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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Bowling Green, Kentucky » Food Animal Environmental Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #252305

Title: Abiotic and Biotic Effect of Poultry Litter Biochar on Ammonia Removal

item Lovanh, Nanh
item Loughrin, John
item Sistani, Karamat

Submitted to: U.S. Biochar Initiative Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/10/2010
Publication Date: 6/29/2010
Citation: Lovanh, N.C., Loughrin, J.H., Sistani, K.R. 2010. Abiotic and Biotic Effect of Poultry Litter Biochar on Ammonia Removal. U.S. Biochar Initiative Conference. Abstract.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: In the era of climate change, conversion of raw materials such as crop residuals and other waste byproducts into biochar could serve as a sink for carbon sequestration which could help reduce carbon footprint in the atmospheric environment. Biochar could also be used for soil amendment to improve soil conditions as liming agent and provide additional micronutrients for crops. In addition, biochar could be used as absorbent for the removal of heavy metals and other environmental pollutants. In this study, biochar from fast pyrolysis of rice-hull poultry litter was used in biofiltration systems for ammonia removal. The experimental objective was to compare the abiotic and biotic effects of biochar in removing ammonia from air stream. Columns were packed with poultry litter, combination of poultry litter and biochar, and biochar alone for filtration of synthetic ammonia (500 ppm in air). Ammonia was fed through the columns at flowrates which gave empty bed residence times of one minute. Flow meters were used to monitor the flowrates of the influent and effluent. The influent and effluent ammonia concentrations were monitored using a photoacoustic gas analyzer. The pressure drops across the packed columns were observed to be similar for biochar column (65%) and poultry litter/biochar column (70%). Based on the preliminary results, columns packed with biochar alone were able to achieve 90% ammonia reduction. However, the ammonia breakthrough curve was shorter than the breakthrough curve for columns packed with a mixture of biochar and raw poultry litter. The results also showed that the ammonia removal efficiency was about 95% from columns packed with a mixture of poultry litter and biochar. Thus, it appeared that biotic effect from biochar (and poultry litter) prolonged ammonia removal and increased ammonia removal efficiency. Therefore, biochar could be effective packing materials for biofiltration systems for removing air pollutants from livestock production facilities.