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Publicly Available Published by De Gruyter August 6, 2018

Glossary of terms used in biochar research

From the journal Chemistry International

Biochar is a solid material obtained from the carbonization thermochemical conversion of biomass in an oxygen-limited environments. In more technical terms, biochar is produced by thermal decomposition of organic material (biomass such as wood, manure, leaves, husks) under limited supply of oxygen (O2), and commonly at temperatures below 700°C. When applied to soil, some biochars have been found to decrease nutrient leaching, enhance pH, improve soil carbon concentrations and soil fertility. Additionally, biochars encourage moisture retention and aeration and have been shown to contribute towards reduced methane and other greenhouse gases emissions.

Biochar research is highly interdisciplinary; it is based on the use of analytical techniques (material characterization), and examination of its soil, water and biological chemistry (applications). Two of the main challenges towards wider, large-scale use of biochars are standardization and regulation. Each biochar batch can be different from other batches; even two made, one after the other may vary if the process conditions and/or feedstock properties differ. Developing national or international regulations for the production, characterization and applications of biochar is hindered by the lack of standardization both in terms of procedures as well as terminology. For example, the use of terms such as “pyrochar,” “char,” “black carbon,” “biochar,” and “agrichar” are often used in literature to mean the same product and this may be confusing.

This project will deliver a comprehensive glossary of terms used in biochar research. It will consist of 3 sections: Production, Characterization, and Application. A comprehensive literature review for the most important papers (based on citations) in each of these 3 categories will allow the task group to form the first draft of the Glossary, which will then be sent out to relevant parties and stakeholders for consultation.

For more information, contact the Task Group Chair Dimitrios Kalderis <>

Published Online: 2018-08-06
Published in Print: 2018-07-01

©2018 IUPAC & De Gruyter. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. For more information, please visit:

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