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TitleDevelopment of a solid waste to biochar reactor : a paper presented at the second conference on developments in faecal sludge management in Durban,...
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2012
Authorsvon Herzen, B
Pagination21 p.; 16 fig.; 4 tab.
Date Published2012-10-29
Place PublishedS.l.
Keywordsafrica, faecal sludge management [FSM], solid waste recycling, solid waste treatment

The Stanford / Climate Foundation Biochar Reactor effort began in 2011 to develop a prototype reactor to efficiently convert human solid waste to biochar without grid power or water. A small-scale pyrolyzer is developed that utilizes high-moisture feedstock through a two-stage combustion process. In addition, a two-stage counterflow heat exchanger provides thermal recuperation of the incoming air while cooling the exhaust gases. We model the energy balance and  essential components of the biochar reactor, describe the resulting system design, and report on the results. The Stanford / Climate Foundation team has designed, fabricated, assembled, tested and refined a biochar reactor capable of serving up to 100 people per day. The reactor features a counterflow heat exchanger that recovers thermal energy in the exhaust by transferring it to the intake air, thus conserving energy and making the reactor more efficient. A  functional pyrolysis system is developed earlier this year, including testing the system and demonstrating the prototype at the Reinvent the Toilet Fair at the Gates Foundation in August, 2012, with our partners Sanergy from Nairobi, Kenya. Sanergy is developing a vertically integrated infrastructure in Nairobi, including sanitation units, processing centers and associated conveyance infrastructure, composting facilities, and ready fertilizer markets throughout Kenya. To this infrastructure our biochar reactor will add a biochar fertilizer substrate that renders nitrate insoluble, multiplying the efficacy of Sanergy’s fertilizer amendment and facilitating long-lasting improvements to soils utilizing Sanergy’s amendments. [authors abstract]

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