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heat source for a biochar kiln


I fabricated a kiln to produce biochar that is 4'W x 8'L x 4'H. Hopefully the pictures enclosed will help, but I need to get the kiln to 1200F and maintain temp for 1-6 hours depending on the feedstock and the syngas produced during pyrolysis using (4) 55 gallon barrels filled with biomass in the kiln to convert. I began by burning wood in the firebox and had no problem getting to temp but could not maintain control of the temperatures creating inconsistent biochar quality.

I have done some work with a beckett oil burner but having trouble keeping the burner
running. I suspect there is not enough primary air since I can crack the rear door and the flame roars back o life.
Is it possible the primary air intake on the burner insufficient or the flue is not creating enough draft

Any feedback is appreciated


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,313
    The oil burner is taking air from inside the kiln, I gather? That's not going to work. The oil burner air intake must be in free air, or ducted to free air with a very low resistance duct. Similarly, the exhaust must go to free air. There is, of course, a damper on the intake -- I hope you have the tools and know how to adjust that damper for best combustion. Similarly, there really must be a damper on the exhaust, wo that you can adjust the draught pressures and hold them steady (again, you'll need some tools).

    If the burner flame is in direct contact with combustible material -- it's not clear -- you are pretty much out of luck. You'll never get stable combustion.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England