The keynote speakers

We are proud to announce nine excellent keynotes of some of the world's most renown biochar scientist.

Conference Keynote: Claudia Kammann


Lecture Title: Biochar use from an Earth-Sciences perspective

Content: The persistence of biochar has from the start caused great interest in its potential role in the global C cycle. Recent studies investigating (technical) geoengineering options found that none qualifies for emergency action if current fossil fuel consumption continues along the IPCC RCP 8.5 pathway. Biochar might actually even be one of the few last-resort options, but can annual NPP (with a small partitioning to biochar) cover our current annual fossil-CO2 emission “sins”?

Research interests: Effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations on plant physiology, ecosystems, biogeochemical feedback mechanisms, and yield quality and quantity; and the "black" backside of surplus atmospheric CO2 and its effects on plant growth: mitigation options involving biochar; besides C sequestration and soil amelioration e.g. reducing GHG fluxes, nitrate capture and retention; and biochar-substrate and biochar-based fertilizer development

Dr. Claudia Kammann, Leader of working group “Climate Change Research in Special Cultures” at the Department of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Hochschule Geisenheim University; studies at Bayreuth and Kiel University; PhD at Gießen University, Germany. Lead of ANS working group on biochar; coordinator for short-term scientific misions (STSMs) within the COST action.


Conference Keynote: Johannes Lehmann


Lecture Title: Persistence of biochar: matching variable mineralization to variable needs

Content: The basics about the chemistry of biochar RE persistence, what persistence do we need in the context of a LCA and in the context of climate mitigation.

Research interests: During the past 10 years, he has focused on nano-scale investigations of soil organic matter, the biogeochemistry of black carbon and sequestration in soil. He has led the quest to steamline and condense scientific biochar knowledge into a state-of-the-art collection by editing the famous textbook “Biochar for Environmental Management – Science, Technology and Implementation” (2nd Edition) that was published in spring 2015 and has become a standard among biochar researchers as well as students.

Dr. Johannes Lehmann, Professor of soil biogeochemistry and soil fertility management at Cornell University, received his graduate degrees in Soil Science at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. Dr. Lehmann is a member of the steering group of the International Soil Carbon Network, has testified in the US congress, briefed the President’s council of advisors, and was part of Workgroup 2 on Monitoring and Assessment of Sustainable Land Management of UNCCD. He serves on the Technical Management Advisory Committee of USAID legume program and the U.S. Department of Energy Biomass R&D Committee.  Dr. Lehmann has authored more than 200 journal publications, is editor-in-chief of the journal Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems and co-founder and vice-Chair of the Board of the International Biochar Initiative.

Keynote session 1: Yakov Kuzyakov


Lecture Title: Biochar stability in soil: Experiments, meta-analysis and consequences for carbon sequestration

Content: Results of 10 years old experiment to decomposition of 14C labeled biochar in soil will be presented and integrated with meta-analysis of biochar decomposition studies. Consequences for the improvement of soil fertility and carbon sequenstration will be discussed.

Dr. Yakov Kuzyakov, Dept. of Soil Science of Temperate Ecosystems and Dept. of Agricultural Soil Science, Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Germany; Soil biogeochemistry with strong focus on application of C and N isotopic approaches for investigation of terrestrial C and N cycles in soil-plant-microorganisms system.

Keynote session 2: Stephen Joseph


Lecture Title: Biochar Can Provide a Return to Both the Biochar  Producer and the Biochar User. Recent Developments and Case Studies

Content: This talk will focus on technologies and products that are now being produced and sold commercially worldwide with an emphasis on the Asian  Pacific Region.  It will also discuss innovations that have been developed to reduce the cost of application.  Specific case studies will be presented that outline the returns that are being realised.

Dr. Stephen Joseph is a Visiting professor at University of New South Wales and Research Fellow University of Newcastle, Australia. Dr. Joseph has a B.Sc. in metallurgic engineering and a Ph.D. in Architecture and Applied Anthropology.  He has been a CEO of a renewable energy company and a biochar based fertiliser company for 30 years before retiring to take up full time research

Keynote session 3: Gerhard Cornelissen


Lecture Title: Organic compounds and biochar: strong binding and limited bioavailability

Content: Organic compounds such as PAHs are strongly bound by biochar. This limits the bioavailability of co-synthesized PAHs, which pose no risk in most cases. The strong binding can also be used in a soil and sediment remediation perspective.

Dr. Gerard Cornelissen is a technical expert at the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute and a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. His research focuses on sorption of organic compounds to soils and sediments, passive sampling methods, and agronomic and socio-economic aspects of biochar implementation in the tropics.

Keynote Session 4: Omer Frenkel


Lecture Title: The effect of biochar application on plant health; what should we learn while designing biochar substrates?

Content: Biochar in substrates affect plant diseases and has a great potential to control the pathogens, but is not without risks. The lecture will discuss the current knowledge about the influence of biochar on plant diseases and will suggest aspects that should be implemented while designing biochar substrates.

Dr. Omer Frenkel from the Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center, Israel. Omer Frenkel is a plant pathologist and an epidemiologist. He is a researcher at the department of Plant Pathology and Weed Science at Bet Dagan and a member of the IBRN. His research interests include population biology of fungal pathogens and the influence of biochar on soil borne pathogens.

Keynote session 5: Alessandro Peressotti


Lecture Title: Biochar in Tropical Agriculture: A green light from research?

Content: Implementing tropical agriculture systems poses several challenges to scientists that span from soil science to ecology and economics. The talk will present findings and new challenges of research and implementation programs in tropical countries.

Dr. Alessandro Peressotti is a Professor of Ecology at DISA-University of Udine. He is coordinator of the ACP S&T Project Biochar plus: Energy, health, agricultural and environmental benefits from biochar use: building capacities in ACP Countries.

Keynote of the session 6: Nele Ameloot


N2O emission from biochar amended soils: clear reductions, unclear mechanisms

Content: In most cases bio-induced N2O emission reductions are substantial, however there is still a lack of fundamental understanding of the N2O production and consumption processes in biochar amended soils. This lecture will focus on the mechanisms involved  in biochar-induced N2O  emission reductions.

Dr. Nele Ameloot is a post-doc researcher at the Ghent University. Her research focuses on the effects of biochar on soil microorganisms and on N2O emission mechanisms.