Biochar produced from biosolids using a single-mode microwave: characterisation and its potential for phosphorus removal

Antunes, Elsa, Schumann, James, Brodie, Graham, Jacob, Mohan V., and Schneider, Philip A. (2017) Biochar produced from biosolids using a single-mode microwave: characterisation and its potential for phosphorus removal. Journal of Environmental Management, 196. pp. 119-126.

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The amount of biosolids increases every year, and social and environmental concerns are also rising due to heavy metals and pathogen contamination. Even though biosolids are considered as a waste material, they could be used as a precursor in several applications, especially in agriculture due to the presence of essential nutrients. Microwave assisted pyrolysis (MWAP) is a promising technology to safely manage biosolids, while producing value-added products, such as biochar, that can be used to improve soil fertility. This study examined the impact of pyrolysis temperature between 300 °C and 800 °C on the chemical and physical properties of biochar obtained from biosolids via MWAP. Preliminary phosphorus adsorption tests were carried out with the biochar produced from biosolids. This research demonstrated that pyrolysis temperature affects biochar specific surface area, ash and volatiles content, but does not impact heavily on the pH, chemical composition and crystalline phases of the resultant biochar. Biochar yield decreases as the pyrolysis temperature increases. Phosphorus adsorption capacity of biochar was approximately around 15 mg/g of biochar. Biochar resulting from MWAP is a potential candidate for land application with an important role in water and nutrient retention, due to the high surface area.

Item ID: 49967
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-8630
Keywords: biosolids; biochar; microwave assisted pyrolysis; surface area; pyrolysis temperature; phosphorus removal
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 4 of the following PhD thesis: Dos Santos Antunes, Elsa Marisa (2017) Investigations on biochar production from biosolids via microwave assisted pyrolysis and its potential applications. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Victorian Smart Water Fund (VSWF), Australian Postgraduate Award
Projects and Grants: VSWF project 10OS-018
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2017 02:09
FoR Codes: 40 ENGINEERING > 4016 Materials engineering > 401602 Composite and hybrid materials @ 70%
40 ENGINEERING > 4004 Chemical engineering > 400407 Process control and simulation @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960604 Environmental Management Systems @ 100%
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