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Characterization of feedstocks and biochars for agricultural use

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Rafaela Feola Conz
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: Piracicaba.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALA/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Carlos Eduardo Pellegrino Cerri; Cristiano Alberto de Andrade; Rafael Otto
Advisor: Carlos Eduardo Pellegrino Cerri

A product of pyrolysis, biochar is a carbon rich material and its structure is responsible for the high resistance to degradation. Biochar is an interesting object of study due to its diverse applications and amendments to the environment. When applied to the soil, it is able to enhance soil physical, chemical and microbiological properties. It is also pointed as an instrument to sequester carbon and an alternative disposal for organic residues as well as energy source. However, the resultant properties of biochar vary greatly considering the diverse options of feedstocks combined with the contrasting production conditions used to obtain the final product. The present study aimed the evaluation of the different chemical and physical properties within a range of diverse biochars, and the assessment of feedstock or pyrolysis temperature mediated changes. The biochars produced combined pyrolysis temperatures (350, 450, 550 and 650 °C) with four feedstocks (sugar cane straw, rice husk, poultry manure and sawdust). In order to assess biochar properties and the temperature or feedstock mediated changes, several analysis were performed in the feedstock and biochars produced. The analysis included pH, cation exchange capacity, carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen content, proximate analysis, nutrient content, as well as spectroscopy performances such as Fourier Transformed Infrared (FTIR), morphological assessment through Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), termogravimetric analysis and lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose contents. The results suggests that temperature influenced greatly some of the chemical properties assessed, such as the contents of C, H, O, volatile matter, ash, fixed C, pH, electrical conductivity, cation exchange capacity. Feedstocks initial macro and micronutrient contents exhibited more influence in the variation of these elements in the biochars. In general, there was an increase in chemical stability in the different biochars with increasing pyrolysis temperature. The high recalcitrance found in biochars enable them to persist within the soil, which was confirmed by the increased levels of C content and decreased CO2 emissions when biochars addition was compared with their feedstocks addition to soils. Moreover, the contribution of biochar in increasing soil pH is very important from a soil fertility standpoint. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 13/09229-0 - Characterization of feedstocks and biochar for agricultural use.
Grantee:Rafaela Feola Conz
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Master