DESIGNER BIOCHAR DEVELOPMENT AS A SOIL AMENDMENT
Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research
2011 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
To design biochar as a soil amendment to improve the physico-chemical characteristics of Coastal Plain soils.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Biochar will be made from different feedstock material along with different thermal and chemical activation conditions to produce specific chemical/physical biochar characteristics. The biochars will be designed to allow its eluviation from the surface horizon into subsurface hard layers. Each designed biochar's sorption and leaching characteristics in sandy soil will be evaluated using standard isotherms and laboratory incubation techniques.
This project is related to inhouse objective 1: Develop specifically designed biochar or biochar mixtures that amend sandy SE coastal soils to increase aggregation, improve nutrient retention, sequester organic carbon, improve microbial characteristics, and decrease overall soil strength.
Biochars were made from switchgrass, pine chips, and pecan shells at various pyrolysis temperatures to produce specific chemical/physical biochar characteristics. Biochars were mixed into and incubated in coastal and piedmont soils to assess their abilities to enhance fertility and water holding capacities.
Progress was monitored via informal visits to the North Carolina A&T campus or the ARS research center, emails, and phone calls.