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IBI Board and Advisory Committee

In June 2008, members of the IBI established roles for the organization--including staff and board duties. Our board currently has nine members. Please see below for more information.

IBI also has a dedicated Advisory Committee consisting of 28 members with 5 sub-committees that focus on Policy, Biochar Production/Technology/Classification, Utilization in Soils, Commercialization, and Socio-Economic Evaluation. The members collectively speak seventeen languages and hail from twelve different countries including Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Kenya, Mongolia, Paraguay, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They represent a wide range of institutions and organizations including the academia/research community, small businesses, large corporations, non-profit organizations, and on-the-ground practitioners/farmers.

Current IBI Board Members include those listed below (click on a name for more information). We thank our former board members for all their support and hard work.

Robert Brown is the Anson Marston Distinguished Professor of Engineering and Gary and Donna Hoover Chair in Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University (ISU). He is the founding director of ISU’s Bioeconomy Institute. He has been recognized by Biofuels Digest as one of the “Top 100 People” in bioenergy for four consecutive years since 2010.


Annette Cowie has a background in soil science and plant nutrition, with particular interest in sustainable resource management. She is Principal Research Scientist - Climate in NSW Department of Primary Industries. Annette is Task Leader of the International Energy Agency Bioenergy research group Climate Change Effects of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems, and Land Degradation advisor on the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility. Her current research focuses on sustainability assessment and greenhouse gas accounting in agriculture and forestry; investigating key aspects of soil carbon dynamics and biochar processes; and life cycle assessment of forestry, bioenergy and biochar systems.


Kathleen Draper is the US Director for the Ithaka Institute for Carbon Intelligence, a non-profit, open source organization focused on the use of biochar in climate farming, agroforestry as well as other industrial uses of biochar. She is one of the founders and editors of the Biochar Journal and frequently writes about a wide variety of biochar research topics. She has a Master’s degree in Managing for Sustainability. Prior to becoming involved with the biochar world, she worked for an international consulting firm working on various internal and external areas including project and knowledge management, human resources, and more.


Johannes Lehmann, professor of soil biogeochemistry and soil fertility management at Cornell University, received his graduate degrees in Soil Science at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. Prior to his appointment at Cornell, he coordinated a research project on nutrient and carbon management in the central Amazon where he started work on Terra Preta soils. During the past 10 years, he has focused on nano-scale investigations of soil organic matter, the biogeochemistry of black carbon and the development of biochar and bioenergy systems. Dr. Lehmann is co-founder of the International Biochar Initiative, and member of the editorial boards of Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems and Plant and Soil.


Tom Miles is interested in the thermal conversion of biomass for beneficial use. He has expertise in the transformation of ash in wood, straws, stalks, and manures. T. R. Miles, Technical Consultants, Inc., Portland, Oregon, sponsors and hosts internet discussions on biomass energy and biochar. He is on the board of the US Biochar Initiative and a coordinator of the Pacific Northwest Biochar Working Group. He designs systems for biomass processing and handling including densification, carbonization, gasification, power generation, and residue and nutrient management including biochar and composting.


Genxing Pan is a Science Leader in the study of agriculture and climate change at Nanjing Agricultural University, China. His primary specialty is applied biogeochemistry of carbon cycling and carbon sequestration and dynamics in agro-ecosystems focusing on rice paddies of China, of which the most recent focus includes long-term monitoring of soil organic matter accumulation in agro-ecosystems. He leads an interdisciplinary group working on greenhouse gases emissions from croplands and mitigation countermeasures as well as on mitigation of climate change impacts on agriculture. Additionally, his group leads the research and technology development for biochar and specific agricultural applications. 


Guy Reinaud has been President of Pro-Natura International since 1992 working in agricultural development and biochar. He graduated from Ecole Centrale of Paris and has been Managing Director of Centi Software from 1966 to 1973. He then joined ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries) and from 1973-83 he was President of ICI Sopra, from 83-84 President of ICI Belgium, from 84-86 President of ICI Francolor, from 86-92 International Business Board Member ICI Agricultural Products and was the Chemical Industry representative at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. He has been the lead promoter of Conservation Agriculture for many years and the founder of Eco-Carbone and Green Charcoal International. Mr. Reinaud is also on the Board of several Institutions like IUCN France and a member of the Scientific Council of ICROA – (International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance).


Saran Sohi leads soil science research at the UK Biochar Research Centre (UKBRC), in the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh. The purpose of his work is to deliver UKBRC a sound mechanistic understanding of biochar function in soil, and gain from this the predictive capacity required to 'prescribe' biochar in ways that firstly are safe, and secondly offer the best possible results in terms of soil and crop performance at previously untested locations. Previous to joining the UKBRC, Dr. Sohi did eight years post-doctoral work at Rothamsted Research, the research institute based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. As part of that work, Dr. Sohi spent 2005 working at Cornell with Johannes Lehmann in 2005 on biochar soil science.


David Wayne was born in the UK, obtained his school education and bachelor's degree (in chemistry) in Johannesburg, South Africa, continuing studies in Chemical Physics at Queen's University Ontario and Cambridge, England.  After short spells of postdoctoral research in Southampton, the Smithsonian Institution in Massachusetts and the Herzberg Institute in Ottawa, he joined Shell Research, working on various topics including flame radiation, transport properties in liquids, lubrication and finally, biochar.


Former IBI Board Members Include:

  • Ellen Baum
  • Marta Camps
  • Thomas Harttung
  • Andreas Hornung
  • Stephen Joseph
  • John Lewis
  • Beata Madari
  • Warwick Manfrinato
  • Sununtar Setboonsarng
  • Yoshiyuki Shinogi