Potential for Pyrolysis Char to Affect Soil Moisture and Nutrient Status of a Loamy Sand Soil
Gaskin, Julia W.
Morris, L. M.
Das, K. C.
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Pyrolysis of biomass for hydrogen fuel and bio-oil produces a char byproduct. There is evidence that land application of char may increase soil water holding capacity and the ability of the soil to retain nutrients. Increases in these soil characteristics could be beneficial to plant growth as well as improving water quality. Chars produced under different conditions and from different feedstocks have different characteristics. Of the common feedstocks tested, peanut hull char contained higher nutrients and had a higher cation ex-change capacity than pine chip, pine bark, or hardwood chip chars. Preliminary moisture release curve data from a Tifton loamy sand indicated moisture holding capacity may be increased at very high rates of char addition. Soil moisture was periodically measured during the growing season in a field study of microplots amended with peanut hull and pine chip pellet char. Although the average soil water content of the plots amended at 22 Mg ha-1 was higher than the control, differences in volumetric water content were only significant on one date.