For a sustainable biochar industry to succeed, it must provide certainty to consumers and markets about biochar and its safe use as a soil amendment. The Standardized Product Definition and Product Testing Guidelines for Biochar That Is Used in Soil (hereinafter referred to as the IBI Biochar Standards) provides the tools needed to universally and consistently define what biochar is, and to confirm that a product intended for sale or use as biochar possesses the necessary characteristics for safe use. The IBI Biochar Standards also provide common reporting requirements for biochar that will aid researchers in their ongoing efforts to link specific functions of biochar to its beneficial soil and crop impacts.
The IBI Biochar Standards are the result of an ongoing multi-year development process that is global, transparent, and inclusive, and that involves the input and participation of hundreds of research scientists, entrepreneurs, farmers and other stakeholders in the drafting, review and approval of the document. The IBI Biochar Standards can be accessed in the Downloads section to the right, and may be freely distributed and used for non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons copyright license that is included in the document for reference.
IBI continues to make progress towards completing a policy revision of the IBI Biochar Standards. We have compiled, categorized, and begun to respond to the nearly 80 responses collected during the public comment period at the end of last year. Because of considerable interest generated during the comment period, IBI is offering two interactive webinars to assist stakeholders in understanding the proposed policy revisions to the document, and to get further feedback from the public. The webinars are offered on two separate topics at two different time periods in order to accommodate participants across the globe. The webinars are free and open to the general public as well as IBI Members. See the schedule and registration links below.
If you are not able to attend one of the webinars, you may view the webinar slides that will be posted on the IBI Biochar Standards webpage after the first webinar concludes. If you have questions that are not answered by the webinar, please address them to email@example.com. As a reminder, the process that IBI is following for making policy revisions is outlined in Section 7.1 of the current Version 1.1 of the IBI Biochar Standards, available for download on our website here. The proposed revisions are available for review here.
The webinar schedule with registration links is below. (To find the correct time and date in your area, we recommend that you use a time converter such as the one found at http://www.timeanddate.com)
IBI Biochar Standards V2.0 Webinar Schedule
Webinar #1: IBI Biochar Standards V2.0 Proposed Policy Revisions - Weathering, Post-Processing & Sampling
Webinar #2: IBI Biochar Standards V2.0 Proposed Policy Revisions - Biomass Flyash
Once you are registered for the webinar, the Go To Webinar system will send you a reminder email with the time given in your time zone (which is based on where your computer was located when you registered, so if you have traveled, you may need to re-check this). Also, make sure that your email program will accept emails from the Go To Webinar system.
IBI welcomes feedback on proposed policy revisions to the Standardized Product Definition and Product Testing Guidelines for Biochar That Is Used in Soil (aka the IBI Biochar Standards)—a document intended to establish a common definition for biochar, testing and measurement methods for selected physicochemical properties of biochar, and labeling standards for biochar materials. All stakeholders and interested parties may review proposed changes and submit comments in this easily accessible online survey. The public comment period is open for 30 days and will end on January 8, 2014.
The IBI Biochar Standards were developed by IBI in collaboration with a wide variety of industry and academic experts and through a documented, transparent process that included global public input. Version 1.0 was published in May 2012, and a technical program revision (Version 1.1) was published in April 2013.
The current proposed revisions are based on input received from a panel of expert reviewers in relevant fields of biochar, and include substantive policy and technical revisions that address policies, rules, and scope. The proposed revisions cover four policy issues which are described in detail in this online survey. Alternately, you may view the proposed policy revisions as a PDF here. If you have any questions or would like to send comments under separate cover please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also email us any supporting materials that you feel are relevant to any of the proposed policy changes.
After the public comment period, the comments will be reviewed and incorporated as appropriate, and final revisions will be published as Version 2.0 of the IBI Biochar Standards. IBI thanks our members, stakeholders, and the biochar community in advance for your contributions to these important efforts to support the growing biochar industry.
On September 30, 2013 IBI published a technical note describing a technical program revision to the Standardized Product Definition and Product Testing Guidelines for Biochar That Is Used in Soil (aka IBI Biochar Standards) version 1.1. The revision allows for additional test methods to analyze the polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contents of biochars as required in Test Category B – Toxicant Assessment. A full explanation and rationale is given in the technical note describing the revision. This revision is effective immediately and all users of the IBI Biochar Standards are now able to choose the appropriate test method for PCBs and PAHs in their biochar samples.
On May 29, 2013, IBI officially launched the IBI Biochar Certification Program, developed to further grow the biochar industry. With this program biochar manufacturers are able to certify that their product meets quality standards and is safe for application to soils. Once certified, biochars can carry the “IBI Certified Biochar” seal on their product label. The IBI Biochar Standards serve as the foundation for the IBI Biochar Certification Program and certification approval requires that biochar(s) pass testing requirements specified by the IBI Biochar Standards.
The IBI Biochar Certification Program is fully automated and accessible at: http://www.biochar-international.org/certification, allowing biochar manufacturers/program participants to register, apply, and submit all required documentation on-line. IBI has received some registrations since the program launched and is looking forward to announcing the first certified biochars to carry the “IBI Certified Biochar” seal in the near future.
For questions or further inquiries regarding the IBI Biochar Certification Program, please contact us at email@example.com.
IBI will make periodic revisions to the IBI Biochar Standards based on further development in the fields of biochar science and technology, regulatory changes, and feedback from the public, particularly users of the IBI Biochar Standards. Revisions occur in two forms—policy revisions and technical program revisions—and are effective the date of publication on IBI’s website.
Policy revisions occur when there is a substantive change to the policies, rules, and/or scope of the IBI Biochar Standards that may change the eligibility or acceptability of a biochar material. Technical program revisions occur when technical or editorial changes are deemed necessary. For further details, please review section 7 “Revisions to the IBI Biochar Standards” in Version 1.1.
IBI welcomes your comments and suggestions for improvements to the IBI Biochar Standards. You may send those by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
IBI began work on the IBI Biochar Standards in May 2009. The document was developed through a collaborative and inclusive process with input from the international biochar community to ensure multiple perspectives on the use and functionality of this tool. The process design also provided for a final balloting period that would allow all registered, current members of IBI to vote whether or not to adopt the IBI Biochar Standards. This open and transparent process allows for other entities to easily adopt the IBI Biochar Standards as the basis for their own regulatory or certification programs.
In May 2012 IBI’s membership approved the initial version (retroactively titled Version 1.0) of the IBI Biochar Standards by a 91% majority. In April 2013, IBI published Version 1.1 of the IBI Biochar Standards to address technical program revisions.
The complete process history record, including all draft versions leading up to Version 1.0 of the document, compiled comments received, and minutes from Working Group Meetings is available in this document archive.