Improving Water Quality by Developing Alternative Markets for Poultry Litter Biochar

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http://www.extension.org/67649 Manure from confined animal operations is an environmental liability because of the potential for water and air pollution. The poultry industry in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is under increased regulatory scrutiny due to nitrogen and phosphorous inputs into the Bay. Although poultry litter (PL) is valued as a fertilizer, the cost of shipping the bulky material out of the watershed is prohibitive. One potential solution is to turn the excess litter into energy through pyrolysis. If a market can be developed for poultry litter biochar, more N and P could be removed from the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

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Improving Water Quality by Developing Alternative Markets for Poultry Litter Biochar

  1. 1. Reducing the Impacts of PoultryLitter on Water Quality byDeveloping Alternative Marketsfor Poultry Litter BiocharLouis M. McDonaldAndy Burgess, Jeff Skousen, JamesAnderson, Joshua CookWest Virginia University
  2. 2. The Chesapeake Bay
  3. 3. • EnvironmentalLiabilityPoultryLitter• Economic Asset• Ecological AssetPoultryLitterBiocharMine land reclamationProgrammatic GoalsEutrophication
  4. 4. 400-500 mt litter/year700,000 birds/year3.6 mtbiochar/yearPyrolysis Unit =10.9 mt/day5 million BTUs
  5. 5. Task Objectives1. Chemical & Physical Characterization• Nutrient and salt concentration• Particle size distribution• Batch consistency2. Biological Response• Germination and growth3. Field Trial• Miscanthus and switchgrass
  6. 6. • Rapid decrease in EC• pH was constant ~6.9Salt Concentrations
  7. 7. DOC losses were largerthan DIC lossesDissolved Carbon
  8. 8. 05101520253035404550<230 >230 >60 >10 >5PercentMassSieve SizeM-TypeW-Typeα <0.0001; R2 = 0.96**Sieve Size Distribution
  9. 9. 05000100001500020000250003000035000<230 >230 >60 >10 >5Concentration(ppm)Sieve SizeM-TypeW-Typeα <0.0001; R2 = 0.90***Potassium by Sieve Size
  10. 10. 0500100015002000250030003500<230 >230 >60 >10 >5Concentration(ppm)Sieve SizeM-TypeW-Typeα <0.0001; R2 = 0.97**Calcium by Sieve Size
  11. 11. a aabaabaa6065707580859095100Soil Fertilizer Unt bio lo Unt bio hi 24 lo 24 hi 48 lo 48 hi%GerminatedTreatmentLettuce Germination
  12. 12. 828486889092949698100soil fert unt lo 24 lo 48 loPercentGerminatedTreatmentaaaaaLettuce Germination
  13. 13. ABBB0102030405060708090100Soil 48 trt 24 trt untPercentofWormsTreatmentTrt4 Trt 1Trt 3 Trt 248 hr TopsoilBiochar24 hrWorm Experiments
  14. 14. Greenhouse Production
  15. 15. 0481216200 2 4 6 8 10NumberofLeavesTime (weeks)CommercialBiocharControlGreenhouse Production
  16. 16. Surface Mine Reclamation
  17. 17. Surface Mine Reclamation
  18. 18. Surface Mine Reclamation
  19. 19. Whatever his accomplishments, thissophistication, his artisticpretension, man owes his veryexistence to a 6-inch layer of topsoil –and the fact that it rains.

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