University of Limerick
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Biochar from biomass and waste

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journal contribution
posted on 2010-07-29, 16:01 authored by Witold Kwapinski, Corinna M.P. Byrne, Ekaterina Kryachko, Przemyslaw Wolfram, Catherine C. Adley, James J. Leahy, Etelvino Henrique Novotny, Michael H.B. Hayes
There is an increasing realisation that biomass and organic wastes are valuable feedstocks for second generation biorefining processes that give rise to platform chemicals to substitute for dwindling petrochemical resources, and for pyrolysis processes that produce syngas, bio-oil, and biochar from biomass, organic wastes, and the biorefining residuals of the future. The experimental work described has focused on physical properties and compositions of biochars produced from miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus), willow (Salix spp) and pine (Pinus sylvestris) at 500°C and at 400, 500, and 600°C in the case of the miscanthus. Although the morphologies of the cell structures were maintained in the pyrolysis, the surface area of the miscanthus biochar was greatly increased by heating at 600°C for 60 min. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectra showed the disappearance of evidence for the carbohydrate and lignin plant components as the pyrolysis temperature was raised, and the compositions of miscanthus biochars after heating for 10 and for 60 min at 600°C were very similar and composed of fused aromatic structures and with no traces of the aliphatic components in the starting materials. In greenhouse and growth chamber experiments the growth of maize (Zea mays L) seedlings was found to be inhibited by soil amendments with biochar from miscanthus formed at 400°C for 10 min, but stimulated by miscanthus char formed at 600°C for 60 min. In the course of discussion the relevance of the results obtained is related to the roles that soil amendments with biochar can have on soil fertility, carbon sequestration, on the emissions of greenhouse gases from soil, on fertilizer requirements, and on waste management. It is clear that biochar soil amendments can have definite agronomic and environmental benefits, but it will be essential to have clear guidelines for biochar production from various feedstocks and under varying pyrolysis parameters. It will be equally important to have a classification system for biochars that clearly indicate the product compositions that will meet acceptable standards. A case can be made for sets of standard biochars from different substrates that meet the required criteria.


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Journal Waste and Biomass Valorization;1/ 2/ p177-189


Springer Netherlands



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