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Biochar Carbon Stability Test Method: An assessment of methods to determine biochar carbon stability
Abstract and Figures
Twenty seven methods currently used to characterize biochar were assessed in terms of their usefulness to determine the stability of biochar carbon in the environment. The International Biochar Initiative (IBI), which led the effort, gathered fourteen world-class experts in different fields of biochar relevant to stability, who guided the process for obtaining a simple, yet reliable, measure for biochar stability. Important requisites were defined for the test, including cost, repeatability and availability. Identification of a cost-effective, scientifically valid test to measure the stable carbon component of biochar is imperative to distinguish biochar from non-biochar (non-stable) materials, and to develop a biochar offset protocol for carbon markets. The stability of biochar carbon in soils makes it a highly promising product for consideration as a strategy for climate change mitigation. The definition of the variable BC+100, which stands for the amount of biochar carbon that is expected to remain stable after 100 years, along with predictions of stability based on simple (Alpha) and more sophisticated (Beta) methods, allowed to correlate a molar ratio (H/Corg) to the relative stability of biochar. The process for identifying the Biochar Carbon Stability Test Method is summarized here, and the method itself is available as a separate, technical document.
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