Biochar: Production, Characterization and Applications

An ECI Conference

August 20-25, 2017
Hotel Calissano
Alba, Italy

Call for Abstracts!                    Preliminary Program

Register Now!

Posters can be either 1.5 meters high and 1.0 meter wide OR 1.0 meter high and 1.5 meters wide.

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).

Please forward this link to colleagues who may be interested in the conference topic.

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:                         Closed

Deadline for abstracts for free forum poster presentations:  July 15, 2017

Posters can be either 1.5 meters high and 1.0 meter wide OR 1.0 meter high and 1.5 meters wide.

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

Please prepared your abstract according to this template: docx or doc.

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

Facebook Tour


Before booking your air transportation, we suggest that you check ground transportation options between both airports (Turin and Malpensa) and Alba and determine the most convenient itinerary for you.  We strongly suggest flying to Turin as it is much closer.

By Auto: The nearest international airport is located in Turin (TRN) (about an hour from Alba).  Milan’s Malpensa Airport (MXP) is about 200 km (two hour drive) to Alba.   If you are driving, consult Google Maps to help navigate the best route.

By train from Turin: The average journey time between Turin and Alba is 1.25 – 1.5 hours by train.  Trains leave from both Turin Porta Nuova and Torino Lingotto stations.  All trains require a change in Bra or Cavallermaggiore.  (  There are four direct trains from Turin Lingotto for 5.75 euro but three of them arrive after registration begins.

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

Inter-airport Transfers – Milan to Turin:  There are inter-airport bus transfers from Malpensa to Turin (approximately 22 € and 2 hours).

Conference Fees and Registration

Conference Fees

All conference fees are inclusive. They include registration, accommodations (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights), all meals and breaks, taxes, and gratuities from the reception and dinner on Sunday through lunch on Friday. Incidental fees (telephone calls, faxes, laundry, etc.) are billed to your personal account by the hotel.

Participants at this conference have the option of registering without staying at the conference hotel.  If you wish to register without hotel, the prices before July 20 are US $1,500.00 for a participant and US $1,085.00 for bona fide graduate students. You MUST contact to register without the conference hotel option.


The conference fees are:

Register on or before July 20, 2017 Register after

July 20, 2017

Participant (single occupancy or sharing room with a guest; guest fee additional) US $2,285.00 US $2,485.00
Participant (sharing a room with another participant) US $1,985.00 US $2,185.00
Bona fide Graduate Student (sharing a room with another student) (Those in this category must send proof of current status – copy of current Student ID can be faxed to 1-212-514-6030 or emailed to US $1,570.00 US $1,770.00
**Fees for Guest/accompanying person sharing bedroom with single occupancy participant. (Includes all conference included meals) US $915.00 US $915.00

If you plan to bring children to the conference, please contact ECI ( for pricing.

Conference Registration

You will need a login name and password to register for ECI conferences through our online system. If you have been a recent participant at an ECI conference or have submitted an online application or request for information about an ECI Conference, you may already have an account with us. If you know your login information, please use it.

If you are not sure whether you already have a login and password, please click on automated password retrieval and enter your e-mail address before creating a new account. If we don’t have a valid email address on file for you, a pop up window will appear stating that no records were found. Click “OK” and then follow the instructions to create a new account.

If you have any questions or experience any difficulties, please email

Special Notes for Payment

We suggest that you register as soon as possible to be certain that you will have a hotel room at the conference rate.  Late registrations will be accepted on a space available basis.

All participants are encouraged to register before July 20, 2017.  There is a discounted price for registering before this date and hotel space cannot be guaranteed for registrations received after this date.  Your registration is not officially confirmed until we receive payment of the amount due.  ECI reserves the right to cancel your room registration if payment is not received. Your invoice/receipt will automatically be e-mailed upon of receipt of your registration.

Because of contractual guarantees made with the hotel for room and meal functions, no shows, late arrivals, missed meals and early departures cannot receive fee adjustments.  If you have a disability and may require accommodation in order to participate fully in this conference, please indicate this when you register. An ECI representative will contact you to discuss your specific needs. If you have special dietary requirements (e.g., vegetarian or a food allergy), please make a note on your registration.  The chef needs to know this information in advance if we are to accommodate you. ECI will attempt to accommodate special requests such as Kosher or Halal meals, but such meals may not be available at all conference sites. Any additional costs for special meal requests must be paid by the participant to ECI.

Payment must be made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Amex), check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank in U.S. dollars, payable to ENGINEERING CONFERENCES INTERNATIONAL. Checks or money orders in any other currencies are NOT ACCEPTABLE.  Payment is made on the web site except for those who are sending payment by wire transfer or have a purchase order from their company/institution.

WIRE TRANSFER PAYMENT: If you are planning to make payment by wire transfer, please contact ECI for the bank information. You must add $30 to cover ECI bank charges. Please reference your full name and the conference title.  Either fax a copy of your bank transfer papers to ECI (Fax: +1-212-514-6030) or email a scanned copy to  This is very important – otherwise it is extremely difficult to trace your payment and you may not receive a receipt prior to the conference.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellation must be received by ECI in writing at least 28 days prior to the start of the conference in order for a full refund (less a processing fee) to be considered. The ECI auditors require that refunds for all conference cancellations be processed after the conference so that the necessary back-up information (e.g., hotel list of those in-house) can be attached to the refund request and ECI can verify that the hotel has not charged a cancellation fee.

Cancellation fees:

  • Cancellations received more than 28 days prior to the conference start date are subject to a processing fee of 4% of the total fee, plus any direct expenses incurred by ECI.
  • Cancellations received 15 – 28 days prior to the conference start date are subject to a $250 cancellation fee plus any direct expenses incurred by ECI.
  • Cancellations received 8 – 14 days prior to the conference start date are subject to a $500 cancellation fee plus any direct expenses incurred by ECI.
  • No refunds will be issued for cancellations received less than 7 days prior to the conference start date.
  • No refunds will be issued due to inclement weather or travel disruptions/cancellations.

Registrations can be transferred without incurring any penalty or cancellation fee.

Denied or delayed visa

If a participant is forced to cancel due to a denied or delayed entry visa, ECI will issue a full refund provided that ECI has been notified of a potential visa issue at least four weeks prior to the conference start date.

Change of payment method

If an attendee who has already paid the conference fee with a credit card requests that the fee be refunded to that card so that it can be paid in a different manner (e.g., charged to an alternate credit card, or paid via check or bank transfer), a processing fee of 4% of the total fee amount will apply.


It may be necessary for reasons beyond the control of ECI to alter the content and timing of the program or the identity of the speakers. In the unfortunate circumstance that an event is cancelled, ECI is not liable for any costs incurred by participants in connection with their attendance.

Smoking is prohibited at ECI conferences and conference functions.

Should you have specific questions regarding your registration, please contact Kathy Chan (

Preliminary Program

Please click HERE to view the preliminary program.

Register Now!

Please use THIS LINK to register for this conference.

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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