Updated August 2014 – Phase 1
- IBI Biochar Certification Process Flow
- Registration and Application Process
- Application Requirements
- Geographic Restriction
- Required Documentation
- Recommended Documentation and Handling Practices
- Online Registration Form
- Online Application Form
Biochar manufacturers must apply for IBI biochar certification using our online application system.
All biochar manufacturers that are seeking certification for thier biochar(s) must submit 1) a registration form and then 2) an application form.
- Registration: The registration form requests contact and basic biochar identification information. Upon submission of the registration form, all applicants will receive an email receipt together with a product registration number for the product to be certified. This number will be used to track the biochar material through the entire certification process. After registration, applicants will have 60 days to submit their formal completed application for IBI biochar certification.(Note that in order to register, applicants are not required to be IBI members but are required to develop a profile in IBI’s online system. All active IBI dues-paying members and contacts who receive IBI’s monthly newsletter have an IBI profile. For applicants who do not have an existing profile in IBI’s system, the registration form will create a profile).
- Application: The application form requests detailed information about the biochar and also requires the applicant to upload required documentation. All biochar manufacturers/applicants will receive an email receipt of their online application submission.
During the registration and application review process, IBI will maintain the confidentiality of all materials submitted by biochar producers to IBI and will not disclose the name of any biochar/biochar producer that is under review. Upon approval of an application, IBI will share the name of the IBI CertifiedTM biochar and provide links to the website of the biochar producer on the IBI website. When contacted by interested parties with requests for further information about an IBI CertifiedTM biochar, IBI will first refer such inquiries to the biochar producer for a response. If the biochar producer does not respond to the request to provide the information within a time period that IBI considers, in its sole discretion, to be commercially reasonable, IBI will disclose all requested information, except that provided on the Non-Public IBI Feedstock Chain of Custody Form (see Required Documentation below) copying the biochar producer to any such disclosure.
There is no fee for biochar registration, but this is a required step for applicants.
The fee for submitting an application for IBI biochar certification is US$500 per biochar.
The following are requirements to submit a full application for IBI biochar certification.
- Only the biochar manufacturer may submit an application. For the purposes of the IBI Biochar Certification Program, biochar manufacturers are defined as the party or parties who thermochemically convert(s) feedstock material into biochar.
- Payment of the certification application fee at the time of submission of the application form.
- Completion of the online Application Form for IBI Biochar Certification.
- Provision of the following required documents:
- IBI Feedstock Chain of Custody Form
- Test results for required tests in the IBI Biochar Standards. Test results must be signed by each independent laboratory(ies) used for testing.
- Quality Assurance/Quality Control form(s) from independent laboratory(ies) used for testing.
Phase 1 of the IBI Biochar Certification Program is focused only on implementation in the United States and Canada. Until further notice, IBI will only accept applications from biochar manufacturers in the United States and Canada. IBI intends to expand the IBI Biochar Certification Program scope internationally in the future as resources permit.
IBI Feedstock Chain of Custody Form
Chain of custody and biochar traceability provide necessary assurances that adequate care and transparency has been exercised to enable trace-back of biochar from feedstock providers to biochar manufacturers through to end-users.
For certification approval, the IBI Feedstock Chain of Custody Form–an MS Excel file–must be downloaded and completed. The form accounts for all entities in the biochar production chain in order to be certified. Specifically, biochar manufacturers/applicants must list and provide contact information and signatures for all entities that handle the biochar throughout production (from feedstock provider through the thermochemical conversion).
Required Laboratory Tests
Biochar manufacturers/applicants are required to have their biochar tested by an independent laboratory according to the IBI Biochar Standards. For application approval by IBI, required tests must have been completed within 60 days of submission of a completed application. A summary of the test categories follows:
- Test Category A – Basic Utility Properties: Required for all biochars. This set of tests measures the most basic properties required to assess the utility of a biochar material for use in soil.
- Test Category B – Toxicant Reporting: Required for all biochars. Includes threshold requirements for potential toxicants including heavy metals, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, and dioxins/furans. Biochars made from processed feedstocks must be tested more frequently than biochars made from unprocessed feedstocks.
- Test Category C – Advanced Analysis and Soil Enhancement Properties: Optional for all biochars. Biochar may be optionally tested for advanced analysis and enhancement properties in addition to meeting test requirements for Test Categories A and B. Biochar manufacturers may report on none, one, some, or all of the properties in Test Category C.
Quality Assurance/Quality Control form
Biochar manufacturers must request a Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) form from each laboratory used to test their product as part of the IBI Biochar Certification Program. Laboratories are free to use proprietary or self-generated QA/QC forms.
IBI does not prescribe production and handling expectations for biochar, but does recommend that current best industry practices be followed throughout the manufacturing and handling process. It is the responsibility of the biochar manufacturer to create biochar in a safe manner.
Local requirements and regulations for the operation of biochar production facilities must be followed. Where applicable, biochar production must comply with local and international regulatory requirements and treaties that govern thermal processes, the production of volatile and particulate emissions, and the transport of goods. Relevant to local and international regulatory compliance, biochar manufacturers should follow the two recommendations listed below:
- While not required, it is recommended that biochar manufacturers/applicants provide a relevant Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the biochar(s) to be certified. Brief outlines of MSDS document creation are available from numerous online sources, including MSDS Search, the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, and the US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
- Biochar should be tested to address the potential for self-heating and flammability during storage and transportation. Documentation of the results of this testing should be appended to the MSDS.
IBI may not require these practices as part of its definition and certification of biochar since they do not relate directly to biochar quality, but they are important considerations in good business practice and responsible biochar production, transport and commerce. Most countries provide detailed guidelines, expectations and regulations governing the manufacturing sector and will have relevant information available to industrial operators.