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Pyrolysis of Wood Excelsior Residues for Biochar and Renewable Energy Production

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting  1801155.(doi:10.13031/aim.201801155)
Authors:   Kwabena Addae Sarpong, Andrea Salazar, Antonio Ortega, Keanu Telles, Koffi Djaman, Michael K. O’Neill, Delia J Valles-Rosales, Catherine E Brewer
Keywords:   biochar, biomass, excelsior, hybrid poplar, pyrolysis, renewable energy, woody residue


Profitable utilization of woody residues from the excelsior industry is an on-going challenge. About 50% of the wood log feedstock ends up as finished products with the remaining 50% becoming residue. Biochar production from the woody residue has the potential to generate income for the industry through biochar sales for soil amendment and water filtration materials. On-site pyrolysis has the added advantage of providing bio-energy to the excelsior processing facility. The objectives of this study are to evaluate the potential of adding pyrolysis to the excelsior production process and the potential of excelsior residue-derived biochar as a soil amendment for hybrid poplar growth in an agroforestry setting. Parameters for the hybrid poplar growth study included three levels of biochar application (0, 10 and 20 ton ha-1), and two levels of irrigation based on measured reference evapotranspiration (ETos) (75 and 100 % ETos). On 5 May 2017, single 25-cm hybrid poplar OP-367 cuttings were planted into 25 kg of un-amended sandy loam soil with 3 pots per plot (treatment) with 4 replications. Soil samples were analyzed for soil pH, EC and nutrients prior to the start of the study and after the first growing season. The cuttings were watered at a 100% ETos level until shoots started developing, then the treatments were applied. Leaf samples were collected in mid-August 2017 for tissue analysis. Soil moisture content was recorded daily over the growing season. The trial is being continued for a second season in 2018.

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