BioChar School Stove from Tin Cans

Erin Rasmussen

Sean Barry, November 2009

Look what I just made! I used a 46 oz juice can , a 14 oz kernel corn can, a can opener, a strip of tin, and some tin snips.

I will see if it can boil water now and makes charcoal out of wood chips. Then maybe I can send a you tube link. This is my first mock up of of the educational tool about biochar that I was thinking of developing and telling you about in Washington this past September. When it makes char, it should be smokeless, especially with dry feedstock, easy and cheap to build out of normal household stuff. and simple to use.

With a little tiny bit of charcoal (maybe close to a cup?) it could be put into two of four milk carton bottom test pots, then fertilizer in one with char and one without char. They kids could plant something grows fast and maybe edible (beans sprouts?), then measure the performance of their own soil with a real experiment (1/4 control, 1/4 just fertilizer, 1/4 both charcoal and fertilizer, 1/4 just charcoal. (just like my garden).

It could be an experiment started this winter after the holidays and ending late this spring before school let's out.

This little lab kit has four important elements -

1) Simple to make and use.
2) Makes charcoal.
3) Uses the energy that comes from making char to cleanly provide cooking heat.
4) Uses the charcoal as a biochar amendment into soil and has a real plant growth experiment.

Its a full cycle that will let kids have a simple starting point for understanding and then they can be creative and expand from there. I would suggest targeting it to the youngest kids possible and repeating it more than once in their curriculum.


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