Reactors for Activating Biochar



Executive Summary


Conventional techniques for biochar activation are characterized by notable disadvantages, including limited yield, excessive temperature requirements, and lengthy treatment intervals. Using their expertise in plasma-based materials processing, MSU researchers have proposed a concept for substantially enhancing the efficiency of biochar activation.  By integrating plasma processing within a falling-bed reactor architecture, the proposed innovation promises a highly customizable, conveyor-free solution for continuous materials processing. 


Description of Technology


Produced through the pyrolysis of biomass, biochar is utilized in a variety of emerging green applications, including soil, air, and water remediation. Its efficacy is further enhanced through activation, which optimizes its surface morphology for specific adsorption applications. Plasma-based processing solutions have previously been demonstrated to successfully activate biochar, resulting in increased surface porosity. The proposed invention offers a novel approach for improving the reliability and throughput of activation by integrating the plasma treatment within a falling-bed reactor. Processing efficiency is further optimized through utilization of a magnet assembly targeted to increase plasma density.


Key Benefits

  • Reduced processing time and input temperature versus traditional thermochemical activation techniques
  • Reduced cost and improved reliability versus conveyor-based plasma solutions



  • Activation of biochar and other carbon feedstocks


Patent Status: 


Patent Pending


Licensing Rights Available:


Full licensing rights


Inventors: Dr. Qi Hua Fan, Martin Toomajian, Dr. Thomas Schuelke


Tech ID: TEC2018-0064


Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Raymond Devito
Technology Manager
Michigan State University