Author Archives: Egidius Kuhlmann

About Egidius Kuhlmann

Reading about peak-oil, overpopulation, “Terra Preta” and biochar in 2009 and after making batches biochar for soil improvement from garden residue, I thought, why not make biochar from corpses. Deeply worried about the unsustainable path 'we' as humanity have taken, I see a future where fossil fuels are scarce, the western economic growth model in tatters, the global temperature rises due to the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere with an growing population reaching billions more humans than is sustainable? Thinking along those paths, the question “how can we dispose so efficiently and with the least amount of energy of human remains” became the starting point.

High temp, low pressure valve

It surprising difficult to find valves that are capable of handling low pressures by high temperatures. In order to pyrolyse material we have to prevent air to enter the pyrolysiscell. The pyrolysiscell has to be airtight but during the pyrolysis process volatile gases are formed, hydrogen and carbon based gasses like evaporating fat. In the first phase when we plan to dehydrate the corpse we must remove the water-vapor and bring fresh air in the cell. During the pyrolysis phase the produced gases are led to an afterburner that burns the hydrogen to water and volatile carbon gasses to CO2. All in all we need three valves that operate temperatures up to 500C and under 2 Bar of pressure.

A central heating valve demolished, a steel ball from a ball bearing as flow director and another problem is solved.
oneway valve heat resitant
steel ball flow control

Posted in demonstration furnace, pyrolysis test, Test Oven | Comments Off on High temp, low pressure valve

Watt meter

How to measure reliable the amount of electricity that’s being used by the demonstration pyrolysis cell? With a couple of KW infra-red heaters not so simple especially when you want to integrate the measurements in the computerlog of the test. To test the concept I took an old transformer, replaced the old secondary winding by two windings of the 230 volt wire. Curious if I get a good potential difference on the old primary winding. The primary winding is been shorted with a 20 Ohm resistor. And the voltage over the resistor can be converted in a digital value and fed into the control computer.

Old trafo
Current trafo
Current trafo


principle of operation Source wikimedia


Care must be taken that the secondary of a current transformer is not disconnected from its load while current is flowing in the primary, as the transformer secondary will attempt to continue driving current across the effectively infinite impedance up to its core saturation voltage. This may produce a high voltage across the open secondary into the range of several kilovolts, causing arcing, compromising operator and equipment safety, or permanently affect the accuracy of the transformer. source wikipedia

The practice is more complicated due to the load so the real RMS need to be calculated. A acs712 chip connected to an Arduino measures every cycle during one second the actual wattage that is being consumed.

asc712 module
asc712 module
All the pieces of the control software are slowly taking shape
All the pieces of the control software are slowly taking shape
Posted in demonstration furnace, pyrolysis test, Test Oven | Comments Off on Watt meter

Triac Block

TRIAC BLOCK a solid-state relay with I2C interface.

Looking for parts for our demonstration pyrolysis furnace I came across this design. Capable to regulate the 1Kw Elstein infrared heater without much effort. Controllable trough the I2C bus it connects simple to the computer that controls the furnace. Trough the link I contacted the designer and he did have spare assembled PCB’s, a deal was made and a problem solved.

From time to time I get requests to make some high power switching, so I decided to design a solid-state relay that could handle a lot of different situations. The most common use for it I have is refurbishing old ceramic kilns. Since our technical life is close to the stage (both theatre and music), I also wanted it to be usable as a dimmer module. And, just for kicks, as a single phase AC motor speed controller, in case we would want that.
So here it goes. The design and code are on github:
Elstein ceramic heater
1KW Elstein infrared heater, four of them will provide the energy that is needed for the pyrolysis process.
Posted in demonstration furnace, pyrolysis test, Test Oven | Comments Off on Triac Block

Poorest people cannot afford costs of dying.

The poorest people in society cannot afford to pay the costs of funerals, a survey has revealed. Researchers said the average cost of dying – including funeral, burial or cremation and state administration – stands at £7,622, having risen by 7.1% in the past year.

They estimate that more than 100,000 people will struggle to pay for a funeral this year. The authors of the study at the University of Bath’s Institute for Policy Research have called on the government to review the system of state support for funeral costs.

In spite of the lowest recorded mortality rates for England and Wales, the cost of dying has increased over recent years. The average cost of a funeral rose by 80% between 2004 and 2013 and is expected to continue to increase.

source the Guardian

Posted in Burial, Burial stress, Cremation | Comments Off on Poorest people cannot afford costs of dying.

The Graying of America: Youngest Boomers Turn 50 This Year

The visual, the Corpse Mountain in development the current capacity is tailored to old people that are dying from old age. The whole graying generation is not taken into account. In the future when energy is getting expensive and scarce cremation maybe have some drawbacks and an alternative like Pyrolysium working with renewable energy source may have an advantage!

baby boom

source WSJ

Posted in common | Comments Off on The Graying of America: Youngest Boomers Turn 50 This Year