Biochar Impact Exploration

Biochar for Scotland: creating value from waste

Isle Utilities explored the benefits and impacts of biochar made from biosolids and waste streams for our client, Scottish Water.

Biochar produced from waste can help mitigate carbon emissions by sequestering carbon, enhancing soil health and promoting carbon storage. To date, research around biochar production and use has predominantly centered on biochar from plant-based sources. Exploring water utility
feedstocks, like sewage sludge, could yield significant value, yet research is still in the early stages. Isle undertook research to determine the current state of biochar knowledge and identify the value it could provide for Scotland. The team critically reviewed evidence and facilitated a
panel of globally recognised experts to address the topic. Experts assessed and prioritized nine possible uses, including four that could have a benefit within Scottish Water operations. They also identified 16 research needs to advance Scotland’s valorization of biochar.

Benefits of Approach/Innovation

Delivering insights: Isle’s review ensured our client is equipped with the very latest global knowledge on the value of biochar.

Facilitating expert collaboration: By bringing together leading biochar experts, we were able to provide our client with insights and opportunities for inquiry.

Promoting informed decision making: Our report’s recommendations not only prioritize options based on their anticipated value to Scotland but also address risks and pinpoint areas for further research.

Specialist Services Involved:

Evidence review: Isle applied its scientific and engineering expertise to critically review global evidence on biochar production and usage.

Connecting global experts: We used our extensive global network to identify and bring together leading biochar experts. Consequently, we curated diverse perspectives and insights for our client.

Workshop facilitation: Isle facilitated a workshop featuring an expert panel which addressed stakeholder questions and fostered in-depth discussions on key issues.


Comprehensive evidence review: Our expert review laid the groundwork for future assessments of sewage sludge-based biochar (SSBB), which are still in the early stages.

Identifying potential solutions: Isle identified 9 potential different uses of biochar, of which 4 could have a benefit within Scottish Water processes.

Environmental uncertainty review: Isle highlighted uncertainties about environmental benefits and impacts and pinpointed areas for further research to promote confidence in future decision-making.

Key Contacts:

For inquiries and further information, please contact Karyn Georges


Service Spotlight
Isle Utilities worked with Scottish Water to explore the environmental and financial benefits and impacts of biochar made from biosolids and waste streams.
Identified 4 uses of biochar from which our client could benefit
Brought together leading biochar experts to provide diverse insights and opportunities for inquiry
Pinpointed areas for future research
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