2011 Annual Report
Physicochemical Characterization: Gaseous end products will be analyzed with gas chromatographs equipped with thermal conductivity and flame ionization detectors and mass spectrometer for main energy gases and hydrocarbons. Solid end product, biochar, will be washed with acetone to remove tarry residue on its surface. Biochar will be characterized with its functional groups, surface areas, contact angles, calorific values, adsorption capacity for various metals and gases, pyrolytic and oxic thermal degradation patterns, and ash contents. Impact of applying biochar to soil fertility will also be tested. Aqueous and non-aqueous liquid products will be analyzed with a GC/MS and HPLC.
The Principal Investigator (PI) prepared gas, liquid, and solid product samples from hydrothermally carbonizing swine solids and chicken litter. The collaborators at the University of South Carolina analyzed the gas and liquid compositions using gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy. The PI and collaborators analyzed the water quality of leachate samples obtained from experiments with soils amended with hydrochars produced from hydrothermal carbonization of swine solids. The findings were presented at the 2010 American Society of Agronomy annual meeting in Long Beach, California. Delays have occurred in this project due to lab renovations at ARS-Florence. The project will be extended through 9/30/2013.
Monitoring activities included numerous phone calls, emails, and visits between the PI and the collaborators to discuss project plans. The PI visited the collaborators at Columbia, South Carolina, several times to discuss sampling, analytical procedures, research results, experimental design, and writing manuscripts.