aquaponics schematic

Stephen Joseph

The system uses

  1. Biochar reactor to convert all residues and purpose grown crops (especially bamboo and acacia) to biochar for use as a growing media, filter and for feeding to fish with wood vinegar (1% biochar with ,25% wood vinegar).
  2. Heat from biochar reactor maintains optimum temperature for fish and pl,ants
  3. Biochar used as a medium for improve nutrient uptake in either pots tanks or troughs. Note with biochar water flows through troughs for only 1-3 hours per day reducing electricity requirements.
  4. Aeration pond to grow water plants, fingerlings and filter water

Read the presentation for more detail:

Paal Wendelobo, October, 2011

The Peko Pe TLUD project in Zambia is going well.

Paal describes it best:

" The main principals for our projects I will call it community based participation both for fuel and for stove productions. Utilization of local resources with other words.. The Peko Pe is designed for production by local tinsmith with the tools they might have. They only need a template and a model; they have the knowledge how to make it.

" First of all we discuss the need of changes, and then on the fuel side we start up with registration of alternative biomass for fuel for briquetting, energy forestry for fuel production. We always start with the fuel .to be sure there is sufficient quantities and to an affordable price.

"The charcoal business, which represents about 15 % of the adult population, has to be involved from an early stage of the project. All kind of activities on the household energy sector will in one or another way have an influence of their business, and with biochar we don’t know what will happen, but that is one of the ting we will try to find out. Any how for the charcoal business it is just to change from charcoal to alternative biomass for household energy.

"The energy loss by production of biochar for soil improvement is almost equivalent to the energy needed for the farmer to cook if you include the African way of thinking time is coming not like by us time is running That is a big difference. A household need about 2,7 kg charcoal a day for cooking. Form about 10 kg of dry wood you will get 2,7 kg of charcoal for one day cooking and no biochar. From .10 kg of dry wood you will get 10 kg of woodchips and that will be for 2 ½ day of cooking into a TLUD-ND. and about 2.7 kg of biochar. The pilot project will tell us if this is right or wrong."

" A common Miombo forest in Africa will give about 3 ton wood per ha a year. 3 ton of dry wood will give 800 kg of charcoal. A household of 5 consume 2-3 kg charcoal a day or about 800 kg a year. To produce 3 kg of charcoal you need 10-12 kg of dry fire wood in a common kiln. That will give one day cooking on a charcoal stove, and almost no biochar. 10-12kg dry chopped wood will give 3 days of cooking on a TLUD-ND or another FES and 2.5 kg of biochar
Energy forestry using just the sprouting every year can give up to 10 ton wood per ha a year, easy to cut to appropriate fuel for TLUD-ND’s or other types of FES. By adding some biochar to soil of bad quality 20-30 % increased yields can be obtained, which will give more food, more household energy, more jobs, better economy, better health for women and children and saving the forest. It can probably be as simple as this and is that not some of what we are looking for and need?
We know some changes have to take place on the household energy sector and we have to start somewhere. Why not start with small scale farmers on sandy soil, and from there develop the new household bio-energy strategy for developing countries. Probably also with the charcoal business, they have the whole infrastructure intact and can easy change from charcoal to alternative biomass like chopped wood or pellets from agriculture and forestry related waste. "

Hugh McLaughlin, September, 2011

I may have solved a design issue with the combustion of the wood gas in a TLUD. I call it the "Toucan Flair", which is a play on words (flair > flare) because the distinguishing feature is an axial tube providing "axial air" to the secondary combustion zone. This axial air source is coupled to the primary air source, which is controlled by a small fan pressurizing a plenum to support the two burners provided for the entire stove.

Additional "scroll air" enters in the riser above the ignition level for the wood gas, providing a concentrated region of combustion. Depending on how much wood gas is generated, as controlled by the degree of fan assist, the flames can be driven to the bottom of the pot, but the unit can also simmer as required (see photos).

This geometry basically turns the concentrator disk inside out - and make for a preheated expanding jet of wood gas, that is consumed by the excess scroll air. Axial and scroll are burner terms for air injected inside the fuel and provided on the perimeter of the fuel. The terms may well be engineering slang. However, the effect is significant, based on my comparison of the side by side configurations (Toucan Flair versus traditional concentrator disk TLUD).

Hi Stovers,

This was a great opportunity for me to break out of my two year "lurker"
role and contribute. I have quite a bit of first hand experience with goat droppings as both a TLUD fuel input and a biochar soil amendment. In late
2009 I was asked by researchers at PATH to evaluate it as a potential fuel in a possible stove project, which they were planning in northern Senegal.
Although the project did not get funded, I had very good results with this type of dung.

It, of course, has a lower density than man-made pellets. However, if you could get those goats to squeeze a bit harder (a stand in one place), it would be perfect. It burns very cleanly and smells great. I had the resulting Goat poop charcoal tested for ph, adsorption and adsorption, by Dr Hugh McLaughlin. As a soil amendment it's high ash content would give it a significant liming effect, but this was largely neutralized by rinsing.

It worked well in pot tests and I have attached Hugh's data sheets.

We have not had much of a chance to work with this in the field, not a lot of goats in Central America. However this has become a staple fuel in my High School stove building workshops. What 15 year old doesn't like to light poop on fire?

Art Donnelly

"SeaChar.Org...positive tools for carbon negative living"

Biochar Industries part of Biochar Project in Kunghur Australia is now selling Biochar TLUD cook stoves as part of our plan to make more people aware of the benefits of biochar.

TLUD is an acronym for Top Lit Up Draught meaning you lite it at the top and the air is sucked up through the fire. Fantastic device that is light to carry and will work with all woods great survival tool . The best feature of this Tlud is when the flames go out you then have biochar. All you have to do is drop the embers on the ground and spray some water on them so they don’t continue to burn.

This particular model was imported from India and has a very nice finish and somehow I ended up with some to sell so I wanted to let my readers know first before I start selling them at stores and markets.

More on TLUD stoves

Ray Menke

My wife and I made a short video showing how we make Pita Bread using a version of this stove design. Here is the link:

Tom Miles, ETHOS Conference 2011
Kirkland, Washington, USA January 28th ~ 30th, 2011

The ETHOS Stoves Conference was last weekend, and it included demonstrations by some of the stove makers and manufactures, with the opportunity to talk to the people using and inventing the stoves.

Here are some of the stand-outs from the demonstrations area, click on an image to view it in a larger size.

The Shark Stove presented by John and Flip Anderson. Notice the even cooking on the pancakes, that even heat is partially due the ceramic shark teeth construction just under the cooking surface. This is primarily a stick burning stove with both a plancha (even cooking surface) and pot rests.

Jatropha Seed TLUD (Top, lit, updraft design, using natural draft - no fan) by
Pamoja ( and Jet City Stoveworks ( ). Abely demonstrated by David Otto.

Paul Anderson dexterously burning Jatropha seeds (out of doors) in the Woodgas Stove ( ) designed by Tom Reed. This is a light weight gasifying stove (minus the pot rest in the picture) that uses a small electric fan.
Boiling water in the Charbelle, presented by Peter Scott. The Charbelle is a Charcoal cooking stove designed by the Burn Design Lab ( ) for use in Haiti.

This stove features an abrasion and thermal shock resistant ceramic liner surrounded by sheet metal cladding. The stove is currently being mass produced and sold in Kenya. The stove has been very well received, earning top marks from consumers.

Ryan with StoveTec was demonstrating the StoveTec Stove ( ) an Ashden Award winning cook stove that can either be used with stick wood or charcoal.

The institutional version of the StoveTec Stove for use in schools and other organizations, has an attached chimney and an a pressure cooker version. The pressure cooker is useful to shorten cooking times, and the fuel consumption, when cooking beans and small grains.

The Nomad PrePac ( ) Bio-fuel Camp Stove burning stick wood. This is an ultra-light stove designed to burn small amounts of fuel for camping or for emergency preparedness.

the PEMS emissions testing was happening at ETHOS (of course), Larry Winiarski is in the background in these pictures.

D. Ariho, P. Tumutegyereize and K. Bechtel, Uganda December 2010

The Project was concerned with the evaluation of the energy efficiencies of commonly available biomass
fuels in Uganda in a “Champion-2008” Top Lit Updraft (TLUD) gasifier stove. Selected biomass fuels included; Eucalyptus wood from plantations, maize cobs (agro-waste), papyrus, spear grass, noncarbonized briquettes (agro-waste and sawdust) and off-grade jatropha seeds. Moisture content
measurement of biomass fuels was determined using oven-dry method. The energy efficiencies of the
biomass fuels in the “Champion-2008” TLUD gasifier stove lied between 12 and 19%. Maize cobs had the highest energy efficiency of 18.40% and spear grass had the lowest of 12.64%. Maize cobs and papyrus were not significantly different from Eucalyptus wood. Non-carbonized briquettes and off-grade jatropha seeds had a higher operation time compared to the rest of the selected biomass fuels though faced with a problem of higher starting time but able to perform when started. The results obtained indicate that a variety of biomass fuels in Uganda can perform well in the “Champion-2008” TLUD gasifier stove, thus the need for adoption to combat deforestation problem.

See the attached report FUELS IN A TLUD GASIFIER STOVE.pdf (in pdf) for more detail.

I learned to make TLUDs from Dr. Paul Anderson when he came to do a stove & biochar demonstration for Biochar Ontario in June 2009. Since my primary interest was in producing biochar, I went home and began building a larger version of the “Champion” TLUD stove from a 55 gallon drum and a 25 gallon drum (pictured above.) I have been following this list since then and on “Dr. TLUD’s” urging, I thought should begin sharing with this community what I have been learning.

The “Large TLUD”

Essentially a "beefed up" version of the Champion TLUD Stove, my large TLUD has worked beautifully from the first trial run. The pyrolysis process is extremely clean in terms of visible emissions and can produce 25 – 30 liters (6 – 8 gallons) of biochar per run depending on feedstock. To halt the pyrolysis process to retain the biochar I have always used a watering can to quench the glowing coals. Two to four gallons of water usually does the trick.

Using this stove, I have pyrolyzed a number of different types of feedstock including: scraps of spruce lumber, pine needles, pine cones, pine bark, corn cobs, chicken litter, and hardwood sawdust pellets. The successful pyrolysis of the various feedstock has always depended on (no surprise here) having dry feedstock with pyrolysis times ranging from one to two + hours (again, depending on feedstock.)

Until recently I had been using a hardware store woodstove thermometer on the top of the stove.
I estimated pyroloysis temperatures to be in the 350-450 C range. I began using a 12vdc computer cooling fan to shorten run times and boost temperatures closer to 500 C. I recently acquired a temperature data logger and found, to my surprise, that temperature quickly shot to over 800 C with the fan. Even without the fan, temperatures in and above the pyrolysis front were between 600 and 750 C. The data from the first run with the data logger is attached. *Note:T1 is the thermocouple near the top of the inner fuel barrel just below the top of the feedstck and T2 is the thermocouple about 2 inches above the bottom of the inner fuel barrel.

My next steps are to monitor temperatures while experimenting with choking the primary air to different degrees and as I gain better control of pyrolysis temperatures, to (further) experiment with various types of feedstock. I am also working on a simple system to use the pyrolysis heat to dry feedstock.
I will post my results here.

Testing of the Anderson TLUD in Cambodia 27.04.2010
Sarah Carter and Vichida Tan, UK Biochar Research Centre

Similar tests have been carried out on the Anila and EverythingNice stoves


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