little training required to safely and effectively use the Kon-Tiki.
  14. Clean up your property, and enjoy the fire while making valuable biochar.
  15. The Kon-Tiki provides heat from biochar production, which can be developed for other purposes (e.g. cooking, water purification, drying, distillation of essential oils etc.)


Who can use the Kon-Tiki biochar kiln?

  • Small property holders, farmers, Foresters, sawmill operators and others with readily available feedstock, stranded biomass.
  • Landowners and agencies concerned with toxic water and land pollution and remediation.
  • Gardeners, farmers, and community gardens seeking greater yield and healthier more nutrient density crops.
  • Entrepreneurs seeking early entry into the biochar revolution and market.



According to Dr Paul Taylor, it takes 1 hour per inch or 20-25 minutes per cm to pyrolyse to the centre of a piece of wood. For eg., for a 10cm diameter it would take nearly 2 hours, so you have to stop adding the big wood at least 2 hours before finishing. An ideal top size might be 6-8cm diameter for the 1.2m Kon-Tiki biochar kiln. An electric log splitter to split up the big stuff makes for a better run, but there is flexibility and you can find what is efficient and clean for the wood and moisture content you have. Bigger, wetter or variable just takes more time, care and smoke.