Northern Rivers & Tweed Valley
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Northern Rivers & Tweed Valley • RIC • PROJECT 540 • B&B • SUGAR MILL GARDEN • WASTE FACILITY • “The Project 540 Kiln has the specific intent to sequester atmospheric CO2, in many small localities, and to make soil good to the seventh generation.”

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Northern Rivers & Tweed Valley







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“The Project 540 Kiln has the specific intent to sequester atmospheric CO2, in many small localities, and to make soil good to the seventh generation.”

Geoff Moxham

Constraints and goals

• Accessible sensors

• Validate simple visual tests

• Cheap low-emission designs

• Household uses of process heat

Finessing efficient solutions including

• Vortex flow induced in chimney stacks

• Pre-heated and controlled air to tuyeres

• Multiple purpose dampers & vents

Building and testing prototype kilns

• Catenary and sprung-arch trolley kilns

• Side-loading carriages

• Quenching and inoculating tanks

Educational outreach

• Community kiln-building projects

• Market and show presentations

Phoenix Kiln series

• 20 L • 60L • 3 cu m, small farm

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Phoenix Rising

• Human scaled for 1 person

• Output must justify the input


• Compact method producing

usable amount of char.

• Metal shell of washing machine

makes smoke proof shell.

• Lined with fire brick

• Contains and store the heat

• Worked well

no need to top up fuel during burn

Ben Speirs

Mark Feltrin

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Inside the kiln

Simple parts

Lifting the lid

Double drum retort

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Future steps - Using the heat

Creating independence

• Heat for clothes drying

• Hot water

• Home heating

• Refrigeration

• Micro-gasification

• Electricity generation


Organic Rankine Cycle

Ben Speirs

Mark Feltrin

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Inoculating Biochar

Charcoal pores:

Tilling it in is

“urban renewal, with

quality public housing”

If composted returns CO2 to atmosphere in 3-5 yrs.

Biochar sequesters 30-40%

of C for thousands of years.

  • Charring the weeds

    • Lantana vines

    • Camphor Laurel trees

    • Bamboo

    • Crush finely smaller than ¼ in, while wet

    • worms can transport the fines

    • Course meat grinder

    • Garbage disposal grinder, drip on inoculant

    • heavy drum roller

    • lawn mower over wet char in a bay

  • Inoculate with:

    • Urine, worm juice, compost percolation

    • Sea minerals, brewed crop specific teas

    • Biodynamic compost & soil

  • Application: 4t/ac = 2 lb/sy. Improves to 1lb/sf

  • Animals

    • Chickens, cows, ducks, pigs, pets, humans

Hyphae: Microbial C reef

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Mullumbimbi Community Garden

“Growing to Share & Sharing to Grow”




Fund raising

Seed savers



Compost loo







Alternate tech





Bush regeneration

Cob oven


BBQ area



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Sugarcane Farming

Tweed Valley - Robert Quirk

Mulching with green cane tops

returns C to soil rather than going up in smoke

Nitrogen added, 2lb/ac

facilitates break down of machine harvested trash

Legumes planted directly into trash in fallow period

Legumes add nitrogen

Add lime at 2t/ac then scrapes top 8 inch into mounds

giving equivalent 4t/ac of lime in the mounds

Plant cane  into the  mounds

improves aeration on land subject to flooding

Traffic controlled to inter-rows & reduced cultivation

minimizing soil damage, maximize soil life

Lime & cultivate only once every 6 yrs

50kg N/ha

250kg K/ha

6kg P/ha

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Apply char at rate 2-4 ton/ac in 15 plots with some having no char

Test for crop yield, leaching of nutrients, nitrogen cycling, emissions of CH4 & N2O

Preliminary results indicate reduction in emissions of N2O with applications of 10t/ha

green-waste biochar

High sulphate soils

No agronomic

benefit found

to char

Trails continuing

with reduced N

High N20 with normal cultivation

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Biochar field site – Tweed Valley NSW

Lab tests at DPI show up to 95% reduction in N20 emissions

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30 MW cogeneration plant fueled by remnants from sugar production

Saves 400,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year

$220 million capital cost

Future potential for biochar production.

On farm collection of cane trash and use for biochar production requires proof of agronomic or climate benefit.

There is interest in small scale production for return to fields as trials

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No green waste to landfills + fees: production

$80 /ton on weigh bridge

$40 / ton Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme

Self hauled green waste = 6000 t/yr

Bio solids = 2000 ton/yr

Pickup green waste & kitchen = 4000t/yr

Total = 12000 ton/yr

Row compost for 6 to 8 weeks

Sieve to separate:

Fines for compost = 5000 t/yr

Chips for mulch = 4000 t/yr

Pyrolyze - biochar = 3000 t/yr

Send back to community

Residential gardens

Community gardens

Broad acre application on farms

Small horticultural farms

Macadamia, avocado, bananas

Ballina Shire

Population 40,000

Food Links Project: Build resilience

against climate change & peak oil

Waste Management Centre

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Thank you production

From the

Project 540