Biochar: Production, Characterization and Applications

An ECI Conference

August 20-25, 2017
Hotel Calissano
Alba, Italy

Call for Abstracts!

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Endorsed by the Associazione Italiana Biochar (ICHAR), the International Biochar Initiative (IBI), the United States Biochar Initiative (USBI) and the National Research Council of Italy (CNR).

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About This Conference

When organic materials (woody or agricultural materials, organic residues, food waste, sewage sludge, digestate) are thermally decomposed in the absence of oxygen, one of the resulting products is biochar, a solid compound rich in carbon and inorganic elements. Incorporated into the ground, biochar is a porous soil enhancer that can lock up carbon, supply minerals, prevent nutrients leaching and water contamination and retain soil moisture. As a result, biochar can be used as an efficient material to enhance soil properties while sequestering carbon.

However, biochar’s porous properties make it also suitable for a variety of value-added applications (adsorption of pollutants, filler for composites, catalysts, material for electronic applications, ….). Biochar properties depend on the biomass feedstock used as well as the operating conditions used for its production.  Moreover, they can be manipulated by pre- and post-processing. By understanding and controlling these factors it is possible to create value-added “designer biochars” for specific applications.

The interest in biochar has been booming all over the world.  Several companies have jumped into production and the user community is looking for carbon-negative applications.

Thus, it is imperative to review the existing knowledge as well as to stimulate research and development activities to bring clarity to this field, ranging from feedstock selection and properties, to production and upgrading processes, from identification of applications to economics, from characterization to products standardization and policies. The conference aims to create a forum where the current knowledge as well as the future directions are openly reviewed and discussed.

Main Themes and Proposed Sessions:

  • History of biochar: what can we learn from the past?
  • Feedstocks for biochar and pre-processing
  • Biochar production processes: from torrefaction to slow and fast pyrolysis
  • Biochar reactor technologies
  • Co-products (bio-oil and gas)
  • Biochar characterization: relationships among feedstock, production technology and characteristics
  • Biochar post-processing
  • Biochar applications: soil amendments, adsorbents, catalysts, fillers for composites, electronic applications
  • Biochar standardization (International Biochar Initiative, European Biochar Certificate, Biochar Quality Mandate)
  • Biochar handling, storage, markets and commercialization
  • Biochar systems
  • Biochar sequential uses
  • Biochar policies
  • Case studies: success stories


The format of the conference will be the “retreat-style Banff-format”. There will be no parallel sessions to allow all participants to be exposed and contribute to all presentations. Apart from 4 plenary lectures of 30 minutes each, the regular contributions will consist of short oral presentations (13 minutes + 2 min for change of speaker). In addition, however, each presentation will also be accompanied by a poster, to be presented normally during the social hour after dinner. The poster session will allow ample time for questions and answers and informal discussion between presenter and interested participants. Additional free-forum poster presentations will also be invited.

There will be networking time each afternoon. This will allow participants to engage in informal discussions and to spend time together enjoying the many beautiful outdoors activities available in the Alba region.

Conference Organization


Franco Berruti, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
Raffaella Ocone, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK
Ondrej Masek, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Organizing Committee and/or Session Chairs:

-USA and Canada
Ajay Dalai (University of Saskatchewan)
Don Harfield (Alberta Innovates)
Tom Miles (US Biochar Initiative and International Biochar Initiative)
Maren Oelbermann (University of Waterloo)
Shahab Sokhansanj (University of British Columbia)

Silvia Baronti (CNR, Firenze, Italy)
David Chiaramonti (Universita’ di Firenze, Italy)
Capucine Dupont (CEA, France)
Daniele Fabbri (Universita’ di Bologna, Italy)
Silvia Fiore (Politecnico di Torino, Italy)
Lorenzo Genesio (CNR, Firenze, Italy)
Mauro Giorcelli (Politecnico di Torino, Italy)
Bruno Glaser (Martin Luther University, Germany)
Carlo Grignani (Universita’ degli Studi di Torino, Italy)
Roger Kilburn (iBioIC, UK)
Joan Manya’ (University of Zaragoza, Spain)
Franco Miglietta (CNR, Firenze, Italy)
Andrea Rizzo (Universita’ di Firenze, Italy)
Saran Sohi (University of Edinburgh, UK)
Alberto Tagliaferro (Politecnico di Torino, Italy)
Magda Titirici (Queen Mary University of London, UK)
Francesco Vaccari (CNR, Firenze, Italy)

Endorsing Organizations

Please click on the logo to visit the website.

Associazione Italiana Biochar,

Call for Abstracts

One-page abstracts should be submitted as soon as possible and no later than the deadlines noted above.  The abstract should include both the significance of the research as well as results that will be discussed to allow a scientific assessment of the work by the organizers.

Deadline for abstracts for oral presentations:                         March 31, 2017

Deadline for abstracts for free forum poster presentations:  June 30, 2017

All abstracts should be submitted electronically and submissions must follow the template provided at this link.

Conference Publication:  Conference papers will be published in a special issue of Biomass & Bioenergy.

Levels of Sponsorship

Please click HERE to view the levels of sponsorship available.

Conference Venue

Alba, Italy:  Alba, often referred to as the “City of 100 Medieval Towers,” is a town in the Langhe region in the Piedmont area of Italy.  It is a UNESCO Human Heritage site that is famous for its white truffle, dark chocolate (Ferrero Rocher and Nutella), hazelnuts, peaches and wine (velvety red Barolo and Barbaresco wines) production.  The precious truffles of this region have been compared to gold because of their cost and delicacy.  Alba is also the location where the “slow food” movement started.

Alba’s origins date from before the Roman civilization and its historic center remains today inside the ancient Roman walls. This area is home to a series of churches and medieval houses which form a triangle between the Tanaro and Cherasca rivers.  The Romanesque Alba Cathedral of San Lorenzo (Duomo), was built in the 12th century probably over holy edifices of Roman age.  The cathedral is dedicated to the martyred bishop of Rome, who was roasted over hot coals.  He is reported to have told his executioners to turn him over, as he was done on that side.  This jest led to him being the patron saint of chefs.   There is a statue of Saint Lawrence on the church’s façade holding a replica of a Roman griddle used to roast food.  The Gothic Church of San Domenico (13th through 14th centuries) is the most artistically relevant church in town. It has a noteworthy portal with a triple arch within a pointed arch, a polygonal apse and traces of Renaissance frescoes. The city museums include the Museum of Archeology and Natural Science.

Alba is the gastronomical capital of Italy. The number of excellent restaurants, as a percentage of the total, is probably higher in Alba in the Langhe region than nearly any other place in the world.  Each Saturday is Market Day in Alba when the local merchants, farmers and vintners bring their products from around the region to this bustling open air market.

Hotel Calissano:  The conference itself will take place in the Hotel Calissano.  The hotel is located near the central Piazza M. Ferrero, one of the most beautiful squares in the Piedmont and known as the drawing room of Alba because it is a meeting place for locals and visitors.  The hotel takes its name from the “Calissano” winery, founded by Luigi Calissano in 1872.  Calissano was known as the first great Alba entrepreneur and led the way in spreading the reputation of the outstanding wines grown in the area throughout Europe and the rest of the world.  The historic Calissano wine cellars form the foundations of the hotel itself.

The hotel has 90 rooms and offers LCD TV, free WiFi internet access, air conditioning, room safe, free parking (in Alba’s center, a 10 minute-walk away), fitness room, laundry and dry cleaning services,

Address:  Via Pola, 8, 12051 Alba CN, Italy                     Phone: +39 0173 364855

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By Auto:  The nearest major airport is Malpensa in Milan, Italy, which is about 200 km away (2 hr drive).  Google Maps can help navigate the best route.

By Train:  Check with RailEurope for times and fares.  The trip may take up to 4 hours.

General Information about ECI

Engineering Conferences International (ECI) is a global engineering conferences program, originally established in 1962, that provides opportunities for the exploration of problems and issues of concern to engineers and scientists from many disciplines.

The format of the weeklong research conference provides morning and late afternoon or evening sessions in which major presentations are made. Available time is included during the afternoons for ad hoc meetings, informal discussions, and/or recreation. This format is designed to enhance rapport among participants and promote dialogue on the development of the meeting. We believe that the conferences have been instrumental in generating ideas and disseminating information to a greater extent than is possible through more conventional forums.

All participants are expected both to attend the entire conference and to contribute actively to the discussions. The recording/photographing of lectures and presentations is forbidden. As ECI conferences take place in an informal atmosphere, casual clothing is the usual attire.

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