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Biochar Studies at ISTC Tina Dinh, John Ossyra, Derek Vardon, John Scott, Wei Zheng, Nancy Holm, B.K. Sharma.

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Presentation on theme: "Biochar Studies at ISTC Tina Dinh, John Ossyra, Derek Vardon, John Scott, Wei Zheng, Nancy Holm, B.K. Sharma."— Presentation transcript:

1 Biochar Studies at ISTC Tina Dinh, John Ossyra, Derek Vardon, John Scott, Wei Zheng, Nancy Holm, B.K. Sharma

2 ©2011 University of Illinois Board of Trustees. All rights reserved. For permission information, contact the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.

3 Outline Thermo-chemical conversion processes Biochar Potential in Riparian Buffers On-Farm Generation of Biochar and Energy Spent Coffee Ground Biochar 3

4 Major routes for converting biomass into fuels and products Thermochemical Conversion Hydropower Solar Power Wind Power Geothermal Power

5 Biochar Potential for use in Riparian Buffers along with Giant Cane

6  Waste reduction, energy production  Sequester carbon with the aim of mitigation of global warming  Improve soil quality (as a soil amendment)  trapping moisture  helping the soil hold nutrients  attracting more beneficial fungi and microbes  improving cation exchange capacity (CEC)  raising soil pH, and others….  Benefits to the aquatic environment when added to soil.  Adsorbing chemical fertilizers, such as PO 4 3- and NH 4 +.  Preventing the leaching and runoff of nutrients out of the soil and thus protecting the water quality. Benefits of Biochar

7 Effects of Fertilizer Runoff Algae bloom (Eutrophication) – Excess nitrogen levels cause a significant increase in the population of algae – Algae growth results in reduced oxygen levels in rivers and streams, killing other aquatic life – Results in production of algae toxins

8 Giant Cane A native plant of Illinois Easy to plant/grow along local river banks, preventing soil erosion Proposal: Study the effect of biochar use in giant cane Riparian buffers along corn fields to prevent fertilizer runoff

9 Experimental Design/Progress Biochar was applied at a rate of 20 t/ha to greenhouse soil Biochar Thermochemic al method C%H%N%S%N/CH/C Charcoal GreenCommercial Chip EnergyGasification Grass PelletPyrolysis 450°C Grass PelletPyrolysis 750°C Wood Pellet - Wei Pyrolysis

10 Experimental Design/Progress Calcium carbonate was applied at a rate of 1% to greenhouse soil Giant cane rhizomes were planted on 6/9/12 Giant CaneWithout Giant Cane Biochar Plus Soil Chip Energy Biochar Soil Soil only CE Biochar and Ca added to soil Only Ca added to soil

11 Experimental Design/Progress 3/1/13: The greenhouse plants were watered with a solution containing ammonium nitrate and potassium phosphate monobasic Plants watered weekly at a rate similar to natural rainfall conditions in Carbondale

12 Experimental Design/Progress Water samples are collected during every watering Nitrate levels will be analyzed using ion chromatography Phosphate levels will be analyzed using UV-vis spectrophotometry

13 On-Farm Generation of Biochar and Energy

14 Can Biomass Substitute for Propane/Natural Gas in Farms? For a 1000 acre farm with 500 acres of corn each year Corn stover production per acre: 150 bushels = 150 x 56 lbs. = 8400 lbs. = 8400/2000 = 4.2 tons Amount of corn stover potentially available each year = 4.2 x 500= 2100 tons/farm. Assuming only 60% is actually harvested to ensure adequate mineral return to soil, then availability is ~1260 tons/ farm. Adjustments for moisture and losses have to be factored into this calculation. Assume moisture of 20%, and losses of 10%. Then 1 ton is equivalent to 0.72 tons on dry basis. Then actual energy available is 8000 BTU/lb * 2000 lb/ton * 0.72 = MMBTU/ton harvested. Assuming price of biomass including harvesting, collecting, baling, size-reduction, and in-farm transport = $50/ton harvested. Then $ /MMBTU is 50/11.52 = $4.34 /MMBTU. Although well head price for propane gas is approx. $3/MMBTU, but the delivered price for fuel oil and propane in 2012 was slightly over $24/MMBTU. This suggests that there is sufficient spread in the price of energy to consider biomass-based heating at the farm level. This spread is likely to accommodate the required capital and conversion of part of the feedstock to biochar.

15 How much biochar can be generated and what environmental benefits might that provide? We are estimating that about 20% biochar can be generated depending on the type of thermochemical conversion that is carried out. The generated biochar provides potential environmental benefits such as carbon sequestration, reduction in fertilizer/pesticide use, improved productivity in sandy soils, improved water quality and reduced water consumption in irrigated lands. Amount of fertilizer saved: Fertilizer savings on N-basis, considering corn’s fertilizer requirement of 200 lbs. /acre and $3 /lb. of N-fertilizer will be: From our previous studies, the presence of biochar in soil also has the potential to reduce phosphate and ammonium in run-off water by up to 50%, thus improving the quality of run-off water. Fertilizer reduction potential by biochar Amount of fertilizer reduced per acre (lbs.) Savings by using reduced amount of fertilizer ($/acre) 25% %100300

16 Estimates of increased soil productivity: From our previous studies (Illinois Department of Agriculture), we found that with the use of biochar and 50% less fertilizer the corn crop yields were 17% higher (31 bushels higher compared to field with no biochar and 100% fertilizer), while with biochar and 100% fertilizer, the yields were 27% higher (47 bushels higher).

17 On-Farm Biochar Project Look at Gasification Systems to produce Biochar and Energy on-farm Life Cycle Analysis of On-Farm Biochar System Economics of implementing and maintaining this system Changes in carbon cycle from sequestration and increased soil activity Energy centered analysis: potential for cogeneration of heat and electricity Environmental effects of increasing local fertilizer residence time: reduced runoff Define changes in farming practice likely required to implement this system Installment and maintenance of on-farm system, stover harvest and management

18 Spent Coffee Ground Biochar Mass balance yield Sorghum-sudangrass biomass productivity

19 Thank you for your time Questions?


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