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Thermal

Making charcoal from "needle" tree wood?

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10 Bears: Pine, especially from the stump is used to do tar. My grandfather did it a couple of times when I was a kid. If charcoal and tar could be done at the same time would be a bonus!

 

Matelot: I dont have the data of the geothermal pump in front of me but I can find out during the evening. In my house we use an air heat pump that recycles the heat from the outgoing air and heats up water for consumption and heating, extremely efficient.

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Hi - I did a charcoal burn using a normal ring kiln with some rather damp soft wood last year - I don't quite remember the species but I am pretty sure it was a pine. Anyway everything I have read and been taught says softwood does not make decent charcoal - And the result - brilliant charcoal of course! Yes it is very light and slightly more brittle than hardwood but the burn was nice and hot and fast as you would expect and the yield was also decent compared to hardwood. I have also had good results with birch so you should be OK.

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10 Bears: Pine, especially from the stump is used to do tar. My grandfather did it a couple of times when I was a kid. If charcoal and tar could be done at the same time would be a bonus!

 

As the saying goes, it looks like I'm trying to teach grandma to suck eggs!

 

Thanks for finding the video, AM - I thought it was Ray Mears, but I obviously didn't use the right search command to find what I was looking for.

 

Thermal, the video that AM found shows the charcoaling set-up and the link I posted earlier had a nice schematic of the set up to make an earth kiln for charcoaling and collecting tar.

 

Given the chance I would love to give it a go myself - I just don't have 90ha of forest to play in!

 

It would be interesting to see how you get on with this little project, so if you get something set up (however long it takes), it would be nice to see a follow up video or pictures of your efforts.

 

No pressure of course, but we are all interested now...

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Thanks for the reply. I attach a drawing, and as you can see I am very proficient in cad :laugh1: Have I understood you correctly? Are the two curves connected to each other as I have drawn or are they separate? And dimension, roughly 2" pipe? I think I might be able to assemble something like this,,

 

My hope is to bag and sell the charcoal locally, there should definitely be a market for small scale production. But I doubt I will be able to make a living of it.

 

Yup, that's pretty spot on. On the Exeter there is only one pipe coming off each chimney and they are not connected to either cylinder if I remember correctly. The gas tubes are square in section but they wouldn't have to be. They are about 2" diameter as you correctly guessed.

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Hi all,

 

 

 

My first thread on this forum after long time lurking. Me and my brother have taken over the family farm (agriculture and forest)

 

 

 

We dont do any farming, the farm land is rented out to the neighbor but we still work the forest, roughly 90 hectares. Up to last year the "big house" was heated with a wood boiler but now it is replaced with a geothermal heat pump. So, that means that we have stupid amounts of firewood, both cut and split and also tonnes ready in the forest. Most of the fire wood is residues from the normal forest work, IE thinning out (most go to the paper pulp industry) and timber cutting. And as we are located in Sweden, 80% of the trees on the land are needle trees, pine and spruce. The leaf trees are a mix of aspen, oak and birch.

 

 

 

Getting in to the fire wood market here is more or less futile, it is over saturated so we are looking into charcoaling instead. So after the rather long introduction it is time for the questions!

 

 

 

Does anyone have any experience of making charcoal from needle trees? Especially pine has a lot of resin in it, would this affect the final product?

 

 

 

I am very keen on the Exeter Retort, however it is way to expensive for us but after a lot of reading and image searches on google I am fairly confident that I could convert some old diesel tanks into something similar. Am I way to cheeky to ask if someone could disclose how the wood gas is fed back to the burn chamber?

 

 

 

Over 90% of the charcoal is imported, so I am sure there is room for a small scale production. Both me and my brother have "real" jobs so we are not living on this but a small side income would be nice.

 

 

Hi Thermal, I've been using almost entirely scots pine and Norway spruce in my ring kilns for about 14 yrs and have no problems selling it, I switched when I bought 40 acres of predominately scots pine spruce and thuja, and hardwood prices started to climb makin it more sensible to sell the hardwoods as logs and 'value add' to the lower value pines

Can't really add much to what others have said except that your slower grown material may produce a longer lasting coal due to higher density.

Think pines that came from wetter woodlands were preferable for producing Stockholm tar ( was told the scientific reason for this but can't remember😕)

Worth looking into biochar production from arisings especially if you're going down retort route.

Good luck with your venture

John

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Hi Thermal, I've been using almost entirely scots pine and Norway spruce in my ring kilns for about 14 yrs and have no problems selling it, I switched when I bought 40 acres of predominately scots pine spruce and thuja, and hardwood prices started to climb makin it more sensible to sell the hardwoods as logs and 'value add' to the lower value pines

Can't really add much to what others have said except that your slower grown material may produce a longer lasting coal due to higher density.

Think pines that came from wetter woodlands were preferable for producing Stockholm tar ( was told the scientific reason for this but can't remember😕)

Worth looking into biochar production from arisings especially if you're going down retort route.

Good luck with your venture

John

 

Thank you all for all the feedback, that is excellent news with the spruce and pine. Have you noticed any difference between soft and hardwood during the burning of the charcoal, IE sparks shooting of the hot coals etc?

 

Biochar would definitely be interesting, my mind has wandered in that direction. So far it is not very well known here, but on the other hand it might be easier to make a market than fighting to get in to it. There are many farms around so finding manure to pre-charge it would not be a problem.

 

I already started to make up some designs in my head. After spending hours on youtube I am leaning to something similar to the type that uses an oil drum in a bigger oil drum but on a much larger scale. The smaller tank is 1500 liters and it fits comfortably in the bigger one. We have the equipment to lift it in and out and it will be less metal work.

 

This project will take a while, I still have my job offshore (so far anyway, the oil industry is in a steep decline) but I will update this thread slowly but surely as the project goes on.

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Thank you all for all the feedback, that is excellent news with the spruce and pine. Have you noticed any difference between soft and hardwood during the burning of the charcoal, IE sparks shooting of the hot coals etc?

 

Biochar would definitely be interesting, my mind has wandered in that direction. So far it is not very well known here, but on the other hand it might be easier to make a market than fighting to get in to it. There are many farms around so finding manure to pre-charge it would not be a problem.

 

I already started to make up some designs in my head. After spending hours on youtube I am leaning to something similar to the type that uses an oil drum in a bigger oil drum but on a much larger scale. The smaller tank is 1500 liters and it fits comfortably in the bigger one. We have the equipment to lift it in and out and it will be less metal work.

 

This project will take a while, I still have my job offshore (so far anyway, the oil industry is in a steep decline) but I will update this thread slowly but surely as the project goes on.

 

Nice one!

 

Looking forward to the updates.

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At the risk of going off topic, I'd be interested in how you are getting on with your heat pump? How many units of energy do you get out for each unit of electricity?

 

Good luck with your charcoal venture anyway :)

 

This is the pump that replaced the wood boiler, http://www.nibe.co.uk/nibedocuments/16466/M10784-5.pdf

 

It has not been running for a full year yet, but so far the power used is quite a bit below the calculation so everybody is happy. In the brochure there are several options but we have a 220m bore hole version. If you can harvest the heat from a lake or a water stream it will be even more efficient. But bedrock was the cards we were handed :)

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I should be packing my bag as I am going for work tomorrow, but I am getting a bit to excited about this project. I have made yet another advanced drawing in paint to show my idea, any input is greatly appreciated.

 

The whole retort will be made out of two diesel tanks, I shamelessly stole the idea of first venting out steam from the inner chamber and then reroute it for combustion when the temperature is correct. There will be a bit of steel work involved, but that wont be to big of an issue. Most of the material is already scattered around the farm, the only thing I need to get is the insulation of the outer tank, and some protective sheeting.

 

I attach some pictures, the first one is how I planned the layout and then the two tanks. The "silver" one fits inside the rusty one comfortably with a gap of roughly 25 cm all around.

 

The last picture is of my favorite forest toy, spent some hours this morning clearing up some trees that fell in the last storm.

Rottne.jpg.17670c5420d23db481f198806dc8c097.jpg

59766fcf8b674_Diesel2.jpg.49f7c8ca850906d088157373515ab780.jpg

59766fcf891a6_Diesel1.jpg.dc9c2487a20c3735ced970a36cbb90f7.jpg

59766fcf86866_Charcoalretort1.jpg.b86b336e96486dd769ea2645ac718354.jpg

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