Multianalytical characterization of biochar and hydrochar produced from waste biomasses for environmental and agricultural applications.

Affiliation

Dipartimento di Scienze del Suolo, della Pianta e degli Alimenti, Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Via G. Amendola 165/a, 70126, Bari, Italy. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Biochar (BC) and hydrochar (HC) are solid by-products obtained from various types of biomasses through the processes of pyrolysis and hydrothermal carbonization, respectively. Both BC and HC represent a sustainable solution for carbon sequestration and can be used as soil amendments or sorbents for organic and inorganic pollutants. However, the properties of BC and HC largely depend on feedstock and production parameters, which significantly affect their proper use. A detailed characterization of these materials is therefore needed to assess their suitability for environmental and/or agricultural applications. In this work, two BC samples and two HC samples were characterized with a multianalytical approach, including total reflection X-ray fluorescence (TXRF) spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analyses (TG), and pyrolysis coupled to gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS). By comparing BC and HC data, HC showed a higher content of mineral elements, including important plant nutrients and potentially toxic elements. HC produced from solid urban wastes contained also some potentially toxic organic molecules, like chlorinated aromatic compounds. BC samples were characterized by a higher porosity and hydrophobicity than HC, thus being potentially more suitable for the sorption of organic pollutants. HC samples showed a higher content of cellulose and hemicellulose, resulting in a more hydrophilic but less thermally stable material than BC. In conclusion, both BC and HC have interesting properties for environmental and agricultural applications but careful selection of feedstock is needed, especially for HC production.

Keywords

Biochar,Hydrochar,Soil amendment,Sorbent,TXRF,

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