Lookup NU author(s): Professor David Werner
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.
Author(s): Trinh BS, Werner D, Reid B
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology
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
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