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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Florence, South Carolina » Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #321646

Title: Combustible gas and biochar production from co-pyrolysis of agricultural plastic wastes and animal manures

item Ro, Kyoung

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/15/2014
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Researchers report that manure-derived biochar has considerable potential both for improving soil quality and reducing water pollution. One of obstacles in obtaining manure biochar is its high energy requirement for pyrolyzing wet and low-energy-density animal manures. The combustible gas produced from manure pyrolysis generally does not provide enough energy to sustain the pyrolysis process. Supplementing this process may be achieved with agricultural plastic wastes which have large amounts of available energy. Agricultural plastic films are often used in soil fumigation. After the use, they are usually disposed in landfills. This disposal method is not only expensive, it is also environmentally unsustainable. The objective of this work was to investigate both the energetics of co-pyrolyzing swine solids with spent plastic mulch films and the characteristics of its gas, liquid, and solid byproducts. Based on laboratory-scale pyrolysis experiments, the heating value of the product gas from co-pyrolysis was much higher than that of natural gas. Furthermore, the gas had no detectable toxic fumigants. Energetically sustainable pyrolysis could be achieved by co-pyrolyzing dewatered swine solids with 10% spent plastic mulch film. If more than 10% plastic mulch was used, the co-pyrolysis would generate surplus energy which could be used for local power generation. Biochars produced from co-pyrolyzing plastic mulch and swine solids had similar characteristics to that from pyrolyzing swine solids alone according to their surface area and proton nuclear magnectic resonsnce spectroscopy (1H NMR) spectra (Figure 1). The results of this study demonstrated the potential of using pyrolysis technology to manage two prominent agricultural wastes streams (i.e., agricultural plastic and animal manure) while producing value-added biochar and a power source that could be used for local farm operations. Pilot-scale experiments were also conducted and the highlights will be presented at the meeting.