IBI Biochar standards

The IBI Biochar Standards provide a document that standardizes the characteristics of biochar that is used to improve soil. They were developed by the Biochar International Initiative (IBI) in collaboration with a wide range of industry and academic experts, and through public contributions at the international level. The IBI Biochar standards were created to stimulate the further development of the biochar industry by providing standardized information on the characteristics of biochar-containing materials in order to obtain a higher quality product. In addition to providing product descriptions and quality standards specification, this document has been designed to assist biochar producers in providing consumers with consistent access to reliable information on the quality physical and chemical properties of biochar.

IBI Biochar standards are designed to support the IBI Biochar certification program. Another important purpose of this document is that the IBI Biochar standards are also intended to be used by various national and regional product standardization bodies and national and regional biochar groups for their own adaptation and use at the local level, as well as as a reference in regulatory situations.

The IBI Biochar standards have been developed to provide information and market confidence to understand the benefits of biochar for improving soil properties. Ultimately, these IBI Biochar standards are intended to be used and promoted to build consumer and regulatory confidence in biochar by providing consistent and reliable information about the properties of biochar. Biochar can be produced from a variety of raw materials using a variety of equipment.

IBI has developed IBI Biochar standards that are fairly transparent and open to public participation, review and comment. Throughout the development process, IBI has relied on the compilation, analysis and guidance of experts in the field, providing an efficient path from concept to outcome, and meeting the needs of a wide range of commercial biochar producers and end-users. As the document was developed, the public contributed to the international biochar community.

IBI continually strives to provide a broader view of the use and functionality of this tool.

This document of IBI Biochar standards, issued by the International Biochar Initiative (IBI) and based on international consultation, aims to establish a generally accepted definition for biochar, as well as standardized methods for testing and measuring selected physical and chemical properties of materials containing biochar.

Biochar is a solid material obtained from the thermochemical transformation of biomass in an oxygen-limited environment. Biochar can be used as a product or as an ingredient in a blend to improve soil, improve resource efficiency, restore and / or protect against specific environmental pollution, and as a means to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Why “Microsoft and Shopify are betting on biochar” and how it works to improve soil fertility read this article

These IBI Biochar standards provide a standardized definition of biochar characteristics associated with the use of biochar to improve soil performance. They serve as the basis for the IBI Biochar certification program and are designed to be used and adapted to the local conditions and regulations of any country or region. These IBI Biochar standards are intended to educate the public on the benefits of using biochar to improve soil composition and restore soil cover from not always favorable agricultural practices.

The materials used as raw materials for biochar production have a direct impact on the nature and quality of the biochar produced. Although the focus of this document is on the biochar material, some restrictions have been applied to the content and quality of the raw materials. To qualify as a biochar feedstock according to these standards, the feedstock can be a combination of biomass and constituents, but cannot contain more than 2% dry matter contaminants. Any substance that is 10% or more of the dry weight of the feedstock should be listed as a component of the feedstock.

Raw materials that may have been grown in contaminated soils are considered processed raw materials and must meet the test frequency requirements to assess the toxicity of the processed raw materials.

Municipal solid waste (MSW) containing hazardous materials or waste cannot be included as an acceptable raw material in accordance with these standards. It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that biochar starting materials do not contain hazardous materials.

IBI Biochar standards are not prescribed.

These include parameters for the production and handling of biochar, but include Recommended Management Best Practices (BMP) for safe production and handling.

The biochar manufacturer is responsible for producing biochar in a safe manner. IBI recommends adhering to applicable industry standards during manufacturing and handling.

Biochar production must comply with local and international regulations and agreements that govern thermal processes, fugitive emissions and particulate matter emissions, and the transport of goods:

  • The biochar manufacturer must provide an appropriate Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the end result of the biochar production process.
  • Biochar should be tested for the possibility of self-heating and ignition during storage and transport.
  • To minimize the effects of weathering, which can significantly alter the properties of a biochar material after testing, biochar should be stored indoors in a protected location. When stored outdoors, biochar should be covered with tarps or other material to protect it from precipitation.


Biochar Material Testing Categories and Specifications

Biochar must be assessed against a defined set of test categories designed to provide data on physical and chemical properties and to understand the quality characteristics of coal.

Two sets of required test categories for measuring the main characteristics of biochar affecting soil function are complemented by a separate test category for advanced analysis and improvement of soil properties. Toxicity testing is required for any kind of biochar. The category structure is intended for:

  • provide a unified presentation format with which a biochar user can objectively compare and evaluate the claimed properties of different biochar materials;
  • provide a set of required tests for the basic biochar utility and an additional set of additional tests to measure advanced analysis and soil enhancement properties; as well as
  • require reporting of toxic substances consistent with the potential risks associated with both untreated and processed raw materials. Retesting is necessary to ensure the quality of the processed raw material if it is suspected that it carries a higher potential risk of contamination.

Each test category was designed according to an assessment of the relevant parameters for the properties and safety of biochar, balanced in terms of cost and availability.

These IBI Biochar standards define three test categories for biochar materials:

Test category A – Main beneficial properties: required for all types of biochar. This suite of tests measures the most basic properties needed to evaluate the usefulness of a biochar material for use in soil.

Test Category B – Toxicity Assessment: Required for all biochar. Biochar made from recycled raw materials needs to be checked more often than biochar made from raw materials.

Test Category C – Advanced analysis designed to improve soil properties: optional for all biochar types. Biochar can be tested for advanced analysis and enhancement properties in addition to the requirements for Category A and B tests. All Category C tests are optional. Manufacturers may not report one, some, or all properties.

Testing time and frequency

Testing of biochar materials should occur after completion of thermochemical treatment and before application to the soil. Biochar testing and reporting of all Category A, B, and C tests in accordance with IBI Biochar standards must be performed:

– annually

– after a significant change of raw materials; or,

– after a significant change in the thermochemical parameters of production; or

– depending on what is more common.

Changes in components in raw materials and parameters of thermochemical production

Significant changes in the composition of raw materials can lead to the production of significantly different products from biochar. For this reason, a 10% change in total feedstock must represent a significant feedstock change in accordance with IBI Biochar standards.

Significant changes in thermochemical production parameters reflect an increase or decrease in process temperature or process time. A significant change in the thermochemical parameters of production occurred if the process temperature (also known as the heat treatment temperature) changed by +/- 50 ° C, or if the thermochemical treatment time (residence time) changed by more than 10%.

This article summarizes the main points of the IBI Biochar Standards document, for more information you can read this link >>>