[changes from version 6.1 to version 6.2 from 4th February 2016]
The annual biochar production limit for small scale producers was increased from 20 t to 50 t. In order to be reasonably proportional to the risk assessment and to the environmental protection goals, producers with an annual production capacity below 50 t of biochar are exempt from on-site inspection of production. The compliance with production requirements is controlled by the accredited quality assurance agency via self-declaration and a detailed description of the complete production process. The requirements for biochar batch analyses, thresholds, feedstock sustainability and handling of biochar maintain the same as for industrial producers.
PAH analytical method DIN CEN/TS 16181 (soxhlet-extraction with toluol, to be analysed with GC-MS or HPLC) was added to 6.8
The threshold for Arsen at As < 13 g t-1 TM was introduced.
[changes from version 6 to version 6.1 from 19th June 2015]
The main modifications concern the general requirements for biochar production records listed in chapter 4 which were adapted for the inclusion of small scale production. The terminology of "biochar production batch" was changed to "biochar production series" because in batch pyrolysis systems several batches may constitute one productions series. This is especially relevant for small scale production systems that are mostly batch systems.
[Modification in chapter 4:]
Each biochar series must be clearly labelled and be given a unique identification number for reconstructing the circumstances of production and guaranteeing the quality of the biomasses used. For each biochar series, separate production records are to be kept. Each series must be tested to ensure compliance with the required threshold values.
A uniform biochar series is deemed to exist when the following criteria are met:
- The pyrolysis temperature in °C do not fluctuate more than 20%. Interruption of the production is allowed as far as the production parameters keep the same after the resumption of production. For small-scale production with a yearly production below 20 t of biochar the continuous recording of production temperatures are not requested.
- The composition of the pyrolysed biomasses does not fluctuate more than 15% based on the type of feedstock listed in the feedstock positive list.
[changes from version 5 to version 6 from 21st March 2015]
The main modification concerns the inclusion of small scale producers with less than 20 tons annual biochar production. In order to be reasonably proportional to the risk assessment and to the environmental protection goals, producers with an annual production capacity below 20 t of biochar are exempt from on-site inspection of production. The compliance with production requirements is controlled by the accredited quality assurance agency via self-declaration and a detailed description of the complete production process. The requirements for biochar batch analyses, thresholds, feedstock sustainability and handling of biochar maintain the same as for industrial producers.
[Modification in chapter 5.3:]
5.1 15 subsamples of 1.5 liter each have than to be arbitrarily gathered from different spots of the homogenized biochar lot (ISO (2006) or Bunge & Bunge (1999)). For small scale production of less than 200 liters per day the subsample size may be reduced to 0.5 liters.
[Modification in chapter 6.1:]
6.1 The biochar's carbon content must be higher than 50% of the dry mass (DM). Pyrolysed organic matter with a carbon content lower than 50% are classified as Bio-Carbon-Minerals” (BCM). Pyrogenic Carbonaceous Material (PCM).
[Modification in chapter 6.3:]
6.3 The molar O/Corg ratio must be less than 0.4
In addition to the H/Corg ratio, the O/Corg ratio is also relevant for characterising biochar and differentiating it from other carbonisation products (Schimmelpfennig and Glaser, 2012). Compared to the H/Corg ratio, direct measuring of the O content is relatively expensive and not standardized. Therefore the calculation of the O content from C, H, B, S and ash content is accepted.
Permitted test methods: DIN 51733, ISO 17247
(Specify for each batch)
[Addition in chapter 6.4:]
(Specify for each batch for producers of more than 200 t biochar or PCM per year)
[Addition in chapter 6.9:]
(Specify for each production unit for producers of more than 200 t biochar or PCM per year)
[Addition in chapter 7.2:]
Most of the global charcoal and biochar production is still done using obsolete technology (Brown et al., 2015) where most of the original feedstock carbon is released as toxic emissions to the atmosphere. Even though the quality of biochar produced in such kilns may meet EBC requirements, the environmental impact of such production techniques is highly negative.
If pyrolysis gases are trapped and used as fuel and bio-oil or are cleanly burned the environmental impact is neutral or even improved compared to biomass burning or natural decomposing. Under the EBC biochar production technology that releases unburned pyrolysis gases are not permitted.
[Addition in chapter 7.4:]
Although it is highly recommended, small-scale biochar production units with an annual output of less than 20 tons are exempt of the heat recovery.
[Addition in chapter 9:]
In order to be reasonably proportional to the risk assessment and to the environmental protection goals, producers with an annual production capacity below 20 t of biochar are exempt from on-site inspection of production. The compliance with production requirements is controlled by the accredited quality assurance agency via self-declaration and a detailed description of the complete production process. The requirements for biochar batch analyses, thresholds, feedstock sustainability and handling of biochar maintain the same as for industrial producers.
[30th November 2014]
[Modification in chapter 4.3:]
The production period of the batch does not exceed 1 year 120 days of production within a maximum of 240 days.
[Modification in chapter 5:]
The biochar samples have to be taken following the procedure described here. Once in the first three years a sample has to be taken by the accredited controlling inspector and sent by him to the accredited laboratory.
[Erasure of point 5.4]
The analysis of black carbon content is not standardized yet and thus not practical for the standard. The thermographic analysis is sufficient to estimate the black carbon content.
[Addition in point 5.9 (former 5.10):]
Modern pyrolysis facilities produce only very low levels of PCB, dioxins and furans, meaning that one control per production unit can be considered sufficient. Dioxin content is mostly dependent on the chlorine content of the feedstock. All authorized feedstock of the feedstock positive list have low chlorine content and will produce during pyrolysis only dioxin contents that are lower than the threshold by several orders of magnitude. If the controlling organism or the EBC considers the risk of chlorine contamination of a given feedstock as relevant, they can require supplemental dioxin analyses.
[Addition of new feedstock on feedstock positive list:]
addition of manure in the section animal byproducts
[13th December 2013]
[Addition of chapter 5:]
5. Biochar sampling
Once a year a sample has to be taken by the accredited controlling inspector and sent by him to the accredited laboratory; further batch samples can be taken by the producer himself.
To obtain a biochar sample as representative as possible (in terms of accuracy and precision) of a total lot (batch), it must be taken in a proper way. For this, the following general guidelines have to be followed:
- A biochar lot (batch) subject to sampling must consist of at least one cubic meter.
- Before sampling, the whole lot has to be thoroughly mixed 3 times by turning and piling it upside-down by means of physical replacement with a front loader or comparable technical device.
- 15 subsamples of 1.5 L each have than to be arbitrarily gathered from different spots of the homogenized biochar lot (ISO (2006) or Bunge & Bunge (1999)).
- The 15 subsamples have to be united and then milled to a maximum particle size of 3 mm.
- The milled subsample has than to be homogenized thoroughly by turning and piling it 3 times upside-down.
- A further 15 sub-subsamples of 150 mL each have to be arbitrarily taken from different spots of the gathered subsample lot.
- The 15 sub-subsamples (totaling 2.25 L) have to be united and than mixed together thoroughly by turning and piling them 3 times upside-down.
As illustrated in Bucheli et al. (2014), such a sampling procedure my still not be sufficient to obtain truly representative samples, but assures a degree of accuracy (bias) and reproducibility (variance) affordable to compare analytical results with guide values set in this certificate. In case of biochar production by a continuous process, we advise that biochar producers implement and install incremental cross-stream sampling devices as e.g. presented in Gy (2004), allowing for representative sampling of their product.
[18th October 2013]
The term pyrolysis ash for pyrolysed materials with less than 50% carbon content (DM) was changed into Bio-Carbon-Minerals (BCM). We are actually in discussion with the British Biochar Quality Mandate (BBM) and the IBI to harmonize the terminology and the threshold for the carbon content of biochars.
5.1 The biochar's carbon content must be higher than 50% of the dry mass (DM). Pyrolysed organic matter with a carbon content lower than 50% are classified as Bio-Carbon-Minerals (BCM).
The organic carbon content of pyrolysed chars fluctuates between +/- 3% and 95% of the dry mass, dependent on the feedstock and process temperature used. For instance the carbon content of pyrolysed poultry manure is around 25%, while that of beech wood is around 85% and that of bones is under 10%.
When using mineral-rich feedstocks such as sewage sludge or animal manure, the pyrolysed products tend to have a high ash content. Pyrolysed chars with carbon contents below 50% are therefore not classified as biochar but as “Bio-Carbon-Minerals” (BCM).
When BCM meet all other threshold criteria of this biochar certificate, they may be marketed as Bio-Carbon-Minerals (BCM). BCM have a high nutrient content, therefore representing a valuable fertiliser additive. This does, however, mean that they belong to a different product category.
[NEW SECTION:] 5.5. The quantity of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) must be available and listed.
During the pyrolysis process aromatic carbon, carbonates and a multitude of divers volatile organic compounds are formed. The later constitute a large part of the syngas that partly condensates on biochar surfaces and pores. These condensated syngas compounds are substantial constituents of biochar materials (Spokas et al., 2011; Yang et al., 2013), are essential for certain biochar functions and thus necessary for the characterisation of biochar and BCM. The VOC-content related to the temperature of volatalisation is further an important indicator for the evaluation of the pyrolysis process.
Methode: Thermal-Gravimetric-Analysis (TGA)
Principle: The TGA determines the loss of weight of the volatile matter according to the temperature without any oxygen.
Device: Leco TGA 701
Measurement: The empty crucibles are weighed. Afterwards the sample is put in the crucibles, the lid is closed and the software starts the program appropriate to the temperature. The highest temperature is 950 °C. Nitrogen covers all samples in the TGA 701. It is heated with 10 K/min. After finishing the TGA shows the loss of weight accorded to temperature.
page 5: [NEW SENTENCE:] The European Biochar Certificate is a voluntary standard.
page 7: [ADDITION:] 3.1 Feedstocks must be free of paint, solvents and other organic or non-organic contaminants.
page 9: [DELETED:] the following sentences of section 5.1 were deleted for reason of low relevence for the certificate: In the sense of using resources as efficiently and sustainably as possible, it is preferable to compost or ferment mineral-rich biomasses, or for them to be concentrated into fertiliser. In doing so, the nutrients they contain can be recycled more efficiently than by pyrolysis. The specification of carbon content is of particular relevance when working with CO2 certificates
page 9: [DELETED/ADDED:] section 5.2: Values exceeding 0.7 are an indication of [deleted: poor] [added:] non pyrolytic chars or pyrolysis deficiencies (Schimmelpfennig and Glaser, 2012).
page 10: [DELETED:] section 5.6: Please note that [the following was deleted as the given reason is not complet and of low relevance for the certificate: , due to biochar's high adsorption capacity,] these nutrients may only partly be available to plants.
page 11: [REFORMULATION:] section 5.7: Some minor reformulation of the first two sentences: Except some heavy metals that are volatile or semi volatile at the temperature of pyrolysis, the amount of heavy metals contained in the originally feedstock will remain in the final product. As in composting most heavy metals will naturally be more concentrated than in the starting material.
page 11: [NEW SPECIFICATION:] specific surface area has to be specified not only for premium quality biochar but for all certified biochar and BCM. Measuring water holding capacity of the biochar is not mandatory anymore: 5.8 The delivery slip must specify the biochar's pH value, bulk density, water content and its specific surface area.
The water holding capacity of a given biochar is a valuable indication on it’s effectiveness in increasing a soil's water holding capacity or for humidity buffering in building materials. However it’s analysis is not mandatory.
page 12: [NEW SPECIFICATION:] PAHs have to be specified for each batch.
[19th January 2013]
5.3 The molar H/Corg ratio must be less than 0.7
Following the discussions between EBC and IBI to harmonize the two certificates, the EBC decided in January 2013 to change the requirement from Molar H/Ctot to Molar H/Corg and changing thus the criteria to 0.7. With exception of the carbon content, all decisive thresholds of the two certificates are thus finally harmonized.
5.7 The delivery slip must specify the biochar's [...] specific surface area [...].
The specific surface area is a measure of a biochar's quality and characteristics, and a control value for the pyrolysis method used. It should preferably be higher than 150 m2/g
DM. [it was added:] In some cases lower specific surfaces area than 150 m2/g might be desirable.