This presentation will overview the advanced use of biochar technology for sustainable stormwater management within the Chesapeake Bay Region. Biochar, a carbonaceous material synthesized through pyrolysis or gasification of (primarily) agricultural and forest wastes or biomass, offers numerous benefits, including enhanced soil fertility, improved water retention, pollutant filtration and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Biochars are considered carbon negative because the thermochemical processes used in their production sequester carbon into highly stable fixed carbon content, ranging from 30+% to 80+%, depending on the feedstock. This carbon sequestration contributes to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and can qualify for carbon credits, supporting a climate-friendly circular economy.
Biochars are fast becoming components of innovative practices in the stormwater industry – primarily as a green infrastructure bioretention amendment. The ability of various biochars to adsorb and neutralize a range of pollutants – organic and inorganic, significantly increase soil porosity and water-retention capacity, retain and slowly release non-soluble nutrients for plant uptake, and improve soil microbiota also make them ideal for supporting and expediting vegetative growth. Physical and chemical adsorption attributes of biochars contribute to binding and elimination of harmful contaminants in stormwater treatment systems. Biochar-amended biofiltration systems have been found to efficiently remove a wide range of pollutants, including total nitrogen (32 – 94%), total phosphorus (45 – 99%), heavy metals (27 – 100%), organics (54 – 100%), microbial pollutants (log10 removal: 0.78 – 4.23), as well as per-and polyfluoroalkyl “forever chemicals” and other emerging toxics from urban runoff and contaminated soil and water.
The presentation will also address the roles of various biochars in green infrastructure, emphasizing biochars’ ability to address environmental challenges in a changing climate. The session will cover next-generation green infrastructure designs that incorporate targeted biochars, and their demonstrated capacity to enhance green stormwater management, improving water quality, and reducing pollutant loads.

Speaker Bio:

Dominique Lueckenhoff

Dominique Lueckenhoff serves as the Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs, EHS & Sustainability and Director, Climate & Envirotech Innovation at Hugo Neu Corporation. Reporting to the Chair and CEO, she leads the company’s global efforts in corporate sustainability, climate resiliency, environment, health and safety compliance, practices and policy, public and community affairs, and green business, particularly green treatment technologies growth and investment with a focus on community health and regeneration, and on Kearny Point, Hugo Neu’s billion-dollar sustainable redevelopment commercial/industrial campus. Ms. Lueckenhoff also manages Hugo Neu’s sponsorship support and partnership with a variety of public, private, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions, including that of the Stevens Institute of Technology’s Environmental Engineering Sustainability Management Program, supporting the Hugo Neu Sustainability Seminar Series and graduate student mentoring activities.