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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Physical, Chemical, and Adsorptive Properties of Ash/biochar from A Gasification System

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this research is to conduct chemical and physical analysis on the affects in water filtration of various qualities of ash/biochar from the gasification system.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Coaltec will provide various samples of ash/biochar to the USDA-ARS for analysis. These samples will be produced by varying fuel blends and operating parameters in the gasifier. The USDA-ARS will determine key physical and chemical properties of these samples.


3.Progress Report

Under this agreement, Coaltec was to provide various samples of ash/biochar from various gasifiers to the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service for analysis. This is a non-funded agreement and therefore due to the unavailability of funds, it was not possible to receive samples from Coaltec. The Principal Investigator for this agreement and staff at Coaltec communicated frequently this past year as a possibility of funding appeared to be on the horizon. Coaltec representatives were in several meetings with the Environmental Committee of the West Virginia Coal Association in an attempt to gather funding to test the ability of both gasification and pyrolysis chars to remove certain metals from water supplies. There are high concentrations of some metals in certain rock layers that overlie the West Virginia coal seams that are surface mined. The metals are being carried into the streams through rain and surface water runoff potentially creating environmental concerns. An interest from several coal companies was apparent but no funding was gathered yet so far. Nonetheless, a poultry farmer in Mooresville, WV, who has a gasifier in his poultry farm, has been sending samples of gasifier ash to our laboratory. These samples are produced from the gasifier in the farm he manages, and the feedstock for the gasifier is poultry litter. He has sent a few samples from different gasifier conditions, including some that he purposely left aging outside in the "elements". This year we have started to characterize these samples for physical, chemical and adsorptive properties. We have also performed some leaching studies to determine if these gasification chars potentially leach any significant amounts of important elements of concern, such as phosphorous, sodium, heavy metals, arsenic, etc. Significant progress was made in characterizing a small set of gasification char samples produced by the poultry farmer. The members of West Virginia University and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will meet with scientist to discuss the use of poultry char/carbon for remediation of heavy metals commonly present in land reclamation sites within the state. The progress was monitored via periodic email and phone conversation.


Last Modified: 9/20/2014
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