In 2018 Brian Marcy and Clare Carver of Big Table Farm winery in Gaston cleared 13 acres of a hillside for a new vineyard. The only problem was how to dispose of the dozens of piles of fir trees, Scotch broom and brush without fouling the air.

Adding an accelerant and lighting the piles on fire is the preferred disposal method in the Willamette Valley. Marcy and Carver, however, wanted a solution that did not send carbon dioxide and fine particulate matter spiraling into the atmosphere. The couple’s steadfast motto is “waste not, want not,” so the solution also needed to leave them with something more useful than piles of smoldering ash.

A year of research led Marcy and Carver to the Carbonator-500, an 83,000-pound portable air curtain carbonizer made in Chester, New Hampshire, by Ragnar Original Innovation. The Carbonator-500 is a $600,000 super-sized kiln on wheels that incinerates wood and debris piles without significantly polluting the atmosphere. It also turns those piles into a useful soil amendment known as biochar, a charcoal-like substance comprising mostly carbon and ash…

Continue Reading