Update on IBI’s Characterization Standards

IBI’s initiative to create globally-developed and accepted standards for biochar characterization, production and utilization has completed the most recent round of working group discussions. The working groups received valuable feedback from the larger biochar community and they are continuing to determine appropriate test methodologies for physical biochar properties and potential toxins based on existing soil quality and soil amendment analytical tests. The working groups are now assessing  the potential utilization of existing standardized classification and testing procedures for soil amendments such as compost and fertilizers to determine the most appropriate threshold reporting levels for toxicity and physical biochar properties. Standards and test methodology selection has focused on three key elements: biochar-appropriate tests, global applicability, and test accessibility. Discussions held during February and March resulted in the conclusion that Material Safety Data Sheet development will likely become an important part of biochar product labeling for safe transportation, trade, and handling.

The end product of this effort is the establishment of biochar standards developed in a global, transparent, scientifically-based process. The goal in this particular phase of the work is to produce a universally developed characterization and standards document that any of the IBI members or member organizations can utilize as a basis for governmental and third-party certification agencies to develop national biochar standards. IBI will be developing its own biochar material certification program based on these standards. The second version of the standards draft and all other updates are available at:

IBI welcomes all comments and suggestions from the biochar community as we proceed with development of these critical standards. An additional public comment period will be established when the standards have been completed, and prior to publication, as well.

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