Eco-Kiln brushwood compost

The Eco-Kiln

Brushwood compost

An Eco-Kiln is a facility that creates heat energy from biomass. Water hoses are arranged inside a pile of wood chips, and through a microbiological degradation process, heat is released over a period of 12 to 24 months. This heat can be used for heating  indoor spaces as well as water heating. At the same time the Eco-Kiln produces biogas for cooking and as an alternative energy source. After the process is complete, the wood chips have transformed into valuable compost which can be used for your permaculture garden.
Download the DIY manual for free here: Eco-kiln 2.0 Final EN

Advantages at a glance

  • Permanent heat source:
    • usable with water or air circuits
    • temperatures of 70°C
    • provides heat and biogas for 18 months
    • provides heat without combustion
  • Ecological:
    • recycling of local plant remains
    • very potent ecological compost, as a good fertilizer
    • stimulates the enhancement of humus (the bonding of carbon into soil)
    • negative CO2 – balance (through storage of compost in the humus)
  • Economical:
    • low-tech & low cost construction
      • low capital costs
      • almost zero operating costs
    • supplies humus without mechanical work
  • easily combined with biogas production

Historical Background

Eco-Kiln “Classic”

The Eco-Kiln was first developed by Jean Pain (1928-1981) in Provence. He used tree and bush cuttings to create a natural composting process which generated warm water, warm air, biogas and high quality compost. All this without combustion or waste.

Through the help of the composted wood he developed a system of farming that did not require watering or weeding  (à “Un Autre Jardin” or “Another garden“). This system consists of completely closed cycle ecological systems. Because of its simplicity the Eco-Kiln can be created by almost anyone. This increases the autonomy of the energy and compost production.

Microbial Carbonation (MC)

The Eco-Kiln System was further developed by Walter Witte. He modified the process by adding  manure (horse- or goat-dung) to up to 30% of the total. The compost that is created in the MC contains more nitrogen, and is more quickly and thoroughly processed. In the MC-Eco-Kiln sustainably created humus also binds carbon. This process is aerobic and anaerobic at the same time. With 30% manure the Eco-Kiln reaches a maximum temperature of 70°C. For our purposes our Eco-Kilns contain only 10% manure.

Functional principle

Biochemical process

The Eco-Kiln uses a surface aerobic process and an internal anaerobic process  through bacteria and their enzymes. The anaerobic processes prevent the generation of mineralized compost, instead generating highly complex combined carbon compound (humus). Unlike conventional compost in which combined carbons mineralize to CO2 + H2O, the Eco-Kiln sustainably binds carbon as humus.

After approximately eight months carbonization takes place. If no heat exchanger is installed, the compost can mixed with the top 10-15cm of topsoil before planting.

Common compost piles created by W. Witte use no brushwood, but instead are built of straw, slurry or dung. These are totally composted after only 8 weeks.

Download the DIY manual for free here: Eco-kiln 2.0 Final EN
Pictures of the construcion: Fotos
Download book of Jean Pain: Another Kind of Garden – The Methods of Jean Pain
Status report eco-kiln Tempelhof 2: biomeiler-bericht-2-von-michael_opt

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