Practice Abstract – Assessment of Biochar for Nutrient Retention

Biochar is known to be a potential adsorbent material in treating nutrient-rich or polluted waters. The biochar’s ability to retain nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous from agricultural waters was assessed by performing sorption experiments in the laboratory by alchemia-nova and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Two distinct biochars were tested. Ammonium was well adsorbed by all biochars (20-36%), the activation did not have a great influence on the adsorption capacity.  The main result is that both biochars in their original states can be used to retain ammonium. Direct benefits of the application are the possibility to apply activated biochar to the field, thus reducing the need for artificial fertilizer, reducing nitrogen leaching and increasing the amount of carbon in the soil and thus the soil structure.

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