2013 Symposium will be organized into the following Tracks:

  1. Feedstocks and Production, ( view Track Schedule)
  2. Benefits of Biochar, (view Track Schedule)
  3. Scales, Sales, and Marketing, (view Track Schedule)
  4. Policy and Community Engagement, (view Track Schedule)

In addition to a biochar production demonstration on Monday evening, you may want to come network during a first-ever Biochar Banquet which will include stations of healthy foods grown locally in soils with horticultural charcoal at the University of Massachusetts. We are actively seeking participation from local farmers, current biochar producers and technology manufacturers/distributors as well as the many supporting organizations including: 

  • Certification bodies
  • Packaging companies
  • Biomass providers
  • Waste Management
  • Compost Companies
  • Brokers
  • Carbon and Eco-system service market organizations
  • and Other vendors for biochar companies

1. Feedstocks and Production

This track covers the science of biochar from eligible biomass feedstocks through the conversion to chars that are ready to go into the ground. Areas covered include:

  • Characterizing different biochars based on the feedstocks used and production temperatures
  • Post-pyrolysis actions, such as grinding, composting, blending ...  
  • Small and large scale production
  • Two special USDA sessions featuring a wide array of biochar research presentations
  • Along with innovations in formulating biochars, creating custom blends, and application techniques

2. Biochar Benefits

This track follows naturally as biochar passes from the producers and distributors to the consumers and includes:

  • Two comprehensive expert sessions on crops and soils
  • Habitat restoration, soil remediation and wastewater management
  • Livestock nutrition and manure management 
  • Climate change mitigation
  • End-use energy co-product alternative comparisons (renewable energy, microbial fuel cells)

3. Scale, Sales and Marketing

This track addresses the complexities of developing markets for biochar on many different levels

  • Sustainability, including Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), industrial ecology, etc.
  • Climate, carbon credits, and other ecosystem service markets
  • Customer Tools: how to effectively educate, brand and market
  • Business models  such as vertical integration vs. specializing, modeling the value chain, financing models
  • Experiences to guide a growing biochar community establishing businesses at all scales and applications

4. Policy and Community Engagement

This track features a variety of experts who will present on topics such as:

  • Government Policy affecting research, agriculture & energy grant programs
  • Soil carbon sequestration standards and protocols
  • Carbon farming initiatives and environmental compliance
  • Directions for research at government agencies
  • Stories of bureaucratic roads well followed, local hoops successfully navigated, lessons learned


The Human Touch: Outreach and Education

We would love to hear about stories of public education and engagement such as:

  • Specific biochar educational programs

  • Scholastic competitions, science fair victories

  • Public or private training programs supporting the exponential growth of interest in natural farming systems, integrated ecosystem management and/or renewable energy

  • Industry and producers’ engagement of  the public's imagination through unique marketing campaigns

  • Programs and projects beyond marketing: open houses, demonstrations, field days, festivals, social events like Char-B-Q parties

  • Participatory philanthropy field testing of crowd-sourcing, "kickstarter" funding or community-supported biochar

  • Grass roots efforts targeting urban and community gardeners, CSAs, co-ops, Farmer's Markets and other integral venues to spreading the word (and char)