UK Biochar Research Centre
Charchive Standard Biochars
Production page photo
Key Staff Member:
Dr. Ondřej Mašek

Biochar production research projects in UKBRC aim to develop understanding of how the production process affects the overall effectiveness of Pyrolysis Biochar Systems (PBS). Focussing initially on slow pyrolysis for biochar production, particular emphasis will be placed on understanding how process conditions affect carbon stability for biochar in soils and the economics of PBS. This will develop through a number of phases.  

Establishing first an empirical knowledge of how pyrolysis process conditions affect biochar properties and their expression in use, for instance as a soil amendment, this will be extended to an understanding of the cause-effect relationships – the underlying reasons for particular properties in terms of biochar composition, surface chemistry, structure or physical form. In parallel the effect of process conditions on the product yield distribution (solid char, liquid and gas) and quality (in terms of energy content) will be studied in order to understand the trade-offs between control of biochar properties, economics and potential climate change effects.

With this understanding the scope and methods for control of key biochar properties will be established – delivering ‘bespoke biochar’. This capability will be developed through increasing scales with the aim of establishing scale-up rules for production of bespoke biochar by slow pyrolysis. Laboratory-scale pyrolysis techniques are established and a continuous bench-scale unit is being developed. A pilot-scale pyrolysis unit will be commissioned early in 2011. (More detials are given in 'research areas'.)  Alternative processes for biochar production including microwave pyrolysis, fast pyrolysis, gasification and hydrothermal carbonisation will also be evaluated.

 

Relevant Research Areas: