Professional Analytical and Consulting Services

BioMass to BioChar: Renewable Carbonaceous Products

PACS Course Number 163

9 AM to 5 PM

The world has long appreciated the unique properties of activated materials derived from specific biomass sources, especially coconut shell and wood activated carbons. Now there is an emerging industry associated with carbonized biomass, utilized for a number of specific applications without formal activation for enhanced adsorption performance.

Most people are familiar with wood lump charcoal for cooking, but other advanced applications are emerging for chars when used in agriculture (biochar), in-situ remediation of contaminated sediments, remediation of mine spoils, as well as traditional high performance charcoal applications such as metal reduction. Because the entire line of carbonized chars is derived from renewable resources, avoids significant fossil fuel inputs during manufacture, and contains carbon removed from the atmosphere as the biomass grew, there is a dynamic market opportunity in a world sensitive to climate disruption and the perils of fossil fuel dependency.

Hugh McLaughlin, Ph.D/P.E. Director of Biocarbon Research for Alterna Biocarbon is the course director. He is an expert on both activated carbons and the unique properties of chars derived from renewable biomass, particularly wood and agricultural residues. The course covers the underlying science of carbonization, options for manufacture on industrial scale, and the properties of chars relevant to specific applications. Specifically, biochar -- the unique carbonaceous material intended as a soil amendment and carbon sequestration method -- will be covered in depth. Henry Nowicki, PACS President, covers analytical methods for manufacture and applications.

PACS courses related to activated carbon are titled:

Register by mailing a copy of the COURSE REGISTRATION FORM or an associated CONFERENCE REGISTRATION FORM. Send it with a payment of $1250 to secure your course attendance. Hotel information and a map will be sent to confirm your registration. Please list your special interest(s) on the registration form. Enrollment is limited to assure your maximum course benefits. On-site PACS courses are available (most PACS courses can be provided at your time and place). Telephone Henry Nowicki or Barb Sherman at 1.724.457.6576 if you need further information. PACS also provides laboratory testing and consulting services.

BioMass to BioChar: Renewable Carbonaceous Products

Course Instructor: Hugh McLaughlin, Ph.D/P.E. under the auspices of PACS

1: Introduction to Chars: Mother Nature's Perfect Fuel, Adsorbent and more
- Overview of day, introduce the group and identify attendees interests
- Powerpoint slideshow: Pyrolysis, Carbonization and Graphitic Consolidation
- Powerpoint slideshow: Char properties as a function of production conditions

2: Introduction to Biochar: The highest performing portion of any productive soil
- Powerpoint slideshow: Terra Preta to Biochar: carbon in the soil through the ages
- Powerpoint slideshow: How does Biochar function in a growing system
- Powerpoint slideshow: Biochar production options and resulting properties
- Open discussion of the current Biochar Business Opportunity

LUNCH - round the room on how the day is going and prioritize interests, then EAT

3: Characterizing Chars: Analytical methods and less formal measures of quality
- Powerpoint slideshow: Testing for fuel and adsorption properties (HN)
  • Introduction to Adsorption theory and GAED testing
  • ASTM tests for Charcoal and Fuel Coal properties
- Powerpoint slideshow: Informal testing of biochars before addition to soils

4: Production of Chars: Heat & Material Balances and Economics of Biomass to Chars
- Powerpoint slideshow: Thermal constraints of converting biomass to chars
- Powerpoint slideshow: Survey of past and present approaches, big and small
- Powerpoint slideshow: Char Production Economics   Factoring in the Climate Debate

5: Special Topic Discussion: Focused discussion based on attendee interests
- Identify points of confusion, update list of attendee interests
- Powerpoint slideshow: Revisit portions of lectures and clarify specific concepts
- Facilitated discussion on attendee interests with audience contributions

6: Wrap up: Residual Q&A as time allows

View the PACS Short Course Schedule

Course participants are encouraged to e-mail questions to Dr. Henry Nowicki at

Please NOTE: List your special interest on the registration form. We will try to accommodate your interest. PACS also provides internet consulting information at

Training is an Investment in employee employer Future!

For more information please contact:

Henry Nowicki, Ph.D. / M.B.A
PACS Testing, Consulting and Training
409 Meade Drive, Coraopolis, PA 15108
Phone: 1. 724. 457. 6576 or 1. 800. 367. 2587
PACS website:

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