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Sustainable Uses of Biochar


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Arranged by IET Scotland South East

Date and Time

16 January 2014 - 19:00-20:30


Edinburgh, United Kingdom - icon_popup  (See map)


Organised by the Scotland South East local network.

About this event

Sustainable Uses of Biochar is a lecture given by Professor Raffaella Ocone, Chemical Engineering, Heriot-Watt University.

When organic materials are thermally decomposed in the absence of oxygen, one of the resulting products is biochar. Biochar is a solid compound rich in carbon and inorganic elements. Its addition to the ground locks up carbon and supply minerals, thus acting as soil enhancer. Biochar can prevent nutrients leaching and water contamination; its property of retaining soil moisture was first known over 2,000 years ago. This specific use of biochar has the additional benefit of removing carbon from the atmosphere: a portion of carbon produced by plants via photosynthesis is locked in the biochar and stored in soil. This is only one example of the number of applications that biochar enjoys as testified by the interest of researchers from various disciplines for a material known and produced since ancient times.


Raffaella Ocone, FREng, FRS holds the Chair of Chemical Engineering in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University (HWU). Before joining HWU, she was a Reader in Chemical Engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Nottingham; Lecturer at the University of Naples, Italy; and Visiting Professor at Louisiana State University, USA and the University Claude Bernard, France. In 2007 she was awarded the title of Cavaliere of the order of Merit of the Italian Republic. She held a Royal Academy of Engineering/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship and a Royal Society of Edinburgh/Scottish Government Support Fellowship to model carbon capture through chemical looping technology.

Raffaella has 25 years of experience in modelling complex spanning from the hydrodynamics of granular material to the kinetics of cracking of heavy oils. She currently works in the area of carbon capture investigating new technologies (chemical looping combustion) to produce clean energy and studying the production of biochar for carbon capture. She has contributed about 180 papers in learned journals and at International conferences. She has published a book on "Transport Phenomena" (Elsevier) and contributed a number of book chapters. She has an interest in the teaching of Ethics to Engineers and she chaired the Royal Academy of Engineering Teaching Ethics working group.

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