Home About Browse Search

Almqvist, Robert, 2017. A lab study of an iron-coated biochar as a phosphate mitigation tool. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: SLU, Department of Molecular Sciences



Nutrients in leachate water resulting from manmade activities are recognized as a major problem leading to eutrophication worldwide. In Sweden and other Baltic countries, agricultural activities are a big contributor to eutrophication of the Baltic Sea. In order to eliminate these problems, different techniques have been trialled over the years with mixed results. One method using magnetite biochar has been explored due to its adsorption properties allowing it to attract negatively charged chemical ions such as phosphate in leachate water. Biochar itself has a limited capacity to attract phosphate via surface-surface molecular interaction, but chemical treatment of plain biochar can change its chemical behaviour. The main objective of this present experiment was to determine the adsorption properties of magnetite biochar as a phosphate mitigation tool in a laboratory study. Biochar, “Skogens kol”, was treated with an iron(II) /iron(III)-mixture resulting in formation of an iron oxide, magnetite, on the biochar surface. Adsorption experiment results revealed the magnetite biochar adsorbed twenty times as much phosphate in comparison to the non-treated biochar, where adsorption was little to none. A follow up column leaching experiment showed that the highest phosphate application rates had accumulated an additional ± 5.6 mg PO4 and ± 9.3 mg PO4 respectively for columns containing magnetite biochar in comparison to columns containing only sand, indicating adsorption of phosphate at the magnetite biochar. The contact time between the biochar and the phosphate, < 10 hours, was much lower in the column experiment in contrast to the adsorption experiment and is therefore suggested as a main contributor to the differing results.
Both the adsorption and column leaching experiments showed distinct adsorption abilities when using the Fe-coated biochar in comparison to the control. The results suggest that application of Fe-coated biochar as a phosphate mitigation tool has potential for commercial application. However, further research on the importance of contact time with phosphate, pH conditions and stability of the biochar’s adsorption properties over time is suggested.

Main title:A lab study of an iron-coated biochar as a phosphate mitigation tool
Authors:Almqvist, Robert
Supervisor:Cederlund, Harald and Riddle, Matthew
Examiner:Stenström, John
Series:Molecular Sciences
Volume/Sequential designation:2017:20
Year of Publication:2017
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:NY003 Agricultural Programme - Soil/Plant 270 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Department of Molecular Sciences
Keywords:biochar, phosphate, iron, magnetite, nutrient leaching, eutrophication, mitigation
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Agricultural research
Soil science and management
Life sciences
Deposited On:16 Nov 2017 08:23
Metadata Last Modified:16 Nov 2017 08:23

Repository Staff Only: item control page