Reverse engineering of biochar

Veronica L. Morales*, Francisco J. Perez-Reche, Simona M. Hapca, Kelly L. Hanley, Johannes Lehmann, Wei Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


This study underpins quantitative relationships that account for the combined effects that starting biomass and peak pyrolysis temperature have on physico-chemical properties of biochar. Meta-data was assembled from published data of diverse biochar samples (n = 102) to (i) obtain networks of intercorrelated properties and (ii) derive models that predict biochar properties. Assembled correlation networks provide a qualitative overview of the combinations of biochar properties likely to occur in a sample. Generalized Linear Models are constructed to account for situations of varying complexity, including: dependence of biochar properties on single or multiple predictor variables, where dependence on multiple variables can have additive and/or interactive effects; non-linear relation between the response and predictors; and non-Gaussian data distributions. The web-tool Biochar Engineering implements the derived models to maximize their utility and distribution. Provided examples illustrate the practical use of the networks, models and web-tool to engineer biochars with prescribed properties desirable for hypothetical scenarios. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-174
Number of pages12
JournalBioresource Technology
Early online date18 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • physico-chemical properties
  • slow-pyrolysis
  • correlation networks
  • generalized linear models
  • web-tool
  • contaminated soils
  • organic-compounds
  • black carbon
  • charcoal
  • manure
  • temperature
  • remediation
  • mechanisms
  • adsorption
  • fertilizer


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