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Biochar Characterization and M.A.S.

Biochar Characterization and Micromeritics Analytical Services - 10/14/2009

Biochar is a fine grained charcoal made by pyrolysis of biomass material such as wood, crop residue, and solid waste. Biochar has many agricultural benefits. Spread into the top layer of the soil, biochar enhances plant growth with its ability to retain moisture and replenish the soil’s organic carbon, fostering the growth of microbes that are essential for nutrient absorption. Biochars permit the use of less fertilizer decreasing agricultural pollution through runoff and leeching. Biochar is also desirable because it generates clean energy through the pyrolysis process and reduces CO2 from the atmosphere.

The biochar community is looking for characterization methods in order to match the biochar and soil that will achieve the most beneficial and desired effect. Micromeritics Analytical Services (MAS) recently co-authored a paper presented at the North American BioChar meeting  held in Boulder, CO August 9-12, which demonstrated the use of gas adsorption combined with mercury porosimetry to get a full pore size analysis of biochars. Also examined was the breakdown of this material after multiple freeze-thaw cycles to determine what changes might occur in the particle size, surface area, and pore size distribution. These techniques complement one another and are very useful in providing a clearer picture of the pore structure and sample capabilities,

MAS provides many physical characterization measurements including surface area, pore size analysis by both gas adsorption and mercury porosimetry, CO2 adsorption isotherms, water vapor adsorption isotherms, bulk density, true density, and particle size analysis. For more information visit Micromeritics Analytical Services.


For more information on biochars visit http://www.biochar-international.org/