Fungai N.D. Mukome, Xiaoming Zhang, Lucas C.R. Silva, Johan Six, and Sanjai J. Parikh. (2013). “Use of chemical and physical characteristics to investigate trends in biochar feedstocks.”Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry Just Accepted Manuscript. DOI: 10.1021/jf3049142.
Abstract: Studies have shown that pyrolysis method and temperature are the key factors which influence biochar chemical and physical properties; however, information on biochar feedstocks is more accessible to consumers, making feedstock a better measure for selecting biochars. This study characterizes physical and chemical properties of commercially available biochars and investigates trends in biochar properties related to feedstock material to develop guidelines for biochar use. Twelve biochars were analyzed for physical and chemical properties. Compiled data from this study and from literature (n = 85) were used to investigate trends in biochar characteristics related to feedstock. Analysis of compiled data reveals that despite clear differences in biochar properties from feedstocks of algae, grass, manure, nutshells, pomace and wood (hard and soft woods), characteristic generalizations can be made. Feedstock was a better predictor of biochar ash content and C/N ratio but surface area was also temperature dependent for wood derived biochar. Significant differences in ash content (grass and manure > wood) and C/N ratio (soft woods > grass and manure) enabled the first presentation of guidelines for biochar use based on feedstock material.