Touring Trollworks Biochar Plant

Yesterday I had a chance to tour Trollworks in Santa Clara, New Mexico, where various prototype machines are being built to make biochar. The Trollworks system integrates four innovative elements to deliver a system with multiple applications, benefits and potential revenue streams. These machines can heat a building while making biochar which can be sold on the market for a profit.

Trollworks founder, Gordon West, demonstrates how a simple biochar making machine works.

A unique feature of the Trollworks system is its ability to take a wide range of biomass feedstocks (such  as wood or agricultural waste) and process them into a stable, densified thermal fuel. This fuel can be transported and stored at sites where it is used to displace the use of fossil fuels for building or process heat.

Once the feed stock is lit, the gasses produced are burned off at the top of the unit, turning the oxygen-starved biomass into biochar.

The latest models of Trollworks machines feature a continuous feed system. This enables the coupling of biochar pyrolysis units to existing commercial or industrial heat needs—boilers, process heat systems; HVAC systems.

Here is a much larger version for controlling the combustion of biomass.

Biochar is by itself a form of sequestered carbon. In the process of transforming low-grade biomass waste to biochar, approximately one-quarter of the carbon that would otherwise have been released as greenhouse gases is converted into a stable carbon structure that will remain inert for decades or centuries.

Here you can see a coupled system, where the feed stock is automatically fed into the combustion chamber and then the resulting biochar is transported into a separate storage container.

The exponential power of biochar as a sequestration resource is through its application in land regeneration treatments. Trollworks is working with some of the leading research and application scientists developing organic bio-inoculums that can magnify and accelerate the capacity of soil to recapture and hold carbon and water as regenerative resources.

On the right is a huge drying unit designed to transform biomass into suitable fuel.

Combining these elements together creates a system capable of transforming low-value wastes into community economic activity, landscape regeneration, and climate stabilizing carbon sequestration. Each community’s ecosystem will differ depending on its resources and applications.

This is the latest biochar maker designed to heat a large building while making saleable biochar.

Trollworks is seeking funding to further their work in finding solutions to the depletion of fossil fuels while sequestering carbon to slow global warming and providing economic and agricultural benefit through the production of biochar.

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