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No longer at Eco Centro Soneva Fushi
No longer at Eco Centro Soneva Fushi
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Soneva Fushi , Baa Atoll, MV
Climate zone:
Wet/Dry Tropical

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Bio Char - The future

Project: No longer at Eco Centro Soneva Fushi

Posted by Mark Garrett over 12 years ago

An Adams Retort has recently been built to convert our bio Mass and wood waste to Charcoal for fuel and Bio Char for soil improvement. to see article with photos go to www.permaculturemaldives.blogspot.com please

Turning more waste to wealth

At Eco Centro we also receive at least 4m3 of bio mass per day and with construction and renovations of Villas and Host accommodation plus furniture making we gather more timber “Waste”


We are able to chip some of the bio mass for the Composting process we use here “The Berkeley Method” as covered in previous blogs and to make mulch as well. After doing this we still have extra as a tropical jungle never stops growing.


How else can we create wealth – Charcoal and Bio Char?

On arriving at Eco Centro there was two pyrolysis ovens that converted wood waste into Charcoal which is used as a fuel for the BBQ’s.

When Charcoal is crushed to a powder it is then called Bio Char to improve soils for agriculture through sequestering carbon back into impoverished soils. We add 10 % of Bio Char into our compost mix. Bio char increases the surface area and also increases moisture retention allowing for greater microbial activity.


The CSIRO Australia describe Bio Char as

 “A stable form of charcoal produced from heating natural organic materials (crop and other waste, woodchips, manure) in a high temperature, low oxygen process known as pyrolysis. Due to its molecular structure, biochar is chemically and biologically in a more stable form than the original carbon form it comes from, making it more difficult to break down. This means that in some cases it can remain stable in soil for hundreds to thousands of years.” http://www.csiro.au/files/files/pnzp.pdf


We have recently bought the license to build an “Adams Retort” The license covers the build of 6 Retorts.


We have now made 4 batches of charcoal and are very happy with the Retort. The most recent batch results are as below:


Charcoal production

15/10/11 burn 3


1000 kg of construction wood from villa repairs


Oven full


Burn time – 5am -8pm / total 15 hours


11.30 am chimney 1 shut down 210 c


O2 accelerator opened at 9am -11.30 am – 2.5 hours


Gasification lasted 8.5 hours


Total wood burnt – scrap construction ply 125 kg


Total Charcoal 390 kg


I strongly advise looking into the process of making Bio Char as it could be the answer to Climate Change????



Below is information from the Retort Web site http://www.bioenergylists.org/en/adamretort

Or contact Chris  ([email protected] )

Check the video about the "adam-retort" under:



Did You know:
CHARCOAL from RETORT SYSTEMS can often serve as a replacement for fossil fuels,
thereby having a neutral effect on CO² exchanges.
This makes a significant positive contribution to the preservation of our environment!
Also using charcoal to improve soils for agriculture (bio char) becomes more and more important

Advantages of the "adam-retort":

1) High economy and better efficiency of approx. 35% to 45% (Instead of about 18% efficiency compared to the traditional systems; calculated from dry weight).

2) Recycling and clean combustion of the pyrolysis gas during the 2nd phase of operation (retort-system) results in a low-emission of carbon monoxides during the charcoal production! The effective carbonization of the biomass takes only 10 hours.
A retort system reduces the emission of harmful volatiles into the atmosphere to about up to 75%! (Compared to a traditional earth-mount kiln).

3) Low investment costs of about ~500Euroand a simple construction with locally available materials. (Costs were about 300 Euro in Kenya in 2004, but now with raising steel prices costs increased...) .

4) About 3m3 of biomass (corresponding to approx. 600kg to 900kg wood, coconut shells, compacted saw-dust briquettes, etc., dry weight, water not counted, or ~1-1,5 tons of wet wood) can be converted to up to 350kg of charcoal per batch. Per week about 3 batches of biomass can be carbonized which is corresponding to about ~1 ton of charcoal per week and unit.

5) An effective 30 hour total production cycle (known as batch) and a simple operation of the plant result in an increased income for its operators. The right system to be used at forest projects, sustainable energy-wood plantations and charcoal makers in rural areas or for semi-industrial production.

6) Only waste wood or residual biomass needs to be burnt (~50kg) in a separate fire box to dry and heat the wood and initiate the carbonization process during the 1st phase.

7) With an extended version the famous "white charcoal" should be possible to be produced? This is an adapted Japanese technology to produce high quality and strong charcoal.
Also the production of "wood vinegar" is possible during the 1st phase of operation.

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