Here at the Ecovillage Training Center we just completed our first, hopefully annual, Biochar Stove Camp. And a good time was had by all.
|Dr TLUD demo's the Mwoto double chamber gasifier|
Doc just came back from Uganda where last spring he set up a project near Kampala to manufacture TChar stoves, a TLUD kit design he developed collaboratively in CHAB (“Combined Heat and Biochar”) camps such as ours. The Ugandan project is called Awamu Biomass Energy, or ABE for short. Awamu means “together” or “juntos” in Lugandan language. Awamu will set up a shop to cut, bend, drill and assemble the TChar, grow and harvest fuels and make hand-presses for biomass briquettes. It will then wholesale the stoves, presses and briquettes locally. If successful, Awamu would next expand to Bungoma, Kakamega and maybe Nyamira.
|Engineers Without Borders, Micro-Compound-Lever Press / Easy BioPress.|
After Uganda Doc went to Kenya, then to Haiti, Honduras, back to the States for the Biochar Conference in Sonoma, Uganda again, and home to his Brazilian wife, Noeli, in Bloomfield, Illinois before packing his car with TChars, Toucans, Mwotos, and assorted other kits and tools, and heading here to Tennessee for Labor Day.
|The Whitfield Home Garden Biochar Pellet Stove, undergoing trials in 2012.|
We are less convinced of the hopelessness of conversion of charcoal cultures than are Doc and Bob, having the card up our sleeve of eCOOLnomics still to play. Pop Culture can marry Mother Earth. We can make it cool to sequester carbon in the soil.
It might be a long shot, but then considering the alternative is that places like Haiti and Africa become intolerably hot and dry and unable to support life, we think taking that gamble is warranted.
|NikiAnne makes a TChar|
The challenge is that in the rural areas where biomass is available in abundance and can be collected at little or no cost, gasifying stoves are not affordable. Another challenge is having dry fuel in the rainy season. Unfortunately gasifiers are very sensitive to fuel moisture and do not handle fuel well unless it is less than 20% moisture. Making briquettes and pellets from dry grasses and biomass that if left alone would become greenhouse gases is a potential village enterprise that would be sustainable.
|This stove charges your laptop off |
a USB port that
derives electricity from a
bimetalic heat/cold current generator
Part of the prescription for backflow in the carbon cycle is reforestation and afforestation, taking back fields converted to farms and suburbs and returning them to mixed-age, mixed-species food forests. (Other parts of the prescription include biochar, holistic management, mob grazing, keyline, organic no-till, and painting the built environment white or silver). We will hone in on this notion at our next workshop here at the Ecovillage Training Center, Building Food Forests for the 21st Century.
It is our strategy to build a permaculture army to turn this into a garden planet, using ecological services to meet all of our needs, while returning our Mother to the comfortable climate of the Holocene.
The Food Forest workshop starts September 23, runs to October 7, and places are still available. And for those who are in the Northeast, Albert Bates will be appearing on stage each day of the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania from September 21 to 23.
They are giving away conservation heirloom chicken brood starters as a door prize. Won’t you join us?