This episode couldn’t get any hotter as we welcome back Spencer Curry of FRESH Farm Aquaponics on the show. Listen in as he discusses TLUD stoves and all about the smokeless, double burn which is simply genius!
TLUD stands for Top-Lit Updraft Stove. Today’s show is primarily on biochar, why TLUD stoves rock, and how to make one. We’re talking about TLUD stoves made out of paint cans, the concept of pyrolysis, the role of an oxygenless chamber, and creating biochar with tons of surface area for microbial habitat (whether you use biochar for aquaponics or soil). We also talk about how biochar works to adsorb nutrients and how that differs from absorption.
Listen in as Spencer comprehensively describes how a TLUD stove works, as well as some techniques to make it work properly. Other things included in the interview are rocket stoves vs. rocket mass heaters, liquid heat, chimneys, cinder blocks, how the combustion process works for the gases, and siphoning gas over combustion.
We also delve into the downsides of the TLUD stove, the cost of building it, eliminating contamination issues with pyrolysis, some various tests to check once everything is done, and observing safety measures. Get more biochar application tips from Spencer including combination materials and mixes, plants that like biochar and some pH changes with biochar.
Lastly, we touch on systems design including the use of biofilters, swirl filters, and pumps in deep water culture and vertical tower NFT systems.
Read Full Show Notes
52: A Smokeless Burn-Creating Biochar with TLUD Stoves w/ Spencer Curry of FRESH Farm Aquaponics
Here’s what you’ll learn from this episode:
- What is a TLUD stove?
- Find out how they learned about biochar from the book 1491
- Terra Preta – man-made soil type in the Amazon rain forest (enter google search)
- Is the Amazon rain forest man-made?
- How did they make their own TLUD stove the first time?
- TLUD stoves work very well with 55-gallon drums and paint cans
- What is pyrolysis? And what does it have to do with creating biochar?
- Biochar is charcoal in an agricultural setting
- What happens to all the other molecular components aside from carbon?
- Discover what becomes of the micro-scale holes in the biochar: Home to microbes!
- Spencer describes the funky physics that happens at the nano-scale: nutrient adsorption
- Absorption vs. adsorption
- Learn about how exactly does a TLUD stove work: The Setup
- Let’s clarify rocket stoves from rocket mass heaters
- Find out why you need to achieve an “even” burn
- The length of the chimney matters too… why?
- Check out how the combustion process of gases works: Just like a giant cigarette!
- How is a smokeless burn created?
- Did you know you can just siphon off the gases instead of combusting them?
- TLUD stoves not only produces biochar, but biogas too!
- Can you cook with a TLUD stove?
- Discover the downsides of TLUD stove
- How much does a TLUD stove cost and where do you buy the parts?
- Find out what tests you can use to check once you’re done!
- Here are some safety measures Spencer recommends
- More tips on using biochar from Spencer
- Learn which plants like biochar and which ones don’t (is there any?)
- pH changes with 100% biochar application and which ratios work best?
- Spencer talks more about biofilters, swirl filters, and pumps
“This is a stove that’s simultaneously producing biochar, crude oil, gasoline as substitute. It’s like the most incredible machine, a molecular decomposition machine for organic material and turn anything back into its component parts.” – Spencer Curry
“The idea in the TLUD oven is you’re creating biochar in the area of the oven that has no oxygen.” – Spencer Curry
“In biochar, the nutrients in water adsorb and remain on the outer layer of the charcoal so it’s readily accessible to the microbes and therefore also to the plant roots.” – Spencer Curry
“There’s no quicker way to get to know someone than to offer them food.” – Spencer Curry
“Biochar is really incredibly exciting technology that’s really just now starting to get the attention it deserves.” – Spencer Curry
Resources/links to websites:
Book mention: 1491 by Charles C. Mann
YouTube video of Appalachian State University’s Biochar TLUD