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.
3. Progress Report
This research relates to inhouse objective: Increase soil organic matter contents to improve soil physical/chemical properties in highly-weathered sandy Coastal Plain soils using cover crops, biochar, and green manures. Collaborators at North Carolina A&T State University produced biochars from pecan shells and pyrolyzed them at low and high temperatures. Spectroscopic analyses demonstrated that the two biochars had different chemical and structural properties. Biochars were laboratory incubated for 120 days in a loamy sand soil. Preliminary results show that biochars increased soil water holding capacity and pH. Project monitoring includes e-mails, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings.