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IBI Biochar Study Tour - Austria

IBI Biochar Study Tour - Austria
June 18-21, 2018

IBI is excited to announce our second Biochar Study Tour to be held in Austria from June 18-21, 2018.  We are collaborating with Gerald Dunst, CEO of Sonnenerde and Gerhard Soja from the Austrian Institute of Technology; we have been working towards creating an educational and inspiring event.  We are hard at work on the agenda at this stage but wanted to share the overall themes and tours that will be included so that those interested could make their travel reservations early.  Space is limited, so reserve your spot now!

A preliminary agenda is provided below and will be updated as speakers and topics are confirmed.

Monday, June 18th
(Tulln, Austrian Institute of Technology - Host: Gerhard Soja)
Transportation from Vienna to Tulln provided leaving from Vienna at 10 am.  Meeting start is 11 am.

  • Biochar Industry Overview                                                                                                     K. Draper
  • Overview Austrian Biochar Activities                                                                                    G. Soja
  • Other speakers to be announced.

Transportation from Tulln to Kaindorf provided.

Tuesday, June 19th
(Kaindorf Eco-region, Host: Gerald Dunst)

  • Welcome & overview of Eco-Region                                                                                   Gerald Dunst, Sonnenerde
  • Carbon Credit System for soils & the Challenging Biochar Market  TBA
  • Creating Terra Preta
  • Pyreg Technology overview
  • Livestock farming & biochar overview                                                                                 K. Draper
  • CharLine                                                                                                                                   D. Dunst
  • Key properties in feed char                                                                                                   TBD
  • Feed Char research in Australia                                                                                          K. Dawson
  • How greenhouses maximize carbonization by-products: heat, CO2 & biochar          P. Burgess, Rainbow Bee Eater

More about Ecoregion Kaindorf
More about Rainbow Bee Eater

Wednesday, June 20th
(Tours within Kaindorf Eco-region, Host: Gerald Dunst)

  • Sonnenerde Biochar Production Plant Tour
  • Tours of home garden with 30 raised beds with Terra Preta experiments
  • Tour of biochar and slurry experiments, chicken farm with biochar feed experiments

More about Sonnenerde

Thursday, June 21st
(leave Kaindorf, bus to Stadl)

Bus ride to Stadl

  • Tour of Syncraft plant + Q&A                                                                                                  M. Huber

Technology information for SYNCRAFT® Werk SCW1200-400

The SYNCRAFT® Werk 1200 has a fuel heat output of around 1200 kW and about 324 kW electrical power.  The system is designed to cover the entire heat base load of the local district heating network.  It runs on commercial woodchips, including bark and fine particles.  This allows the plant to be operated economically and, with a fuel utilization level of 92%, it provides both heat and, above all, an above-average power output of around 30%.  The heat flows directly into Stadl's district heating network - the electricity flows into the regional grid.  The biomass HFC produced 2.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity and about 5.9 million kilowatt hours of heat per year.  In addition to the impressive energy yield, operators of the Bio-Nahwärme Stadl plant also produce activated carbon (biochar) or charcoal.  This closes the ecological cycle of CO2-neutral energy production.

More about Syncraft

Bus ride to Vienna


In an effort to expand the depth of information provided, we have extended the tour by an additional day.  We are also making this tour more all-inclusive by including accommodations, transportation and most meals.  The cost includes 3½ days of workshops, tours, lunches and dinners.  3 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast and transportation from Vienna to Kaindorf, Stadl and returning to Vienna.  Airfare is not included.

  • USD$700 for IBI Members
  • USD$800 for non-Members


Hotel reservations for the 3 nights in Kaindorf will be booked for participants upon registration.  Rooms are available as singles or doubles.  The cost of the hotel stay is covered in the registration fee but any additional room charges (e.g. mini-bar, laundry, etc.) will be covered by the participant.

To Register:

To register for the Study Tour, click here.

For more information:

For more information or if you have any questions about registration, please email Kathleen Draper at

Please note that IBI does not have funding for participants looking for financial assistance.

Want to become an IBI member?  Visit our membership page to help support IBI.

Tour Info

Ecoregion Kaindorf

While biochar is a key focus of our tour, there are other methods available for building soil carbon.  The ecoregion Kaindorf, a collaboration of 6 communities in Austria, has spent the last 11 years proving that farmers, given sufficient market incentives, can quickly rebuild soil carbon.  Increased soil carbon is not only effective in rebalancing atmospheric carbon, it also improves soil water management and can significantly reduce or eliminate soil erosion.  Participants on the 2018 biochar study tour will learn about the voluntary carbon credit system created to support farmers in building soil carbon including farmer selection, education as well as the measurement systems used to verify increased soil carbon.  The impressive results achieved will also be discussed.  Based on the success so far, the ecoregion has ambitions to spread the program throughout Austria and beyond.  This tour is one of the first opportunities for non-German speakers to learn about this unique and notable program.


In addition to learning about the soil building initiatives, participants will visit Sonnenerde, one of the most established biochar production facilities in Europe.  Sonnernerde has been in the soil amendment business for the past 20 years and started research on Terra Preta soils a decade ago.  In 2012 they constructed the 1st industrial scale biochar production plant in Europe featuring pyrolysis equipment fabricated by Pyreg.  They now produce a wide variety of different blends of soil amendments (with and without biochar!) for lawns, athletic fields, roof gardens, and more.  Participants will visit the production plant as well as a variety of test bed sites.


On the final day of the tour, we will visit a gasification plant in Stadl where the entire village is using heat and electricity produced by carbonizing wood chips.  Representatives from Syncraft will be on-site to detail how their system works.

Rainbow Bee Eater

Rainbow Bee Eater is an Australian technology company that is implementing a highly synergistic installation at a hydroponics greenhouse which will benefit from low cost heat and CO2 provided by the ECHO2 pyrolysis unit.  A local compositing company is providing the feedstock for the machine and will be utilizing the biochar in their composting operation.  Peter Burgess, the company's CEO, will provide details on this low carbon farming concept.