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Thursday, March 16 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Poster: Pyrolytic Treatment of Soils Remediates Heavy Hydrocarbons and Enhances Fertility

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Pyrolysis of biomass to produce biochar offers potential to improve soil agricultural quality and sequester carbon. Our research has integrated techniques frequently used in biochar production and soil remediation by thermal desorption to quickly remediate soils contaminated with recalcitrant heavy hydrocarbons from weathered oil spills. This approach preserves a fraction of soil organic carbon that are lost in other thermal technologies such as incineration.
We built a 0.5L fixed bed reactor to conduct bench-scale pyrolysis experiments, and determined appropriate processing conditions via thermogravimetric analysis. Plant toxicity studies were conducted using treated and untreated soils. Elemental analysis and SEM/FTIR microscopy are among the methods used to characterize pyrolyzed soils. Results show that pyrolysis is an effective way to reduce TPH below regulatory levels without significant formation of PAHs. In addition, plant trials have shown higher biomass production in pyrolyzed soils over contaminated and incinerated soils. Characterization experiments are ongoing to describe the effect that pyrolysis has on remaining heavy hydrocarbons, soil density and mobility, and agricultural properties such as carbon content, water holding capacity, and cation exchange capacity.
Results suggest that pyrolysis may have an important niche as a remediation strategy to quickly remove TPH below regulatory standards while preserving soil fertility and sequestering carbon.


Thursday March 16, 2017 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Exhibit Hall BRC