The Terra-preta Trailer

Roaming Old Tree brewing platform


The Terra-preta trailer is a hotplate, brewing and cooking platform designed to capture the as much of the heat as possible from the charcoal making process.

Capable of transforming any end-of-life dry wood into hot water, cooked food and Biochar - without smoke!! This is a closed loop food and drinks platform that is in service for the provision of outdoor hot and cold drinks, carbon-negative cooking and roaming brewing workshops.

Terra–preta means "Black Earth", which describes the soil created by ancient human civilizations - the Inca's & the Mayans. These civilization's used controlled fires in and around forest environments in which they lived, to get rid of all wastes – animal remains and fecal matter, combined with all wood and plant surpluses. The way in which they did this created the most fertile man-made soils on the planet.

The material they created is called 'Bio-char' today and is being pioneered by the UK company Carbon gold who make excellent horticultural products that radically improve soil for plants and trees to thrive. 

Bio-char is charcoal that makes a safe habitat for bacteria and fungi populations (out of reach from predators) to thrive. Mychorrizal Fungi and other beneficial bacteria can then collaborate with plants – providing them with minerals and other nutrients in exchange for sugars the plants feed them from photosynthesis, this process also builds soil itself. 

The idea for using the vast heat energy created by the charcoal making process was inspired by Ed Revell and his project Soil Carbon Regeneration. We had the idea for a brewery powered by the technology Ed was innovating the farming practices for - a brewery that stored carbon through its fueling process, and could create another material that could be used to make the earth better. We found funding by virtue of the Blackbird Fund and inspiration of the late Adrienne Campbell.

The story of Terra-preta is an inspiration to us as it demonstrates that humans can enrich the living word that feeds us, instead of deplete and waste it.

With the synergy of microorganisms and plants to cycle nutrients and draw down carbon, alongside this technology – we now have the power to heal the earth, AND make tea!



We are losing the equivalent of 39 football pitches in surface area of soil, every minute, globally. Industrial agriculture is using around 35% of our planets fossil-fuels to produce food that is far lower in nutrient and mineral content than food that is grown from living soils. Science is saying that we are heading for extinction this century if we do not find a way to reverse the global warming and pollution that we're causing now. This necessitates a transformation of our agri-culture from a chemical monoculture, based on mining, to a biological system that restores the Earth. Without Tree and Soil based cultures of production, we have no biological security and cannot be resilient to floods and drought. 

Trees can regulate the hydro-cycle and protect the land we need to live on from irreversible erosion. The worlds soil could store all of the post industrial carbon in our atmosphere many times over if it was fed instead of used up. We can create enough living soil to feed our population sustainably if we use the resources that are all around us more intelligently.  

If the ancient amazonian people could create 17 feet of dark topsoil with their living wastes, and this co-created the most fruitful and diverse rainforest habitats on the planet – imagine the eco-systems that could be made with ours!!

Cooking on wood gas and creating Terra-preta is one one of the answers to the problem of reducing our dependence on finite fossil-fuels to feed ourselves in the future...

The Terra-preta solution

  1.  Harnesses woody materials to meet some of our energy needs to increase fuel security

  2. Bio-char, enables soil creation by creating the best habitat for beneficial fungi and avoids chemical inputs

  3. Adds bio-char to soil to increase resilience to floods and drought

  4. Feeds Microbial populations our waste matter improves the nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (NPK) and mineral cycles to increase food flavour and nutrition

  5. A growing food culture means greater social cohesion and economic resilience

  6. Creating greener environments with water and soil creates more oxygen and a slower world with more peace of mind

We are only here because bacteria gifted this planet with a 6 inch layer of topsoil over millions of years of evolution, rain and shine... So we may as well make the most of it!!

Join our mailing list below to sign up for the Terra–Preta adventures!!

@oldtreebrewery 2017


Full story coming soon.