Forest Biochar Rocket Stove

Project to document the development of open source designs and the construction of a biochar producing rocket stove. The finished stove is to be used for space and water heating and be the main cook stove for volunteers on a community farm.

The design is being documented at Appropedia

Edit 2013-11-12: The Appropedia page, which documents the design has had a major update.


Progress so far on the biochar rocket stove

The stove design is based upon work done by Ed Revill from after visiting his fields and seeing his stoves early this summer there has been work on making 3D CAD drawings and talking to many metal workers local to the community farm to see if we could find anyone who would be interested in helping to build our first stove.

Recently Ed built an improved design which we are going to work from so we have begun making new CAD drawings.

We have already gathered much of the metal needed for the stove and have cutting equipment to cut the pieces ready for them to be welded together.

It is planned that some of the work building the stove will be done as an open workshop at the farm. Most likely cutting the parts of the stove, then possibly installing the stove after everything is welded together.

Just saying…

Hi @Darren, this sounds like a valuable idea. I know this might sound obvious, but have you considered prototyping your rocket stove as an unMonastery Matera project? During LOTE3 we (and especially @elf Pavlik) befriended a group of struggling local farmers who are completely shut out from access to credit. This means they cannot afford to do even the slightest improvement to their farms; and this, of course, locks them into a cycle of low added value farming. One of them, Cosimo, told me he grows wheat, which he sells at a pittance. I suggested he transforms himself and sells the transformed, higher value added product (for example flour), but he replied he has no way to build a mill or any other transformation tech if that means paying cold cash.

Another one, Francesco, who speaks reasonably good English, was very interested in the Open Source Ecology project. There is a vague hope to use their own “field engineering” skills and open source knowledge to upgrade their tech without needing to access cash and credit. A project like yours is much up the same street – and probably easier than building a tractor! The reason I mention this is that we could have someone in Matera talk to these guys and see whether they would be interested in helping out and beta testing your rocket stove. Am I making sense? I know so little of this…


Nice idea, however my quick thoughts are…

I am not sure about how much need there is for extra heating in Matera?  This stove design is probably a bit excessive for just the cooking requirements of one household.  A big part of the design is that the gases given out from the wood as it is turned to biochar are burnt, which reduces pollution + produces extra heat energy which is put to good use rather than being wasted (as is the case with the way a lot of biochar is produced)

I am also hoping to have a prototype built and operational long before the unMo residencies start.

I have also been getting the feeling that I’ve recently been spreading myself a bit thin, involved with lots of projects, but with slow progress in all of them.

Working towards an unPilgrimage to Matera, although a very nice idea in many, many ways, will take my energies from other things and for a while now I’ve been feeling the need to focus myself a bit more to make significant progress with existing projects.

I will however give it some more thought (maybe a different design for Matera?) and have a look at the unMo residency documentation.

I definitely think that there is lots of room for value adding with the farmers.  My preferred route would probably involve large diversification of crops and shifting to direct involvement with end users of the crops - some kind of community supported agriculture quite possibly with crop processing tied in somehow.