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Biochar Standards Document Archive

IBI Membership Approves Biochar Standards and Testing Guidelines.

After a two-week open ballot, the IBI Membership has approved the Standardized Product Definition and Product Testing Guidelines for Biochar That Is Used in Soil. The IBI Biochar Standards are the result of a multi-year development process that was global, transparent, and inclusive, and that involved the input and participation of hundreds of research scientists, entrepreneurs, farmers and other stakeholders in the drafting, review and approval of the document. Click here for the text of the press release.

Final Biochar Standards and Testing Guidelines Now Online. Balloting Scheduled for April 23-May 6. Webinar Schedule and Registration are Open.

IBI is leading the international biochar community in the open, transparent, and inclusive process of creating Standardized Product Definition and Product Testing Guidelines for Biochar That Is Used in Soil, also known as the IBI Biochar Standards. This is the new title for the Biochar Guidelines that were previously titled: Guidelines for Specifications of Biochars for Use in Soils. IBI has incorporated comments and suggestions received during the most recent public comment period, and produced a final document for review and balloting.

The final Biochar Standards and Testing Guidelines document is now available here.

A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is available here.

The slides from the Biochar Standards and Testing Guidelines Webinar are available here.

The IBI White Paper - Implications and Risks of Potential Dioxin Presence in Biochar, gives important background information on how the dioxin threshold level and reporting requirements of the IBI Biochar Guidelines were derived.

The next step in the process is for the IBI membership to approve or reject the Biochar Standards and Testing Guidelines in a balloting process that will run from April 23 - May 6, 2012.

In preparation for balloting, IBI is offering an informational webinar, Overview of the Biochar Guidelines Final Document to assist IBI Members in understanding the content of the Biochar Guidelines and the most recent changes to the document. The webinar is offered at two different time periods in order to accommodate participants in different time zones, and it is free and open to the general public as well as IBI Members. See the schedule and registration links below.

The IBI Biochar Standards and Testing Guidelines final document is now online and is subject to approval by IBI Members in a balloting period that runs from April 23 - May 6, 2012. To prepare for balloting, IBI is offering an informational webinar to assist IBI Members in understanding the content of the Biochar Guidelines and the most recent changes to the document. The webinar is free and open to the general public, as well as IBI Members. The webinar is offered at two different times: April 19, 2012 at 10:00a.m. EDT (which is 10 o'clock in the morning in New York City) or April 30, 2012 at 10:00p.m. EDT (which is 10 o'clock in the evening in New York City).  

Please choose only one webinar, as we have limited space available.

April 19, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. EDT (which is 10 o'clock in the morning in New York City)
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/381378350

April 30, 2012 at 10:00 p.m. EDT (which is 10 o'clock in the evening in New York City).   
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/538739422

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 recheck this). Also, make sure that your email program will accept emails from the Go To Webinar system.

IBI wishes to thank all who have given their time and attention to this important effort.

If you would like to participate in the decision ballot, you may become an IBI Member here: http://www.biochar-international.org/join

If you are not able to attend one of the webinars, you may view the webinar slides that will be posted here after the first webinar. If you have questions that are not answered by the FAQs or the webinar, please address them to standards@biochar-international.org

Background on the Biochar Standards and Testing Guidelines Development Process

February 2012 Update

Since September 2010, IBI and the international biochar community have been engaged in the process of drafting Guidelines for Specifications of Biochars for Use in Soils. While the process is nearing completion, IBI has decided to extend the current period of staff review and document revision by several weeks.

The new deadline for completing the Biochar Guidelines is yet to be determined, but we expect to begin the balloting process in either the last week of March or the first week of April. All registered IBI members will be invited to either approve or reject the Biochar Guidelines during a week-long balloting process.

The most recent comment period closed on February 10. We are extending the process timeline in order to give IBI staff and consultants more time to adequately review and incorporate the many excellent comments and suggestions received during the last comment period, and to allow for a legal review of the guidelines prior to their final posting.

The final Biochar Guidelines document will be posted online two weeks before balloting begins and IBI will conduct two webinars to explain the revisions and answer questions. These webinars have not yet been scheduled. IBI will send out an email announcement once the final schedule has been determined.

To better meet the needs of the many participants in multiple time zones, please help us to identify the hours that work best for you by completing this short Webinar Times Survey (http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/821939/Best-Time-for-Webinars).

January 2012 Update

IBI hosted three informational webinars in January that were attended by 143 participants from around the world. IBI staff and consultants reviewed the Guidelines document, explained changes in the revised Biochar Guidelines, and responded to many well-considered and constructive questions and comments from participants.

Some common themes and issues that have come up in the written comments and on the webinars include issues of costs, specific test recommendations, testing frequency, and questions about feedstock mixtures and changes.

The cost of the suite of tests is a common concern, and has been an issue of high priority for IBI throughout this process. Recognizing that this is a new industry in which many businesses are struggling for economic viability, we have tried to narrow the range of required tests to what is necessary. The Biochar Guidelines have been structured to address costs as much as possible. This is one reason for the modular approach taken in the Biochar Guidelines. By dividing feedstocks into two categories—processed and unprocessed—only those tests that are necessary to assess the risks attached to each category are required. Further, by making additional tests for advanced analysis and enhancement properties (eg, surface area, porosity and plant nutrients) completely optional, we allow flexibility for those producers and markets that may not be interested in these properties to forego those tests, while providing a common reporting format for those who do wish to market biochar based on these properties, or who require the information for research.

Also, there have been questions about why the Biochar Guidelines recommend testing for certain toxicants that may be present in biochar. There is little evidence that toxicants such as dioxin, furan, and/or polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are present at levels of concern in biochar materials. However, dioxin (polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, or PCDD), furan (polychlorinated dibenzofurans, or PCDF), and PAH are all toxicants that are not feedstock-dependent, and can be produced by thermochemical conversion processes. The Biochar Guidelines make no specifications regarding thermochemical conversion processes, and it is possible for toxicants to form during biochar production. It is important to recognize that biochar is a new industrial material, and compared to better-known materials, relatively few biochar samples have been tested for these toxicants. Since biochar is a new industry, we need to provide certainty to potential consumers and to regulators that the biochar products being utilized in commerce are safe for use as intended and do not contain harmful compounds.  The effect of including these toxicant tests in the Biochar Guidelines will be to accelerate the entry of biochar into existing markets for soil amendments, and to enable growth of the biochar industry.

Questions have also been raised about the requirement to retest after every 600 metric tonnes of feedstock through-put, or annually, whichever is more frequent. Retesting more frequently than annually, based on through-put volume, is a requirement that will affect the largest producers, yet, as noted by some, large production processes are typically the most consistent processes. Based on this feedback, and taken with the comments in their entirety, IBI will revisit this requirement.

Another concern has emerged around feedstock changes. Some producers note that they change feedstocks seasonally, for example, and may vary the mixtures of feedstocks used. Different feedstocks will produce biochar with different properties, however it is possible to lump some feedstocks together, such as all hardwoods, all softwoods, cereal straws, etc. Some feedstocks, such as municipal green waste, are complex mixtures of hardwoods, softwoods, and grass clippings. The Biochar Guidelines require that the feedstock composition be reported and a change of 10% or more in feedstock composition requires a new set of tests. However, if tests have been conducted for a feedstock or a specific feedstock mixture during a given 12-month period, additional tests will not be necessary if a producer switches back and forth between already tested feedstocks or feedstock mixtures. In this way, the Biochar Guidelines seek to balance the need for flexibility for producers and the need for consistent product quality.

The final draft document: Guidelines for Specifications of Biochars for Use in Soils has now been posted and can be downloaded here. We are asking the public to review and make comments on this revised document during a 30-day comment period that runs from January 10 until February 10, 2012. Please submit your comments in an email to: standards@biochar-international.org.

See answers to common questions on the Biochar Guidelines Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page.

You are invited to register for a free, informational webinar on the revised IBI Guidelines for Specifications of Biochars. We will review comments and suggestions received during the October 15 - November 15, 2011 public comment period, explain how we addressed these comments in the revised document, and discuss the steps that will result in a completed, published Guidelines document. We will also have time to answer your questions. You may download a copy of the Webinar presentation here.

The webinar will be offered on three different days in order to accommodate as many people as possible. Please click on the link below for the date you wish to attend to reserve your space. The link will take you to the Go To Webinar website where you can register for the webinar. The registration page will also allow you to see when the webinar occurs in your timezone.

Webinar on January 11, 3pm US-Eastern Standard Time
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/138973862

or

Webinar on January 19, 3pm US-Eastern Standard Time
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/788406350

or

Webinar on January 24, 8pm US-Eastern Standard Time
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/234591230

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
If you have any questions about registration, you may email standards@biochar-international.org.

December 2011 Update

For the past year, IBI has been leading the international biochar community in the process of drafting Guidelines for Specifications of Biochars. We are nearing the end of a very constructive process that has been transparent, open to the public, and global in scope. Biochar experts, entrepreneurs, and practitioners from around the world have engaged in this process by participating in working groups and by providing comments and suggestions throughout the process. IBI wishes to thank all who have given their time and attention to building this set of Guidelines.

As a result of input received during the most recent public comment period, we are now in the process of producing a stronger set of Guidelines. We will be asking the public to review and make comments on this revised document during a 30-day comment period beginning on January 10th, 2012. We will hold an informational webinar open to the public on January 11th, which will be repeated on January 19th. We will send out an announcement early in January with the times and registration information for the webinars.

Following the completion of the comment period on February 10th, we may make further revisions based on comments received.  The final Guidelines document will then be submitted for  a legal review. We anticipate submitting the completed document to the IBI membership for a week-long balloting period to vote on their adoption, beginning on March 5th, 2012. If approved, the Guidelines will be published on March 12th.

Click on the Biochar Guidelines Process Flowchart below to see a larger image:

IBI Guidelines Process Flow

Thanks to All Who Commented on the IBI Guidelines for Specifications of Biochars

The 4-week public review and comment period for the most recent draft version of the IBI Guidelines for the Specifications of Biochars closed on November 15. This phase of the guideline development process, which began in September, 2010, has encompassed a formal process of drafting and revising Guidelines to define and specify the material properties of biochar, and laboratory tests for these properties. The Guidelines are intended as voluntary, international guidelines that can be used by any local, national, or regional body that wishes to adopt them as the basis for any regulatory or standards regime to advance the commercialization of biochar by providing market and consumer confidence and certainty in the biochar product.

IBI received more than 50 comments and suggestions from individuals and groups of reviewers during this latest public comment period. This input is a critically important part of the process of developing the Guidelines in a manner that is global, inclusive, and transparent, and helps to ensure that they will be useful in building broad public acceptance of biochar as a well-understood material that is safe to apply to soil for agricultural purposes.

Currently, IBI and its consultant, Leading Carbon, Ltd, are compiling and categorizing the many excellent comments and suggestions that were submitted, and summarizing the technical and structural issues that must be resolved in order to produce a revised Guidelines document. We are very thankful for the thoughtful and in-depth work that reviewers have put into their comments to date, which are likely to result in significant changes to the draft Guidelines document.

Due to the nature of the comments and the proposed changes to the Guidelines, we anticipate the need for an additional public comment period before finalizing the Guidelines. This, together with the upcoming December holiday period in many countries, will effectively extend the timeline for completion of this work. We anticipate sending the compiled comments to technical working group experts this week, to help resolve some of the technical and structural issues brought up in the most recent review process, and intend to issue another draft document in January 2012, for a final round of public comment. Upon conclusion of that comment period, a final draft of the Guidelines will be issued for a final vote by IBI members on adoption of the Guidelines; this will likely occur in February 2012.

November 2011 Update: Final draft of IBI Guidelines for Specifications of Biochars Now Online

The final draft document, IBI Guidelines for Specifications of Biochars, is now available as a pdf file for download. IBI invites all interested parties to review the document and make comments during the open public comment period for the guidelines. Many people have already submitted excellent comments and important suggestions for needed changes to the draft document. Your input is critically important, helping to ensure that these Guidelines will be useful in building broad public acceptance of biochar as a well-understood material that is safe to apply to soil. Please send your comments to standards@biochar-international.org before November 15. 

For answers to questions, please visit the IBI Guidelines for Specifications of Biochars Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

At the close of the final comment period, and after all applicable changes to the guidelines are incorporated, IBI will host a balloting process to allow all paying IBI members to vote on adoption of the final guidelines. The dates and process for the balloting will be announced in the near future. Click here to join or renew your membership.

We would like to heartily thank the many people who have already submitted comments and suggestions to help improve the guidelines throughout their development, including during this current draft and comment period. Your input has helped us to consider new angles and to rethink some aspects of the guidelines and the specifications, as well as to improve the documentation of the decisions and the evolution of the guidelines during this process. The input we are receiving is a critically important part of the process of developing the guidelines in a manner that is global, inclusive, and transparent, and ensuring that they will be useful in building broad public acceptance of biochar as a well-understood material that is safe to apply to soil for agricultural purposes.

The next steps, after the comment period closes on November 15, will be to incorporate the suggestions and comments to produce a final draft document. IBI will submit the final document to IBI members in a balloting process to be undertaken during the month of December, 2011. Please make sure that you can participate in the balloting by ensuring that your IBI membership dues are up to date. If you have any questions about your membership, please contact Daniel Chapman at membership@biochar-international.org.

October 2011 Update: Registration Opens for IBI Informational Webinar on Guidelines for Specifications of Biochars: Presentation Posted Below

Click here for a copy of the Webinar Presentation

IBI is holding an informational webinar that will be repeated 4 times during the month of October for those who wish to contribute or continue contributing to IBI’s ongoing, global, transparent process of establishing guidelines for biochar specifications (formerly referred to as “standards”). The webinar is provided free of charge and all sessions are open to the public. 

This webinar will serve as an introduction to the latest version of the IBI Guidelines for Specifications of Biochars document as well as an overview of the document development process. We will introduce you to the purpose of this document, its development process, and its component parts.  We will then go into detail about the key sections of the document, how they should be interpreted and what they are intended to be used for.  We will also discuss next steps in the document development, approval and final posting process. There will be time at the end for questions.

The following four dates and times for the informational webinar were selected to allow as many people as possible across the globe to participate, and at least one of the webinars will be recorded and made available online in an archive. Please click on the date you wish to attend to reserve your space. The link will take you to the Go To Webinar website where you can fill in all of your registration information. If you have any questions about registration, you may email standards@biochar-international.org.

October 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm GMT

October 18, 2011 at 3:00 am GMT

October 27, 2011 at 3:00 am GMT

October 28, 2011 at 3:00 pm GMT

IBI would like to thank all who have participated thus far and all who will take the time to review and comment on the document in the coming weeks.

September 2011: IBI to Host Informational Webinars on Guidelines for Specifications of Biochars

IBI will hold informational webinars during the month of October for those who wish to contribute or continue contributing to IBI’s ongoing, global, transparent process of establishing guidelines for biochar specifications (formerly referred to as “standards”). The webinars are provided free of charge and are open to the public, and are intended to educate and inform the public, stakeholders, and potential reviewers prior to the final public comment period before the guidelines are finalized. The webinars will also provide an opportunity for questions and answers and to clarify the guidelines and their development and intended uses. The final open public comment period for the guidelines will open on October 15, 2011 and run until November 15, 2011. 

Next week (October 3rd week) IBI will circulate instructions for registration for the informational webinars, and the link to the final draft guideline document, which will be posted online. For further information, and to see earlier drafts of the guidelines, and follow the course of development of the guidelines, please go to http://www.biochar-international.org/characterizationstandard. IBI would like to thank all who have participated thus far and all who will take the time to review and comment on the document in the coming weeks.

At the close of the final comment period, and after all applicable changes to the guidelines are incorporated, IBI will host a balloting process to allow all paying IBI members to vote on adoption of the final guidelines. The dates and process for the balloting will be announced in the near future. Click here to join or renew your membership.

August 2011: Experts Workshop in Frankfurt

Since September 2010, IBI has been engaged in a global, transparent process for creating a Biochar Product Definition and Standard. IBI completed the first phase of this standard-setting process in July, 2011 with a workshop of biochar experts in Frankfurt, Germany. This phase of IBI’s standard setting process is built on earlier work initiated by the IBI Advisory Committee, and is modeled on the standard setting processes developed by large standard setting organizations like the International Standards Organization (ISO). IBI’s goal is to establish an IBI certification process for biochar materials to enable market development of biochar. The IBI standards and testing protocols may also be used as the basis for any governmental and third-party certification scheme. We are now beginning Phase 2 of the standard-setting process, which is targeted for completion by the end of 2011 with the publication of the standard. IBI will then begin the certification process.

The workshop in Frankfurt allowed a small group of experts to review and consolidate the draft standards document that was created by two stakeholder working groups (operating in two hemispheres to overcome time zone constraints) over a six month period in an open, public process where all interim drafts were posted for public comment and input. Keith Driver and Alison Lennie of Leading Carbon, consultants who are leading the current process for IBI, convened the experts workshop with help from Kelpie Wilson, IBI Project Development Director, on July 26-27. Workshop participants included experts from several commercial ventures:  Edward Someus, Director of 3R Agrocarbon,  Mike Sesko, CEO of Encendia Biochar, and Cordner Peacocke, Director of C.A.R.E. Ltd.; and biochar science experts Johannes Lehmann, Marta Camps, Saran Sohi, and Stephen Joseph. IBI sincerely thanks the experts who put in two full days of hard work to consolidate the standards document. 

The final draft standard document lays out a set of clearly defined, graded standards, and identifies all of the specific tests that must be used to characterize biochars. It is important to note that the scope of the standard is limited to the characterization of a biochar material and that a higher grade of biochar does not imply that a biochar is better for any given use, but only that the biochar has been better characterized through more tests. Fully and reliably characterized biochar is essential for further progress in commercializing the biochar industry. Biochar is not one clearly defined material but rather a spectrum of materials with a range of different properties. Similarly, the range of biochar applications is broad, with different material requirements for different purposes. This is good news because it means that there are a large number of potential markets for biochar materials.

In the next month IBI will begin Phase 2 of the process: first we will solicit feedback to the draft final document during a final public comment period. As part of this public comment period, Leading Carbon will undertake outreach and education and offer several webinars to explain the standards and their planned utilization. The final draft document will be open for an additional four week public comment period. Be looking for announcements and deadlines from IBI in the coming weeks as we proceed in completing this process.

After incorporating any necessary changes to respond to the public comments, the final standards document will be made available to all current, dues-paying IBI members for final approval in a balloting process. If approved, the standard will be published by IBI. IBI’s goal is to complete the process by the end of 2011, but our job will not end once the standards are published and in use in the marketplace. IBI will work closely to monitor the success and utility of the standards and will plan to review and revise the standards on a regular basis as new scientific information and commercial markets and applications evolve. Additionally, we will begin working on standards for developing country applications, and for non-commercial ventures. We welcome your input and suggestions as we continue our work to support the commercialization of sustainable biochar systems with global impact.

Biochar Characterization Standards Are Essential to the Success of the Biochar Industry

By: Debbie Reed, IBI Executive Director

The IBI Mission. The International Biochar Initiative (IBI) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the development of biochar systems that follow Cradle to Cradle sustainability guidelines. In pursuit of this IBI supports the generation, review and dissemination of credible information on all aspects of biochar; and the development of sustainability guidelines that can be used to monitor and evaluate biochar projects and systems against these guidelines. IBI’s success is built on the collective engagement, knowledge, goodwill, and spirit of the global biochar community, and progress in the field of biochar is dependent on the continued collaboration and engagement of this vibrant community. 

Why is IBI Pursuing Standards for Biochar?
IBI’s vision is to help attain the commercial viability of sustainable biochar production and utilization at all scales, to enhance the global soil resource and to help combat climate change. It has become increasing clear to me in the 5 years that I have been with IBI that, before the industry can succeed in these efforts, we must define and be able to succinctly communicate what biochar is, as well as what it is not. To do this, we must establish standards and tests to confirm that a product intended for sale or use as biochar is, indeed, biochar. This is complicated by the fact that biochar is not just one singular material with a narrow set of characteristics or uses; rather, biochar is a spectrum of materials with a range of potential characteristics and uses that are dependent on multiple factors, including feedstock selection and preparation, processing parameters (temperature, time, presence or absence of oxygen, pressure, etc), and use of any post-treatments. Click here to read the remainder of this article

Download the full article as a PDF

June 2011

We are summarizing the final conclusions of the three Working Group conference calls, and producing a revised draft of the Biochar Product Definition and Standard and thank all the working group members for their contributions and hard work. From this, we are moving in to a live discussion, combining a small sub-group of our conference call working groups with some fresh opinions from the larger biochar-producing community. This live working group will meet for two days to discuss the documentation in further detail, and decide the test methodologies and reporting expectations for all class levels of IBI Certified Biochar. The resulting document from this discussion will be provided to the IBI and the biochar community for a public commenting period before it is instituted as an IBI-run program.

We would like to publicly acknowledge the contributions of all our previous working group members:

Jim Amonette, United States
Jason Aramburu, United States
Marta Camps, New Zealand
Louis de Lange, South Africa
Mariam Ekebafe, Nigeria
Thomas Harttung, Denmark
Michael Hayes, Ireland
Stephen Joseph, Australia
Rupam Kataki, India
Johannes Lehmann, United States
Guitong Li, China
Kim Magrini, United States
Hugh McLaughlin, Canada
Franco Miglietta, Italy
René Pigeon, Canada
Joseph Pignatello, United States
Miguel Rodriguez, Brazil
Amran Salleh, Malaysia
Yoshiyuki Shinogi, Japan
Balwant Singh, Australia
Saran Sohi, United Kingdom
Rogerio Traballi, Brazil
Sunguo Wang, Canada
Lukas Van Zwieten, Australia

May 2011

IBI’s initiative to create transparent, globally-developed and accepted standards for biochar characterization, production, and utilization has completed the most recent round of working group discussions focusing on testing and assessment methods. Participants highlighted that the first full version of the standard will need to exist as a living document and be updated as biochar science continues to develop over time.

In order to adhere to national and international standard-setting organizations and processes, and to prove biochar’s efficacy as a soil amendment and agricultural product, the standard will need to meet commonly available standardized testing and assessment methods. Since no peer-reviewed, internationally-accepted standards currently exist for biochar—a function of the relative infancy, as an industry—we must work with the existing standards and tests to adapt them to the biochar industry. In the future, as published and standardized tests become available, the standards will evolve and be much more specific to biochar. Additionally, it is expected that this first set of standards will allow the biochar community to 'test drive' the standards and provide input and experience to IBI that will be invaluable to, and drive the development of further updates over time. The process will also create opportunities for and allow the maturation and availability of peer-reviewed, industry-standard, directly biochar-relevant property tests to be developed, published, and become accessible to the community.

March 2011

IBI’s effort to create globally-developed and accepted standards for biochar characterization, production and utilization has completed the most recent round of working group discussions. The working groups have received valuable feedback from the larger biochar community and they are continuing to determine appropriate test methodologies for physical biochar properties and potential toxins based off of existing soil quality and soil amendment analytical tests. The working groups are now assessing different existing classification and testing schemes for soil amendments such as compost and fertilizers to determine the most appropriate threshold reporting levels for toxicity and physical biochar properties. Standards and test methodology selection has focused on three key elements: biochar-appropriate tests, global applicability, and test accessibility. Discussions held during February and March resulted in the conclusion that Material Safety Data Sheet development will likely become an important part of biochar product labeling for safe transportation, trade and handling.

February 2011

IBI’s effort to create globally-developed and accepted standards for biochar characterization and to develop standards pertaining to biochar production and utilization is in the midst of another round of working group discussions. The feedback the community and working groups is getting has been incredibly valuable—they are working now to determine appropriate test methodologies and threshold reporting levels for physical biochar properties and toxins. In the next month, the working groups will focus on running some comparisons between different classification and testing schemes to determine whether “allowable levels” of toxins in compost and other soil amendments relate to the allowable levels of similar compounds within biochar for use as a soil amendment.

January 2011

The working groups have completed the second round of Product Definition and Standard review conference calls. The first calls were held December 9 and 15th, and this second round was held the 17 and 20th of January. The draft will now undergo its second re-writing in advance of a third planned conference call series to occur in mid- to late-February. Click here to review the second draft (please note this is a working draft).

Feedback from the calls is becoming more focused on the product standardization approach, feedstock definition, and which chemical and physical properties tests to use to identify biochar worthy of the IBI stamp of approval. The discussions have encountered some common themes such as the accessibility of tests to biochar producers of all operational sizes and world locations (cost and facilities locations), and the applicability of soil-type-specific criteria to create a globally-enforceable product standard.

December 2010

The first draft of the biochar product definition and standard has been posted and the two working groups are beginning their review of this document. Note that this is a first draft outline and does not reflect any input from working group members. Please join the process by reviewing the document and sending your comments.

November 2010

We had an overwhelming response to our request for participants in the Biochar Characterization working groups. We envisioned a single working group of 10 - 15 members, but given the over 80 submissions we received, we split the work into two groups to allow more people to participate and to accommodate issues around time zones.

As such, we have formed two equal groups that will work on the development of the standard. We will make sure that the learning in one group transfers to the other to continually improve and bring in new perspectives. At some point near the conclusion, we will bring the groups together for a final discussion.

The working groups have been organized as follows:

Working Group #1: North America/South America/Africa

  • Jim Amonette, United States
  • Jason Aramburu, United States
  • Louis de Lange, South Africa
  • Mariam Ekebafe, Nigeria
  • Jesus Garcia, Columbia
  • Johannes Lehmann, United States
  • Kim Magrini, United States
  • Hugh McLaughlin, Canada
  • Rene Pigeon, Canada
  • Joseph Pignatello, United States
  • Rogerio Traballi, Brazil
  • Sunguo Wang, Canada

Working Group #2: Asia/Europe/Australia/New Zealand

  • Marta Camps, New Zealand
  • Thomas Harttung, Denmark
  • Michael Hayes, Ireland
  • Stephen Joseph, Australia
  • Rupam Kataki, India
  • Guitong Li, China
  • Franco Miglietta, Italy
  • Amran Salleh, Malaysia
  • Yoshiyuki Shinogi, Japan
  • Balwant Singh, Australia
  • Saran Sohi, United Kingdom
  • Lukas Van Zwieten, Australia

September 2010

As we undertake this new phase of work, we want to invite all interested stakeholders to engage in the biochar standard development process.  There will be two methods of engagement.

  1. Working Group Member: A working group of approximately 10 - 15 interested stakeholders will be formed to assist directly in the development of the standard. This will involve a number of virtual working sessions over the coming months to discuss key issues and comment on drafts prepared by the consultant.  We are currently accepting nominations for members to participate in this new effort, and want to encourage each of you to participate. The application process will be open to all IBI members and the selection of members will focus on expertise in a specific field. Click here for the formExpressions of interest are due by October 6th, 2010.
  2. Open Comments: All drafts of the standard will be posted on the IBI website. These drafts will be open for comment at any time, with comments forwarded to the working group for consideration.  There will also be a formal comment period (45 days) and balloting process prior to approval. All details of the process and the opportunities for engagement are outlined in the attached presentation.

No matter the capacity, we would strongly encourage all to participate in this process. For further information on the new effort, or to submit your expression of interest for yourself or others to participate in this new phase, please contact us.