TemperaturePyrolysis temperature is a critical factor that influences the carbon sequestration potential of biochar. Higher pyrolysis temperatures typically lead to the formation of biochars with higher carbon contents and greater recalcitrance, as more volatile compounds are released, and the remaining carbon structure becomes more condensed and stable. However, very high temperatures can result in excessive carbon loss through the formation of gaseous products, reducing the carbon sequestration potential of the biochar.
Heating RateThe heating rate, or the rate at which the biomass is heated during pyrolysis, can also influence the carbon sequestration potential of biochar. Rapid heating rates can lead to the production of biochars with higher carbon contents. However, excessively fast heating rates can cause uneven pyrolysis and the formation of biochars with lower carbon sequestration potential.
Residence TimeLonger residence times can result in more complete pyrolysis, potentially leading to the formation of biochars with higher carbon contents and greater stability. However, excessive residence times may lead to the production of biochars with lower carbon sequestration potential due to an increased amount of the biomass being volatilised.
Choice of FeedstockDifferent feedstocks have varying carbon contents, which can affect the amount of carbon sequestered in the resulting biochar. Generally, feedstocks with higher carbon contents, such as woody biomass, will produce biochars with greater carbon sequestration potential than those with lower carbon content, such as herbaceous or aquatic plants.
Proximate and Elemental AnalysisWe can analyse biochar for its fixed carbon and volatile matter contents. Typically, biochars with higher fixed carbon contents tend to be more stable over longer periods of time and less likely to be degraded and return CO2 to the atmosphere.
Stability and Decomposition TestsThese tests assess the resistance of biochar to microbial degradation and its potential longevity in the environment. Stability tests may involve monitoring CO2 emissions from biochar-amended soil over time or using techniques such as the incubation method, where biochar is mixed with soil and incubated under controlled conditions to measure CO2 emissions.
Carbon Sequestration EfficiencyThis metric compares the amount of carbon content sequestered in the biochar to the total carbon content in the original biomass feedstock. It can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of different feedstocks and pyrolysis conditions in producing biochar with high carbon sequestration potential.
Our Biomass Detective! Designs, tests, optimizes and validates robust analytical methods for properties of relevance to the various biochar market applications.
PhD (Analytical Chemistry)
Dreamer and achiever. Took Celignis from a concept in a research project to being the bioeconomy's premier provider of analytical and bioprocessing expertise.
A serial innovator managing multiple projects. Has particular expertise related to the upgrading of biochar and on the assessment of its impact on plant productivity and soil health.