Bio-Char II: Production, Characterization and Applications

An ECI Conference Series

September 15-20, 2019
Grand Hotel San Michele
Cetraro (Calabria), Italy

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About This Conference

When organic materials (woody or agricultural materials, organic residues, sewage sludge, digestate,…) are thermally decomposed in the absence of oxygen, one of the resulting products is bio-char, a solid compound rich in carbon and inorganic elements. Incorporated into the ground, bio-char is a porous soil enhancer that can lock up carbon, supply minerals, prevent nutrient leaching and water contamination and retain soil moisture. As a result, bio-char can be an efficient material to enhance soil properties while sequestering carbon. However, bio-char’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, etc. Bio-char properties depend on the biomass feedstock used as well as the operating conditions used for its production.  Moreover, these properties 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 bio-char has been booming all over the world.  A number of companies have jumped into production and the user community is looking for carbon-negative applications.  As a result, 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 and long-term performance of bio-char: what can we learn from the past? Long-term monitored field studies
  • Sustainable feedstocks for bio-char production: characterization, pre-processing and suitability/response to thermal processing
  • Bio-char production processes: from torrefaction, slow and fast pyrolysis, gasification and hydrothermal processing
  • Bio-char characterization: relationships among feedstock, production technology and characteristics
  • Bio-char reactor technologies
  • Co-products of biochar production: a biorefinery approach
  • Bio-char physical and chemical post-processing (grinding, functionalization, activation
  • Bio-char applications: soil amendments, adsorbents, catalysts, fillers for composites, electronic applications
  • Bio-char handling, storage, markets and commercialization
  • Bio-char use sequences: integration of value chains in agricultural models and forestry
  • Bio-char policies, regulations, and standardization
  • Case studies: success stories, failures, and lessons learned
  • Biochar and climate change


The format of the conference will be the “retreat-style Banff-format”. There will be no parallel sessions in order to allow all participants to be exposed to and contribute to all presentations. Apart from four plenary lectures of 30 minutes each, the regular contributions will consist of short oral presentations (10 minutes + 2 minutes for change of speaker). Each presentation, however, will also be accompanies 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.

Networking time will be encouraged during each afternoon. This will allow participants to engage in informal discussions and to spend time together enjoying the many beautiful outdoor activities available at the venue.

The proposed program is as follows:

Typical Day (Monday – Tuesday – Wednesday):

(Note: Thursday will not have late afternoon presentations BUT there will be a poster session/refreshments before the evening banquet; Friday will be morning only plus posters but no plenary):

  • 8:00 am start with plenary (30 minutes)
  • 8:30 am to 12:30 pm: short presentations (10 min + 2 min) with a 30 minute coffee break at 10:00 am (total of 18 presentations)
  • 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm lunch
  • 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm networking/ad hoc discussions
  • 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm short presentations (10 min + 2 min) (total of 10 presentations)
  • 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm dinner
  • 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm posters for each of the 28 presentations of the day plus extra room for ~ 15 free forum posters and social hours – 43 poster spaces (each ~ 4 ft wide – 4 ft long = 2 posters for each side of 8 x 4 board)

Information on the most recent conference on this topic.

Conference Organization


Franco Berruti (Western University, London, Ontario, Canada)
David Chiaramonti (RE-CORD, University of Firenze, Italy)
Ondrej Masek (University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK)
Manuel Garcia-Perez (Washington State University, USA)

Organizing Committee and/or Session Chairs:


Johannes Lehmann (Cornell University), USA
Manuel Garcia-Perez (Washington State University), USA
Tom Miles (US Biochar Initiative and International Biochar Initiative), USA
Kelly Hawboldt (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Canada
Muhammad Afzal (University of New Brunswick), Canada
Ajay Dalai (University of Saskatchewan), Canada
Maren Oelbermann (University of Waterloo), Canada
Shahab Sokhansanj (UBC), Canada


Raffaella Ocone (Heriot-Watt University, UK)
Saran Sohi (University of Edinburgh, UK)
Magda Titirici (Queen Mary University of London, UK)
Paul de Wild (ECN, The Netherlands)
Carlo Grignani (Universita’ degli Studi di Torino, Italy)
Daniele Fabbri (Universita’ di Bologna, Italy)
Mauro Giorcelli (Politecnico di Torino, Italy)
Alberto Tagliaferro (Politecnico di Torino, Italy)
David Chiaramonti (Universita’ di Firenze, Italy)
Andrea Rizzo (Universita’ di Firenze, Italy)
Francesco Vaccari (CNR, Firenze, Italy)
Lorenzo Genesio (CNR, Firenze, Italy)
Silvia Baronti (CNR, Firenze, Italy)
Franco Miglietta (CNR, Firenze, Italy)
Silvia Fiore (Politecnico di Torino, Italy)
Capucine Dupont (IHE Delft Institute, The Netherlands)
Bruno Glaser (Martin Luther University, Germany)
Joan Manya’ (University of Zaragoza, Spain)

Call for Abstracts/Publications

One-page abstracts should be submitted as soon as possible and no later than the deadlines noted below.  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. Note that all accepted abstracts will be presented both orally and as a poster.

Deadline for abstracts:                                                    March 31, 2019
Deadline for abstracts for free-forum posters:                Ongoing until July 31, 2019

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

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

There will be a poster competition for the Best Student Poster and Best Overall Poster.


  • Possible publication of PowerPoint presentations in the ECI Digital Archives.
  • Invitation for full paper submission in a special issue of an internationally recognized refereed journal.

Conference Venue

Cetraro and Grand Hotel San Michele

Cetraro Marina, a pleasant seaside resort is about two km from the Cetraro Commune of which it is a part.  The ancient Citrarium (name derived from the abundant citrus cultivation in the area) was a center of the Bruzi rising between Paola and Capo Bonifati.  Its coast location offers many interesting boat excursions.

The picturesque Grand Hotel San Michele ( is situated on the Tyrrhenian Coast, 120 meters above the Mediterranean Sea, with a fantastic view of Calabria’s southern coast.  It offers visitors one of the prettiest locations Southern Italy has to offer and is considered by many to be one of Calabria’s finest hotels.  Its beach (120 meters below the cliffs) is accessible only by a private special elevator.  The hotel has a swimming pool, driving range, tennis court, minigolf, piano bar and billiard room.

The hotel is surrounded by an organic farm that provides the hotel with fresh organic food.  Vegetables, fruits, olive oil, wine, milk, cheese, daily laid eggs, lamb, veal and pork meat, homemade jams and preserves are all produced on San Michele Hotel’s premises.

The acreage upon which the hotel is situated is also a bird sanctuary, where bird lovers from around Italy come to observe migratory patterns.

The maximum number of people that can be hosted in the hotel is about 80; however, there are other hotels in the area and the hotel can arrange pickups.


Cetraro (Calabria), Italy

Air: The Lamezia Airport (SUF) is 75 km from the hotel.  The hotel can arrange for pick-ups.  The airport is served by Alitalia, Delta, Lufthansa and many others

Train: The Paola Railway station is about 21 km from the hotel by ItaliaRail.

Auto: Use the Motorway Roma – Caserta Sud – Salarno – Lagonegro Nord – Fondo Valle Noce.  (293 km)

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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