Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Application of a full-scale wood gasification biochar as a soil improver to reduce organic pollutant leaching risks

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David WernerORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


BACKGROUND: We investigated the application of biochar to sandy loam soil to reduce leaching of three representative pollutants: a persistent hydrocarbon (phenanthrene; logKOW 4.46), a herbicide (isoproturon; logKOW 2.50), and an antibiotic (sulfamethazine; logKOW 0.28). The wood-derived biochar evaluated in our laboratory study is the solid co-product of a full-scale gasifier feeding a combined heat and power plant. Our work aims to demonstrate multiple environmental benefits with the innovative use of this biochar as soil improver.RESULTS: Batch sorption experiments indicated 5% biochar added to soil enhanced the partitioning coefficient (Kd) by factors of 2 for phenanthrene and 20 for both sulfamethazine and isoproturon. Column leaching experiments indicated a reduced porewater flow rate, up to 80% slower in the column amended with 5% biochar, and reduced pollutant leaching risks. Numerical models interlinked batch and column study observations. CONCLUSION: (i) Biochar enhanced sorption for the hydrophobic pollutant phenanthrene, and even more for the less hydrophobic pollutants sulfamethazine and isoproturon; (ii) reduced porewater flow rates following biochar amendment gave rise to greater opportunity for pollutant-solid interaction; (iii) mixing with soil resulted in biochar fouling affecting pollutant partition, and (iv) irreversible retention by the soil was an important mechanism affecting pollutant transport.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Trinh BS, Werner D, Reid B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology

Year: 2017

Volume: 92

Issue: 8

Pages: 1928-1937

Print publication date: 01/08/2017

Online publication date: 31/01/2017

Acceptance date: 26/01/2017

Date deposited: 29/01/2017

ISSN (print): 0268-2575

ISSN (electronic): 1097-4660

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd


DOI: 10.1002/jctb.5219


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric