Monthly Archives: July 2013

British Biochar 2013 Conference Agenda.


Sustainable Use and Production of Biochar in the UK.
Thursday, 20th June, 2013

Morning Chairperson: Dr Cécile Girardin

9:00 – 9.25 – Reception

9.25 – 9.35 – Introduction to the British Biochar Foundation: Dr. Simon Shackley (UK BRC / BBF). What, why and how could the foundation work?

9.35 – 10.05 –  Agency Position Statements: Matthew Davis (Environment Agency), Fiona Donaldson (Scotish Environmental Protection Agency) and Mark Collinson (WRAP).

10.05 – 10.35 – Launch of the Biochar Quality Mandate public consultation (BQM) Darren Hopkins (BBF) and Simon Shackley. Introduction and facilitation of discussion .The emerging regulatory frameworks and how can the Government help?

10.35 – 10.55 -Break

10.55- 11.55 – Key note address: A European Vision for Biochar.. Hans-Peter Schmidt (Delinat- Institut / EBC)(to include a 20 minute Q&A session)

11.55 – 12.25 – Key note address: R&D Asia and Australia with Farmers on developing NPK fertilisers and synthetic Terra Preta.  Dr. Stephen Joseph (to include a 10 Q&A session)

12.25 – 13.25 – Lunch

Afternoon Chairperson: Darren Hopkins

13.25 – 13.55 – Soil Fertility Project – India, Australia, Africa and Wales : David Friese-Greene (Soil Fertility Project) David Friese-Greene, James Joyce (Blackisgreen.), Sean Brackenbury (Commons Vision)

13.55 – 14.15 – The Big Biochar Experiment: Dr. Cécile Girardin & Dr. Russell Layberry (ECI / Oxford Biochar / BBE).

14.15 – 14.35 – UK and Global Biochar Science and Research: Dr. Saran Sohi (UK BRC) Overview of the latest findings from the UK biochar research community and from around the globe.

14.35 – 15.05 – UK and Global Biochar Production Technology Cordner Peacocke (CARE) Overview of the latest technology for producing biochar, from small domestic units, to large scale commercial units.

15.05 – 15.25 – UK and Global Biochar Deployment: Simon Manley (Carbon Gold) Overview of who’s using biochar in the UK and from around the world and why.

World Café Discussion Groups Chairperson: Dr Simon Shackley

15:25 – 15.45 Introduction to World Café Discussion Groups: Jennifer McDonnell

Tea and Coffee available to take to groups.

15.45 – 16.45 – World Cafe Discussion: Groups form and discuss three topics from a list provided.
These are just a suggestion for now. If you have an idea for discussion, please get in touch:

– Sustainable commercialization (e.g. The risks and opportunities and barriers to overcome)
– Other uses for biochar? (e.g. Animal feed, human benefit from consumption and graphene production)
– Community involvement? (e.g. Production, deployment and benefit)

16.45 – 17.00 – Outcomes of the World Cafe discussions

17.00 – 17.15 – Wrap up: key issues, questions and general impressions. Closure presented by the four key founders of the BBF, Dr. Simon Shackley, Darren Hopkins, Dr. Cecile Giradan and Melanie Bennet.

17.30                    End of Day time Session.

17.30 – 18.30 – Evening session begins with networking.

18.30 – 18.50 – First evening speaker, Prof. Myles Allen (ECI)

18.50 – 19.30 – networking.

19.30 – 21.00 – Evening meal.

21.00 – 21.20 – Second evening speakerProf. Toby Mottram(Royal Agricultural College)

21.20 – 22.00 – Coffee’s and a round up of the day.

Day 2

The British Biochar Foundations first annual members meeting,
● To appoint 2 or 3 new volunteer board members to assist in the first year’s activities alongside the existing board members (Simon Shackley, Cécile Girardin, Darren Hopkins, Melanie Bennet and Russell Layberry ).
● to discuss the future of the Foundation, structure and management and – how to get more involved.

Tickets available Now. Registration and payment.


British Biochar 2013 was streamed live, watch the video here!

Courtesy of ESKTN TV

As we are sure you are all aware, the UK biochar arena is changing quite quickly now and as such this agenda is subject to change. We will endeavor to keep you all updated if and when things happen.


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British Biochar 2013


Sustainable use and production of biochar in the UK

June 20 & 21st, 2013

The conference is a unique event that aims to broaden the biochar spectrum, bring together all those that will benefit and launch a unique and innovative industry at the same time. This low carbon economy event is now being held at Hawkwell House Hotel, Oxford.

We want to invite businesses, community groups, researchers, local authorities, waste management companies, composting facility, growing medium producers and biochar producers……. In fact, we believe that every business and every community can benefit from the sustainable production and deployment of biochar and it’s technology in some way, even if they only support it within their community.

So, if you’re interested in reducing costs and yet increasing profits, increasing productivity, reducing GHG, ISO accreditation, the science behind it or just in helping generate a low carbon economy and create a carbon sink and store within your low carbon community, then you need to come and meet the people that can tell you how to make it happen.

We have created a number of downloadable PDF files for offline viewing and reference in regards to the conference, please choose your sector;

Science and Research.

Organic Recycling and Waste Management

Agriculture and Horticulture

Carbon Accounting and ISO Accreditation

The BQM. What’s it all About.

The conference will cover a wide range of talks given by industry, science and research leaders as well as policy-makers, waste specialists, technology providers and producers. The day includes a light lunch and refreshments and tickets start from as little as £65. Concession prices available.


  • Introduction to the British Biochar Foundation
    Dr. Simon Shackley (UK BRC)
  • A European Vision for Biochar
    Hans-Peter Schmidt, Keynote address (Delinat- institut / EBC)
  •  R&D Asia and Australia with Farmers on developing NPK fertilisers and synthetic Terra Preta
    Dr. Stephen Joseph, Keynote address.
  • Launch of the Biochar Quality Mandate (BQM)
    Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
  • The Big Biochar Experiment
    Dr. Cécile Girardin & Dr. Russell Layberry (ECI / Oxford Biochar / BBE)
  • Soil Fertility Project – India, Africa and Wales
    David Friese-Greene (Soil Fertility Project)
  • UK and Global Biochar Science
    Dr. Saran Sohi (UK BRC)
  • UK and Global Biochar Production Technology:
    Cordner Peacocke (CARE)
  • UK and Global Biochar Deployment
    Simon Manley (Carbon Gold)
  • World Cafe Discussion


Evening Dinner and networking

Dinner includes a three course meal with wine, networking sessions and topical speakers

Prof. Toby Mottram(Royal Agricultural College)
Prof. Myles Allen (ECI)

A full agenda can be found here.

Administrative meeting (half day)

This session is only open to the British Biochar Foundation members. We will be discussing the foundation’s mission and have participatory discussions on how to drive the foundation forward over the next 12 month. We will also be appointing 3 new volunteer board members to help assist in the development of the Foundation. Our current board members are Dr. Simon Shackley, Dr. Cécile Girardin, Darren Hopkins and Mélanie Bennet.

*membership is FREE*

Members meeting topics

Appointing new board members
Discussions on the future, structure and management of the foundation

Tickets available NOW! Payment and Registration.


British Biochar 2013 was streamed live, watch the video here!

Courtesy of ESKTN TV


Happy to be supported by


Comments from the BBF board on the Environment Agency Regulation Position Statement.

Comments on the Environment Agency Regulation Position Statement:  Manufacture and Use of Biochar from Specified Waste

We welcome the publication of the draft RPS by the Environment Agency.  Our comments are below.

  1. Definition of biochar.  We would prefer that the definition does not include the word ‘pyrolysis.  It is possible that biochar can be produced by other technologies such as gasification. We therefore prefer to use the definition:  ‘Biochar is a solid material obtained from thermochemical conversion of biomass in an oxygen-limited environment that is used for the safe and long-term storage of carbon in the environment and for soil improvement’
  2. Under ‘Manufacture of Biochar from Specified Wastes’ (point 4) and ‘Use of Waste Derived Biochar’ (point 2), we would like the RPS to include the waste code 19.09.02 for biochar to be applied to land. This is a clean charcoal (spent activated carbon) waste that has been used for filtering water and could be a useful material as biochar. At present this material is either being landfilled or burnt as a fuel.
  3. Under ‘Use of Waste Derived Biochar’ (point 1), it may be worth mentioning that a further benefit of biochar spreading is to store carbon over climate-change relevant time periods.  We also wonder whether it may be better to use the term ‘soil organic matter’ rather than biomass at the end of the line (assuming we can call biochar a type of SOM).
  4. Under ‘Use of Waste Derived Biochar’.  Point (3). We are unclear why it is proposed to limit the application rate to a maximum of 1 tonne per hectare in any 12 month period. To us, this seems unnecessarily restrictive and we would prefer a risk-based procedure for calculating maximum application rates.  1 tonne of biochar incorporated in a soil to a depth of 23cm represents only c. 0.25% to 0.33% of the soil mass (depending on bulk density of the receiving soil). Therefore we would suggest that the application rate methodology used in the Biochar Quality Mandate (BQM), Section 7 and Appendix E, might be a good reference for this RPS as it is based upon an already tried-and-tested application methodology for sewage sludge application that is in place and used by the regulators today.
  5. Under ‘Use of Waste Derived Biochar’.  Point (4). We are unclear why there is a limit of 10 tonnes of waste stored at the site at any one time. If the storage site is controlled and managed appropriately, is there any reason per se why 10 tonnes is the maximum?
  6. Typographical

a)      2nd paragraph down under ‘Background’ should read, ‘physico-chemical properties’ (not ‘physio-chemical properties’).

b)      3rd paragraph down under ‘Background’ should read ‘manufacture of biochar’ (not ‘manufacture or biochar’).