Posted in | News | Recycling

Biochar to Increase Crop Yields Obtained Using Manure Waste

Researchers at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid have obtained biochar using manure waste, a new material that can improve soil properties and increase crop yields.

Credits: Research group of Valuation of resources at UPM.

The results of the research group of Valuation of resources from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid suggest an optimal solution to manage the manure from chicken and cattle. Biochar, a material obtained after thermal treatment of this waste through pyrolysis, is an organic fertilizer that applied in soils and not only has positive effects on crop yields, but also represents a significant reduction of CO2 emissions compared to the direct application of manure waste on soils.

Waste production, either from urban, industrial or agricultural source, is a major environmental problem in our society. In fact, recycling, reusing and using raw materials from the waste we generate are some of the environmental challenge that we face today. The European Union is indeed investing efforts within its strategy to promote the efficient use of resources.

This waste contains fertilizers, and its production has increased over the last years because of intensive farming and has been traditionally used in soils as an organic amendment. However, its high-volume production and the generation of environmental problems (eutrophication and pollution of groundwater due to its high concentration of nutrients, production of methane emissions and odors) make necessary to search for other waste management routes. It is highlighted the thermal treatment through pyrolysis for large scale production of biochar or biocarbon that can be defined as a carbonaceous material obtained through thermal treatment of biomass at low temperatures and under inert atmosphere.

The research carried out by the Departments of Geological and Mining Engineering and Agricultural Production of UPM shows that the biochar produced from manure of cattle, pigs and chicken is an organic fertilizer with a high content of nutrients, stabilized organic material and high values of cation exchange capacity. These results give evidence of the positive effects of using biochar as a fertilizer on soils for better crop yields.

Besides, the results show that the pyrolysis of manure waste has other additional environmental benefits such as reduced soil nutrient leaching and less waste volume, removal of odor and pathogens of the original material. Pyrolysis of manure waste can drastically reduce CO2 emissions compared to the direct application of manure waste to soils.

These findings are the results of a close collaboration among the research group of Valuation of resources from UPM, Guía Ávila Ingenieros Co. and the Abulense Confederation of Employers, that are interested in searching for new activities that relaunch the economy of marginal agricultural areas like the Valle Amblés (Ávila). These results are of great interest and have immediate practical application in associations of farmers and agrifood companies.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.