Currently, the introduction of biochar into rural Nepal seems to be a big hit among households and businesses alike; however, it seems as if this process can be improved. The process of creating the refined biochar seems to go through many different production steps, each with different overseers. The main problem area that our community partner has asked us to improve is the pyrolysis part of the overall construction of the biochar. Silica aerogel can be introduced into the kiln to serve as an insulator. Having an insulator inside the kiln will reduce the input energy content to burn the plants. In tangent with this, by keeping more heat inside the kiln the plants will be burned faster leading farmers to be able to produce more of the unrefined biochar. With less heat being created, it will also allow the farmers to produce biochar even in the very hot summers as we were told it was a deterrent for the farmers as the summer’s in Nepal are already very hot. We can purchase the silica aerogel as it is cheap and could work with a possible kiln on a smaller scale to test the differences with the application of this aerogel.
Varun Rajput, Freshman, Electrical Engineering
Sean Innes, Freshman, Chemical Engineering