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Agriculture 2015, 5(4), 991-1002; doi:10.3390/agriculture5040991

Removing Gaseous NH3 Using Biochar as an Adsorbent

1
USDA-ARS Coastal Plains Soil, Water and Plant Research Center, Florence, SC 29501, USA
2
USDA-ARS Southern Regional Research Center, New Orleans, LA 70124, USA
3
Department of Natural Resources, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, NC 27411, USA
4
USDA-ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Peoria, IL 61604, USA
5
Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Les Copeland
Received: 30 June 2015 / Revised: 21 September 2015 / Accepted: 25 September 2015 / Published: 30 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar on Soil Fertility and Crop Production)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [238 KB, uploaded 30 September 2015]   |  

Abstract

Ammonia is a major fugitive gas emitted from livestock operations and fertilization production. This study tested the potential of various biochars in removing gaseous ammonia via adsorption processes. Gaseous ammonia adsorption capacities of various biochars made from wood shaving and chicken litter with different thermal conditions and activation techniques were determined using laboratory adsorption column tests. Ammonia adsorption capacities of non-activated biochars ranged from 0.15 to 5.09 mg·N/g, which were comparable to that of other commercial activated carbon and natural zeolite. There were no significant differences in ammonia adsorption capacities of steam activated and non-activated biochars even if the surface areas of the steam activated biochars were about two orders of magnitude greater than that of non-activated biochars. In contrast, phosphoric acid activation greatly increased the biochar ammonia adsorption capacity. This suggests that the surface area of biochar did not readily control gaseous NH3 adsorption. Ammonia adsorption capacities were more or less linearly increased with acidic oxygen surface groups of non-activated and steam-activated biochars. Phosphoric acid bound to the acid activated biochars is suspected to contribute to the exceptionally high ammonia adsorption capacity. The sorption capacities of virgin and water-washed biochar samples were not different, suggesting the potential to regenerate spent biochar simply with water instead of energy- and capital-intensive steam. The results of this study suggest that non-activated biochars can successfully replace commercial activated carbon in removing gaseous ammonia and the removal efficiency will greatly increase if the biochars are activated with phosphoric acid. View Full-Text
Keywords: gaseous ammonia; biochar; adsorption; activation; regeneration gaseous ammonia; biochar; adsorption; activation; regeneration
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ro, K.S.; Lima, I.M.; Reddy, G.B.; Jackson, M.A.; Gao, B. Removing Gaseous NH3 Using Biochar as an Adsorbent. Agriculture 2015, 5, 991-1002.

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