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2011 BEF Camp at NESFI: Gasifier Stoves, Biochar, CHAB, and More …(Massachusetts, US)

The Biomass Energy Foundation (BEF) is launching around the world in 2011 its instructional five-day events called “BEF Camps”. Each BEF Camp is a structured learning experience, where the technical foundation, practical skills and fabrication methods of constructing biomass-fueled devices are taught and put into practice with hands-on efforts by the participants.

A typical BEF Camp starts with a social gathering Sunday evening, followed by two days of structured learning, building, and burning. Typical days are divided between discussing combustion concepts, learning fabrication techniques while building small prototype devices that demonstrate the concepts, and operating the devices on both supplied and locally available fuels. Evenings are either social gatherings (including one meal prepared on the stoves) or additional time to fabricate and operate biomass-burning devices, collaborating in small groups of 2 to 5, and learning from insights and experiences of fellow participants.

The final two and a half days feature focused applications of the acquired skills to individual circumstances dictated by personal interests, unique fuels or culturally specific opportunities (determined based on participant interests for each camp). The instructors work in conjunction with small groups of “makers and testers”, with supplies available to prototype concepts and verify designs.

Following the inaugural CHAB (Combined Heat And Biochar) Camp last summer at NESFI (New England Small Farm Institute), this year’s event will broaden the topics covered to allow specialization into individual interests. The main themes of this year’s camp include:

  • Theory and Practice of Biomass Gasification: TLUDs, Retorts and Gasifiers
  • TLUD Micro Gasification: Cooking with gas from biomass
  • Running a GEK: using gasification vapors and modifications for making biochar
  • Jolly Rogers: 5 gal to 55 gal TLUDs and Retort combinations for biochar production
  • CHAB Devices: Capturing and using heat from batch and continuous TLUDs
  • Dealing with special fuels such a Jatropha seeds, rice husks, and briquettes

The scope of the individual topics will be determined by interest and skills of the attendees.

The tuition for the 2011 BEF Camp at NESFI will be $400, payable to the New England Small Farm Institute (P.O. Box 937, Belchertown, MA 01007), a land-based non-profit organization. Documentation will be provided concerning the extent the tuition is tax deductible.

For further information concerning payments and local lodging options, please contact Warren Hubley at or 413-323-4531. Reservations and pre-payments of tuition are appreciated and assist efficient execution of the BEF Camp. For those who desire, tent camping (no hook ups are available, but showers, toilets and kitchen facilities will be) is available at the NESFI site for attendees during the 2011 BEF Camp.

For further information about the camp activities, please contact Hugh McLaughlin at or 978-448-6414.

Event Date: 
Sun, 08/07/2011 (All day) - Fri, 08/12/2011 (All day)