Biochar Production through Slow Pyrolysis of Animal Manure


Biochar is a carbon-rich product resulting from pyrolysis, where biomass (such as
wood chips, corn stover, and manure) is thermally treated at high temperatures
under oxygen limited conditions (Figure 1). Pyrolysis produces syn-gas and bio-oil,
fuels that can be used for heating or energy production, and a solid residual known
as biochar. Biochar is porous, has a high carbon content, and low density (5 to 20
pounds per cubic foot) and has recently been used as a soil amendment to foster
soil health. When integrated into fields it can sequester carbon, improve soil fertility
and crop yield, decrease nitrous oxide emissions (a potent greenhouse gas), and
improve nitrogen retention and reduce nitrate leaching (a groundwater
contaminate) (Lehmann and Joseph 2015; Ahmed et al. 2019; Xu et al. 2016;
Bradley, Larson, and Runge 2015; Sanford and Larson 2020a; 2020b)

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