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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


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Title: Use of Biochar from the Pyrolysis of Woody and Herbaceous Organic Matter as Soil Amendments

item Collins, Harold - Hal
item Granatstein, D
item Garcia-perez, M
item Smith, Jeffrey

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/30/2009
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: “Biochar”, a typical by-product of biomass pyrolysis is being promoted for its potential large-scale and low-cost carbon sequestration in soil. Much of the knowledge regarding biochar derives from studies of Terra Preta soils in the Amazonian basin, where biochar-like materials appear to have substantially altered soil physical and chemical properties and led to long-lasting carbon storage and improved crop production. How this material might impact agricultural soils within temperate regions is largely unknown, Validation of biochar as a beneficial soil amendment and carbon sink would add important economic value to the pyrolysis process and spur adoption and further waste utilization. Bio-chars from five waste feedstocks (pine chips, softwood bark, grass seed straw, peanut hulls, anaerobic digested manure fiber) were produced with a pyrolysis unit developed by Washington State University. Biochars were produced at four different temperatures (350, 425, 500 and 600oC). We evaluated each for their influence on the soil properties; pH, buffering capacity, cation exchange capacity, water retention curves, soil nutrient availability (N, P, K, S, micronutrients) soil biological activity, and C sequestration potentials of five soil types. Activated charcoal was included as a standard analysis and comparison to biochars.

Last Modified: 06/28/2017
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