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Biochar Development

Biochar is the solid residue remaining after pyrolysis of biomass. This carbonisation process involves heating biomass (residues from agriculture and forestry, the food industry and waste water purification) to 300-700 °C in a low oxygen environment. The biochar products obtained can be used for a wide range of applications in agriculture (soil additive, substrate for nutrients, animal husbandry), groundwater protection, waste water purification and soil remediation as well as industrial applications. 

We support our customers in finding the optimal biochar product for their specific applications combining different materials and pyrolysis conditions. The products are then analysed for their effectiveness and their chemical and physical properties. We provide our customers with sustainable strategies for biochar use with the aim of ensuring protection of groundwater, soil and air quality, encouraging closed loop recycling and reducing the anthropogenic contribution to climate change. 



    • Customised product developments based on the use of biochar as a soil additive, organic fertiliser or pollutant sorbent
    • Chemical characterisation and ecotoxicological tests of biochar products
    • Exploring the effects of biochar products on soil and plants in the lab, in the greenhouse and in the field
    • Development of cascade use concepts for biomass to encourage closed loop recycling 



      • BIOCHAR (Biochar for Carbon Sequestration in Soils: Analysis of production, biological effects in the soil and economics) 
      • KUSTAW (Copper stabilisation in vineyard soils)
      • KOKOSAN (Combined in-situ remediation using biochar and compost for PAH and heavy metal contaminated soils)
      • FERTI-MINE (From waste to fertiliser - phosphorus and carbon waste mining as a nutrient recycling strategy for the future) 



      KARER, J., A. WAWRA, F. ZEHETNER, G. DUNST, M. WAGNER, P.-B. PAVEL, M. PUSCHENREITER, W. FRIESL-HANL, G. SOJA: Effects of biochars and compost mixtures and inorganic additives on immobilisation of heavy metals in contaminated soils. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, accepted, 2015

      AKHTER, A., K. HAGE-AHMED, G. SOJA, S. STEINKELLNER: Compost and biochar alter mycorrhization, tomato root exudation, and development of Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lycopersici. Frontiers in Plant Science 6, 529, 2015. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00529

      FRIŠTÁK, V., M. PIPÍŠKA, J. LESNÝ, G. SOJA, W. FRIESL-HANL, A. PACKOVÁ: Utilization of biochar sorbents for Cd2+, Zn2+, and Cu2+ ions separation from aqueous solutions: comparative study. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 187, 4093, 2015. doi: 10.1007/s10661-014-4093-y

      KLOSS, S., F. ZEHETNER, J. BUECKER, E. OBURGER, W.W. WENZEL, A. ENDERS, J. LEHMANN, G. SOJA: Trace element biogeochemistry in the soil-water-plant system of a temperate agricultural soil amended with different biochars. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 22, 4513-4526, 2015. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-3685-y

      FRIŠTÁK, V., W. FRIESL-HANL, M. PIPÍŠKA, B.RICHVEISOVÁ-MICHÁLEKOVÁ, G. SOJA: The response of artificial aging to sorption properties of biochar for potentially toxic heavy metals. Nova Biotechnologica et Chimica 13, 137-147, 2014. doi: 10.1515/nbec-2015-0004

      KLOSS, S., F. ZEHETNER, E. OBURGER, J. BÜCKER, B. KITZLER, W.W. WENZEL, B. WIMMER and G. SOJA: Trace element concentrations in leachates and mustard plant tissue (Sinapis alba L.) after biochar application to temperate soils. Science of the Total Environment 481, 498-508, 2014. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.02.093

      KLOSS, S., F. ZEHETNER, B. WIMMER, J. BÜCKER, F. REMPT and G. SOJA: Biochar application to temperate soils: Effects on soil fertility and crop growth under greenhouse conditions. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 177, 3-15, 2014. doi: 10.1002/jpln.201200282

      PROMMER, J., W. WANEK, F. HOFHANSL, D. TROJAN, P. OFFRE, T. ULRICH, C. SCHLEPER, S. SASSMANN, B. KITZLER, G. SOJA and R.C. HOOD-NOWOTNY: Biochar decelerates soil organic nitrogen cycling but stimulates soil nitrification in a temperate arable field trial. PLOS ONE 9, e86388, 2014. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086388

      WATZINGER, A., S. FEICHTMAIR, B. KITZLER, F. ZEHETNER, S. KLOSS, B. WIMMER, S. ZECHMEISTER-BOLTENSTERN and G. SOJA: Soil microbial communities responded to biochar application in temperate soils and slowly metabolized 13C labeled biochar as revealed by 13C PLFA analyses – results from a short term incubation and pot experiment. European Journal of Soil Science 65, 40-51, 2014. doi: 10.1111/ejss.12100

      KARER, J., B. WIMMER, F. ZEHETNER, S. KLOSS and G. SOJA: Biochar application to temperate soils: effects on nutrient uptake and crop yield under field conditions. Agricultural and Food Science 22, 390-403, 2013.

      ANDERS, E., A. WATZINGER, F. REMPT, B. KITZLER, B. WIMMER, F. ZEHETNER, K. STAHR, S. ZECHMEISTER-BOLTENSTERN and G. SOJA: Biochar affects the structure rather than the total biomass of microbial communities in temperate soils. Agricultural and Food Science 22, 404-423, 2013. 

      SOJA, G., S. ZECHMEISTER-BOLTENSTERN, B. KITZLER, M. LAUER, V. LIEDTKE, A. WATZINGER, B. WIMMER and F. ZEHETNER: Biokohle für landwirtschaftliche Böden. Gaia 21, 238-240, 2012.

      KLOSS, S., F. ZEHETNER, A. DELLANTONIO, R. HAMID, F. OTTNER, V. LIEDTKE, M.H. GERZABEK and G. SOJA:  Characterization of slow pyrolysis biochars: Effects of feedstocks and pyrolysis temperature on biochar properties. Journal of Environmental Quality 41, 990-1000, 2012. doi:10.2134/jeq2011.0070



      Gerhard Soja

      Vladimir Fristak

      Rebecca Hood-Nowotny