2014 Spring: Biochar – impact of formation conditions on its characteristics


Biomass is an attractive source in energy conversion processes as substitute for fossil fuels. The utilization of fossil fuels leads to increased CO2 emissions which are problematic in relation to the global greenhouse effect. Biomass is renewable, highly CO2 neutral and potentially sustainable depending on conditions of growth, harvesting, transport, storage and processing. One way to contribute to CO2 reduction enhancement is the making and utilization of char from biomass to store it in -and thereby improving- soils for agricultural or forestry practice improvement. Decay of carbon bound in biochar is in the longer term slower than when the original biomass is stored in the soil.


The conditions under which biochar is formed upon heating (torrefaction or carbonization processes) greatly determine the biochar characteristics, such as surface area development, leachability of mineral matter, and stability. In this project the aim is to systematically study the impact of different process variables on such characteristics, for example the process end temperature and residence time. A flexibly controlled oven and crucibles as well as a wide park of characterization techniques is available within the department to perform the research. You may choose the biomass that you consider most appropriate.


Further reading:

Laird, D.A., Brown, R.C., Amonette, J.E., and

Lehmann, J. (2009) 'Review of the pyrolysis platform for coproducing bio-oil and biochar', Biofuels, Bioprod. Bioref 3:547-562.