Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/31/2015
Publication Date: 4/22/2016
Citation: He, Z., Uchimiya, S.M., Guo, M. 2016. Production and characterization of biochar from agricultural by-products: Overview and use of cotton biomass residues. In: Guo, M., He, Z., Uchimiya, S.M., editors. Agricultural and Environmental Applications of Biochar: Advances and Barriers. SSSA Special Publication 63. Madison, WI: Soil Science Society of America. pp. 63-86.
Interpretive Summary: Agricultural activities produce a variety of crop residues and processing byproducts. These biomass resources possess appropriate caloric values for pyrolysis for bioenergy and biochar. Taken cotton as an example, all cotton biomass types, from the field stalk, to processing gin trash, to very end byproduct defatted meal cottonseed cake, have been subjected to pyrolysis for renewable energy and bioproducts. Whereas most of early studies have been on the energy aspect, there are more and more studies on the biochar production and characterization recently, showing promising application soil fertilization, carbon sequestration, and environmental remediation. However, the potential impacts of nutrient (such as P) release on the environment should be more rigorously scrutinized with the large-scale application of the mass production of biochar into soil.
Technical Abstract: Biochar is a newly constructed scientific term for a porous carbonaceous solid produced by dry carbonization or pyrolysis and gasification of biomass. Crop residues and agricultural processing byproducts are major source materials for producing bioenergy (syngas and bio-oil) and biochar by pyrolysis. In addition to the feedstock type, pyrolysis parameters such as temperature, pressure, and duration are also critical to determine the yield and characteristics of biochar products. This chapter first reviews the general pyrolysis processes used in biochar production and the analytic methods used in biochar characterization. As a case study, the second part of this chapter is focused on a single crop, cotton, by updating the research activities in pyrolysis, associated production and relevant characterization of biochar from different cotton byproducts (i. e. cotton stalk, cotton boll shell, cotton gin trash, whole cottonseed, cottonseed hull, and defatted cottonseed meal cake). The knowledge and insights derived from these data should be applicable for a variety of agricultural byproduct-based pyrolysis and associated biochar production.