Special projects between Bavaria and Georgia

PD Dr. B. Glaser

Soil Physics
Universit├Ąt Bayreuth

Dr. C. Steiner

Dept. Agricult. Engineering
University of Georgia

Biochar - Production, Development and Characterization for its Use as Soil Amendment

Pyrolysis generates char (Biochar), oil and gas products which can all be used as fuels. However, removal of crop residues for energy production can have deleterious effects on soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and consequently on soil fertility. Pyrolysis of crop residues with Biochar-C returned to the soil may help maintain or increase stable SOC pools and improve soil fertility. Dr. Glaser did pioneering work identifying Biochar as a key factor for formation and sustainable fertility of Terra Preta (www.bayceer.uni-bayreuth.de/biochar). The Biorefining and Carbon Cycling Program at UGA is capable to produce Biochar from various feedstock and under various production techniques (www.biorefinery.uga.edu). The proposed collaboration between the University of Bayreuth and the University of Georgia aims at optimizing material properties of Biochar. This increases the immediate benefits for agricultural use and thus reducing the conflicts between different land uses and establishes a significant carbon sink.

Final report

In total, 66 biochars of different origin (feed stock and process) were investigated. From our results, we suggest the following biochar material properties thresholds: Molar O/C ratio < 0.6, molar H/C ratio < 0.4, Black Carbon content >15%, PAH content lower than national and / or international soil background values. Furthermore, a biochar special issue in Journal of Environmental Quality will be published in 2011.

Detailed final report ( pdf, 366 KB)



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