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Using biomass waste in the remediation of degraded Land

Using biomass waste in the remediation of degraded Land

Atkinson, Chris (2017) Using biomass waste in the remediation of degraded Land. In: NexGen Technologies for Mining and Fuel Industries, 15-17 February 2017, Dehli, India.

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There has been considerable research into the production of biochar, pyrolysed biomass, which produces a carbon rich material and facilitates long-term CO2 sequestration. The use of this material in agricultural soils suggests that there may also be productivity benefits to be gained along with atmospheric CO2 storage. A number of possible reasons why these biochar derived benefits may, or may not, occur have been suggested and include, an additional source of crop nutrition (acting as a fertilizer), as a modifier of the soil physical, chemical and biological environment (acting as soil conditioner) and as possible improver of crop water availability (acting to delay the onset of environmental stress). The apparent capacity of biochar to produce a diverse range of impacts when incorporated into soil appears to depend on a number of factors, these include the feedstock and the protocol used in its pyrolysis. The chemical nature of the biochar produced can be varied, but controllable, given these factors. Importantly, this flexibility suggests that production could enable biochar structure and function to be designed for a specific end use (‘Smart Biochar’). This paper examines recent research which supports the notion that biochar products, not only have a supplementary role in agriculture, but also a role in environmental management, by provision of materials which facilitate soil remediation. It will also, more specially, examine the potential to design and produce biochars derived from combinations of various feedstocks and pyrolysis protocols to produce smart biochars to amend degraded and contaminated soils. It can be concluded that the production of biochar from waste biomass can provide a means of sequestering atmospheric CO2 it also has an important contribution to increasing the function of poor soils with respect to agriculture use and environmental management. Importantly, here there are also opportunities through the selection of feedstocks and the control of the pyrolysis process that has the potential to produce biochars which are designed for a specific purpose, i.e. ‘smart biochars’ for environmental management.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Additional Information: This is a review document and therefore not appropriate for REF
Uncontrolled Keywords: Biochar; Pyrolysis; Smart biochar; Degraded land and soils
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Ecosystem Services Research Group
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2017 11:11

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