Carbon Negative Technology

Our Rowdy Rocket Retort utilizes rocket stove technology to create biochar from wood chips, wood pellets, corn, crop residues, and other biomass. 

With much of the world looking for ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere High Plains Biochar has a very simple solution.  Our Rowdy Rocket Retort utilizes rocket stove technology to create biochar from wood chips, wood pellets, corn, crop residues, and other biomass.  This is the worlds first continuous rocket stove designed specifically for the production of biochar.  Because this technology does not require electric fans for moving air the power consumption is only a fraction of the other technologies available making this among the most energy efficient continuous biochar technologies in the world.  This is real carbon negative technology for the real world.  

Most existing biochar technology is really not carbon negative.  Most require lot of electricity for fans to move air, do not utilize the heat produced, require fossil fuels to operate, or the or even use electricity to heat a tube.  

 

Problems with Existing Technology

Air curtain burners - These are designed to combust wood, not make biochar, and have a massive carbon footprint if you figure all the diesel engines that are required to operate. There is little control over the biochar temperature, large amounts of ash/dirt/rocks in the biochar, the low quality biochar still requires resizing as large chunks are not useable.  These also create a lot of smoke if you have ever watched one operate.   It's unlikely this technology is actually carbon negative if you take into account all those factors.

Wood boiler technology - These are designed to produce heat, not biochar.  Some may accidentally produce biochar if you turn the ash augers up but there is no control over the dwell time of the biochar so you end up with uncooked pieces along with lots of ash since air comes in contact with the wood chips.  Yield is also very low since much of the biomass is burned.  These use a lot of electricity for things like fans and in some cases require fossil fuels like propane to operate at startup.  When you factor all of these things in most wood boilers are not really carbon negative.

Open burn Kilns - These are actually quite efficient at making biochar if you have an abundance of low cost labor, fire danger is not an issue, you don't mind smoke, and you don't mind a large chunky biochar with some uncooked pieces.  

Modern kilns - Most of these require large electric fans to operate and do not utilize the heat they create.  Due to those two factors alone this technology is not carbon negative.  

Gasifiers - This varies from industrial gasifiers which require fossil fuels to pre dry fuel and lots of electricity to operate while not utilizing the heat they produce which creates a large carbon footprint to smaller units that produce little biochar.   There are also more basic designs which are quite efficient at making biochar.  

Rotary Kilns - Many of these use fossil fuels for heat and flare off the heat generated, again this makes the carbon balance questionable at best when you consider the massive amount of electricity required for all those moving parts.  

 

What makes our Rowdy Rocket Retort technology different

1. Power consumption.  Because rocket stoves draft naturally we do not require large electric fans to operate.  Just a minimum amount of electricity to operate augers to move biomass through the retort. We also do not require fossil fuels for startup, operation, or fuel drying.  

2. Heat utilization.  Because this heat is useable the carbon footprint of this technology is much different than technology that wastes the heat produced.  This can be done with thermal mass like a standard rocket mass heater or with air to water heat exchangers so the heat can be piped for other uses. 

3. Emissions. Because our industrial rocket stoves burn in excess of 2,000 degrees the emissions are minimized.  Most biochar equipment never gets closet to these temps so they inevitably produce a lot more smoke and emissions.  

4, Flexibility.  Because of the design our Rowdy Rocket Retort can burn a variety of feedstock including those with some moisture content.  Wood chips, pellet, hemp, agricultural residue, etc will all work in our equipment.

5. Time control. Because our augers are independently controlled we can adjust dwell time depending on the feedstock to maximize efficiency.  Other equipment does not offer this kind of control over the quality of biochar produced.

We are currently seeking strategic partners to commercialize this technology.  Please contact Rowdy@HPBiochar.com if you are interested.