Characterizing Biochars prior to Addition to Soils

Erin Rasmussen

Hugh McLaughlin, PhD, PE, Alterna Biocarbon Inc. , January 2010

Biochar is a vague term that applies to a potentially broad class of charcoal materials intended for addition to soils. Many raw materials and conversion processes can lay claim to producing biochar, and the resulting biochars will have different characteristics. The purpose of this discussion is to formulate a simple scheme for characterizing biochars before addition to soils. Efforts will be made to discuss the logic behind the individual characteristics, in addition to the limitations of the individual assays.

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