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Woodworks

Any new small charcoal retorts out there?

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Hi Richard,
Have grading over a 12.5mm screen I get about 120 kg of charcoal. Depends on the species.
Since April 2017, I’ve done 58 burns producing & selling approx 7 tonnes of charcoal.

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On 22/03/2017 at 21:41, TRADITIONAL LOGGERS said:

A portable version on a 750KG single axle trailer would be ideal. I would like to collect wood tars to use for various products.

Messing around with a new gas burning system last night and collecting wood tars my now be an option. Any ideas on how it is harvested so to speak? Fitted a gas overflow pipe to mine and plenty of wood tar was condensing on the secondary flue. Thing is it's coming out the same pipe that the excess gas does and I need to flare that for a clean burn. 

IMG_20180731_221858.jpg

Edited by Woodworks

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3 hours ago, Woodworks said:

Messing around with a new gas burning system last night and collecting wood tars my now be an option. Any ideas on how it is harvested so to speak? Fitted a gas overflow pipe to mine and plenty of wood tar was condensing on the secondary flue. Thing is it's coming out the same pipe that the excess gas does and I need to flare that for a clean burn. 

Traditionally it was a condenser followed by the flare or in more sophisticated plants, like the german one that produced acetic acid from beech at the end of the 19th century, the true gases (H2, CH4,CO,CO2 N2 and lighter vapours)  after the condenser/fractionating column went to a large single cylinder SI engine. It must have been high maintenance as the tarry gases would have contaminated the oil and coked up the combustion chamber. I read that two men would get in and clean the valves with pick axes.

 

Starting simply you could use the smallest diameter pipe that doesn’t restrict flow for the flare, with a Y junction at base and collect the tarry acid (pyroligneous acid) at the bottom. Spray water on the top so it is wet all the way down using a pond pump. You will need to dismantle it occasionally when hot to burn off the residues.

 

Also it will contain phenol like compounds and these are potentially carcinogenic.

 

 

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On 25/04/2018 at 20:02, Woodworks said:

I think I have!

 

It would cost around £500 -£800 to make. Makes 60+kg of saleable charcoal per day and you could easily run two at a time if you wanted to up production. The charcoal ends up in barrels which are easy to handle. It's ready to go again the next day while you sieve the previous days product. What other retorts can compete with that? Only unknown is longevity as I dont work it hard enough to ware it out. 

 

Just deciding how to go forward with it. Options are

 

1. Manufacturer them  (very complex)

2. Sell plans (most likely)

3. Do nought and keep it for myself (not going happen)

4. Just share with all for nothing (possible)

 

A lot of great information on this thread, a lot of knowledge shared. To be honest much of it is beyond my pay grade, but i gleaned some basics from it.

Did you decide to sell plans or manufacture this device?! 

I think openspaceman was correct in saying you were being modest about your abilities here..

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1 hour ago, Conor Wright said:

A lot of great information on this thread, a lot of knowledge shared. To be honest much of it is beyond my pay grade, but i gleaned some basics from it.

Did you decide to sell plans or manufacture this device?! 

I think openspaceman was correct in saying you were being modest about your abilities here..

 Will probably just post up my idea for others to copy if they so wish. Works fine just I would probably need CE marks to sell them and that could be tricky and not sure I have the heart for that sort of thing.

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16 minutes ago, Woodworks said:

 Will probably just post up my idea for others to copy if they so wish. Works fine just I would probably need CE marks to sell them and that could be tricky and not sure I have the heart for that sort of thing.

Yeah? That would be greatly appreciated, not just by me I would imagine! I have heard of some ce certifications running into many thousands, a company not far from me paid over 15k to have a stone raking machine plated and stickered with numerous daft warnings and impractical guarding devices.

Regardless, I wouldn't mind having a go at charcoal, have no shortage of raw materials and as it will be mostly loggings like yours, a similar setup should work. Not many doing it around me either.. I like the fact that yours can do multiple burns in a day. How is it lasting? 

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10 minutes ago, Conor Wright said:

 

 

 

10 minutes ago, Conor Wright said:

How is it lasting? 

Fine so far. It's just mild steel and been left out in the weather which has more destructive than the burns themselves. To avoid it rusting away stainless would be good but comes at a price but if I make a second I will probably give it a go. Could easily run two at a time so could be converting the best part of two cubes a day. 

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1 minute ago, Woodworks said:

 

Fine so far. It's just mild steel and been left out in the weather which has more destructive than the burns themselves. To avoid it rusting away stainless would be good but comes at a price but if I make a second I will probably give it a go. Could easily run two at a time so could be converting the best part of two cubes a day. 

Pm me please if you are interested in showing more detailed photos or plans. Would be glad to exchange plans for beer tokens if you wish. I have to do something with this 20 odd cube of logged ash as it's in somebody else's yard and I will eventually run out of good grace and have to move it! On your logger vid I noticed you had the lengths nicely trimmed up, do you allow any smaller pieces e.g.. ash tops in or are they too small to convert? Ie, just creates dust or burns up?

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Tips covert perfectly just but most fall through the sieve! I do tend to cut off the worst of the spray. Still trying different things as not been at it long. As to the retort thus far avoided sharing it all as I have moments when I think it might make me a few bob and then there is the rest of the time haha. Not got any pictures to share at present but when I do they will go on here for sure.

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