Enjoy cooking and produce biochar at the same time!

With Terra Preta expert Dr. Haiko Pieplow and participants, DYCLE had a creative summer afternoon at Eden cafe garden in Berlin-Pankow.

Making biochar is not difficult. Every time we have a fire for BBQ or warming ourselves, we have an opportunity to produce biochar at the same time. In many gardens there is plenty of waste material from bushes and trees. On the other hand biochar is a necessary ingredient for Terra Preta and can be used for many other purposes as well. Why not combine useful and pleasant activities into one?
Biochar making is very old knowledge and appears in rituals of many cultures around the world. It is used for keeping the soil fertile since thousands of years. In recent years people have rediscovered this knowledge.
We started collecting dry branches from the garden and made a fire in a transportable fire pit. This special one is called "Kon-Tiki". Its special form ensures that the fire produces almost no smoke and all natural tar from the wood is properly burnt. The secret of this contruction is the inclination of the walls: 63,5 degrees. The result of this geometry is a certain airflow and as a consequece a very clean burn. It is also possible to dig a hole into the ground to have the same effect. The design is open source and can be used by everyone.
Some of the hot biochar was used for cooking. Since the charcoal itself is much to hot to cook directly on it the tumbler from a dismantled washing machine was used as a stove for the wok.  A few shovels full of hot charcoal was placed into a small hole in the ground and with a Dutch oven we made vegan Miso soup, sunny-side up eggs and seasonal wild mushroom. Tasty!
At the end of the day the charcoal was quenched with water and we collected around 80 liters of charcoal from the kiln.
In Eden place we use charcol to produce Terra Preta substrate from kitchen waste. We looked at together a the ongoing fermentation and humification process. It seems to be quite successful! Thanks to 18 members of Pankow Food Assembly who constantly bring in their kitchen waste. We will write about this in another article.
DYCLE appreciate a lot this collaboration work today. Our next Workshop will be in September (tba).

More on the Kon-Tiki and biochar making: