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Special Issue "Sustainable Biochar"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Zhiyong Jason Ren

Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, 80309, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Biochar Technology; Environmental Sustainability; Energy and Resource Recovery; Water and Wastewater

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Biochar, as a sustainable material, has been used in many different areas. Biochar can be produced from different feedstock, and carries great potential to achieve sustainability for material, energy, agriculture, and environmental applications. In this Special Issue, we welcome your contribution to any aspect of biochar research and development, including, but not limited to, biochar production, biochar characterization, biochar application in different areas, and system development and analysis.

Dr. Zhiyong Jason Ren
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • biochar
  • sustainability
  • water and wastewater
  • soil amendment
  • energy material
  • remediation
  • carbon sequestration

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Biochar Based Microbial Fuel Cell for Enhanced Wastewater Treatment and Nutrient Recovery
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 169; doi:10.3390/su8020169
Received: 17 December 2015 / Revised: 4 February 2016 / Accepted: 5 February 2016 / Published: 14 February 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3342 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Waste-wood derived biochar was evaluated for the first time as both an anode and cathode material, simultaneously, in an overflow style microbial fuel cell (MFC) using actual industrial wastewater. Results show that the average chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal was 95% with a
[...] Read more.
Waste-wood derived biochar was evaluated for the first time as both an anode and cathode material, simultaneously, in an overflow style microbial fuel cell (MFC) using actual industrial wastewater. Results show that the average chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal was 95% with a reduction rate of 0.53 kg·COD·m−1·d−1 in closed operation mode. The ammonia and phosphorous reductions from wastewater was 73% and 88%, respectively. Stable power production was observed with a peak power density measured at 6 W/m3. Preliminary contributions of physical, biological, and electrochemical COD removals were evaluated, and the results show such combined mechanisms give BC an advantage for MFC applications. Nutrient recovery data showed high levels of macronutrients adsorbed onto the spent biochar electrodes, and phosphorus concentration increased from 0.16 g·kg−1 in raw BC to up to 1.9 g·kg−1 in the cathode. These findings highlight the use of biochar as electrodes in MFCs to facilitate simultaneous wastewater treatment and power production with additional agronomic benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Biochar)
Open AccessArticle The Potential Benefits and Limitations of Corn Cob and Sewage Sludge Biochars in an Infertile Oxisol
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 131; doi:10.3390/su8020131
Received: 4 December 2015 / Revised: 21 January 2016 / Accepted: 26 January 2016 / Published: 29 January 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2842 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The thermal conversion of sewage sludge to biochar offers a promising alternative use for a hazardous waste material with potential benefits to agricultural productivity and soil quality. Three short-term greenhouse experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of corn cob (CC) and sewage
[...] Read more.
The thermal conversion of sewage sludge to biochar offers a promising alternative use for a hazardous waste material with potential benefits to agricultural productivity and soil quality. Three short-term greenhouse experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of corn cob (CC) and sewage sludge (SS) biochars, with their anaerobically treated counterparts, on soil properties and plant growth in an infertile Oxisol. The anaerobically treated SS biochar showed the greatest concentration of bioavailable essential nutrients, but treatment only resulted in increased yields for the SS biochar in the first crop in the absence of added fertilizer. Both CC and SS biochars in combination with fertilizer doubled plant growth compared to the control in the first crop cycle, produced no significant effect in the second cycle, and more than tripled plant growth for the SS biochars in the third cycle. High ash content with high nutrient contributions (especially P) and a persistent liming effect explain the benefits of the SS biochars to plant growth. The SS biochar showed promise in mitigating the negative effects of soil Mn toxicity. Sewage sludge biochars reduced Cd bioavailability and had no significant effect on the bioavailability of other potentially toxic metals compared to the control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Biochar)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Biochar Application in Malaysian Sandy and Acid Sulfate Soils: Soil Amelioration Effects and Improved Crop Production over Two Cropping Seasons
Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 16756-16770; doi:10.3390/su71215842
Received: 23 October 2015 / Revised: 11 December 2015 / Accepted: 15 December 2015 / Published: 18 December 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (934 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The use of biochar as an agricultural soil improvement was tested in acid sulfate and sandy soils from Malaysia, cropped with rice and corn. Malaysia has an abundance of waste rice husks that could be used to produce biochar. Rice husk biochar was
[...] Read more.
The use of biochar as an agricultural soil improvement was tested in acid sulfate and sandy soils from Malaysia, cropped with rice and corn. Malaysia has an abundance of waste rice husks that could be used to produce biochar. Rice husk biochar was produced in a gasifier at a local mill in Kelantan as well as in the laboratory using a controlled, specially designed, top lift up draft system (Belonio unit). Rice husk biochar was applied once to both soils at two doses (2% and 5%), in a pot set up that was carried out for two cropping seasons. Positive and significant crop yield effects were observed for both soils, biochars and crops. The yield effects varied with biochar type and dosage, with soil type and over the cropping seasons. The yield increases observed for the sandy soil were tentatively attributed to significant increases in plant-available water contents (from 4%–5% to 7%–8%). The yield effects in the acid sulfate soil were likely a consequence of a combination of (i) alleviation of plant root stress by aluminum (Ca/Al molar ratios significantly increased, from around 1 to 3–5) and (ii) increases in CEC. The agricultural benefits of rice husk biochar application to Malaysian soils holds promise for its future use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Biochar)
Open AccessArticle Removal of Dimethyl Sulfide from Aqueous Solution Using Cost-Effective Modified Chicken Manure Biochar Produced from Slow Pyrolysis
Sustainability 2015, 7(11), 15057-15072; doi:10.3390/su71115057
Received: 30 July 2015 / Revised: 4 November 2015 / Accepted: 9 November 2015 / Published: 13 November 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (982 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study investigated the characteristics of using a cost-effective, amine-modified biochar (BC) derived from chicken manure for removing dimethyl sulfide (DMS) from an aqueous solution. The amine-modified BC showed much higher adsorption of DMS compared to commercial activated carbons under varying conditions of
[...] Read more.
This study investigated the characteristics of using a cost-effective, amine-modified biochar (BC) derived from chicken manure for removing dimethyl sulfide (DMS) from an aqueous solution. The amine-modified BC showed much higher adsorption of DMS compared to commercial activated carbons under varying conditions of contact time, initial concentration, and adsorbent dosage. The DMS removal efficiency increased as the adsorbent dosage was increased from 0.01 to 0.25 g and reached 92.4% even at the relatively low adsorbent dose of 0.015 g. The DMS adsorption capacity of the amine-modified BC (mg/g) increased with increasing DMS concentration, while the incremental rate of the removal efficiency decreased. The adsorption process was well explained by a pseudo-second-order kinetics model. The adsorption of DMS is more appropriately described by the Freundlich isotherm (R2 = 0.989) than by the Langmuir isotherm (R2 = 0.942). The DMS removal efficiency was only reduced by 23.4% even after 10 recovery cycles. The surface area of the amine-modified BC was much higher (9.4 ± 1.2 times) than that of the unmodified BC. The amine-modified BC with a high surface area of 334.6 m2/g can be utilized as a cheap and effective alternative adsorbent to commercial activated carbon for DMS removal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Biochar)
Open AccessArticle A Field Experiment on Enhancement of Crop Yield by Rice Straw and Corn Stalk-Derived Biochar in Northern China
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13713-13725; doi:10.3390/su71013713
Received: 28 July 2015 / Revised: 27 September 2015 / Accepted: 30 September 2015 / Published: 12 October 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1504 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biochar, a green way to deal with burning and burying biomass, has attracted more attention in recent years. To fill the gap of the effects of different biochar on crop yield in Northern China, the first field experiment was conducted in farmland located
[...] Read more.
Biochar, a green way to deal with burning and burying biomass, has attracted more attention in recent years. To fill the gap of the effects of different biochar on crop yield in Northern China, the first field experiment was conducted in farmland located in Hebei Province. Biochars derived from two kinds of feedstocks (rice straw and corn stalk) were added into an Inceptisols area with different dosages (1 ton/ha, 2 ton/ha or 4 ton/ha) in April 2014. The crop yields were collected for corn, peanut, and sweet potato during one crop season from spring to autumn 2014, and the wheat from winter 2014 to summer 2015, respectively. The results showed biochar amendment could enhance yields, and biochar from rice straw showed a more positive effect on the yield of corn, peanut, and winter wheat than corn stalk biochar. The dosage of biochar of 2 ton/ha or 1 ton/ha could enhance the yield by 5%–15% and biochar of 4 ton/ha could increase the yield by about 20%. The properties of N/P/K, CEC, and pH of soils amended with biochar were not changed, while biochar effects could be related to improvement of soil water content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Biochar)
Open AccessArticle Development of a Biochar-Plant-Extract-Based Nitrification Inhibitor and Its Application in Field Conditions
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13585-13596; doi:10.3390/su71013585
Received: 14 March 2015 / Revised: 3 September 2015 / Accepted: 7 September 2015 / Published: 2 October 2015
PDF Full-text (746 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The global use of nitrogen (N) fertilizer has increased 10-fold in the last fifty years, resulting in increased N losses via nitrate leaching to groundwater bodies or from gaseous emissions to the atmosphere. One of the biggest problems farmers face in agricultural production
[...] Read more.
The global use of nitrogen (N) fertilizer has increased 10-fold in the last fifty years, resulting in increased N losses via nitrate leaching to groundwater bodies or from gaseous emissions to the atmosphere. One of the biggest problems farmers face in agricultural production systems is the loss of N. In this context, novel biological nitrification inhibitors (BNI) using biochar (BC) as a renewable matrix to increase N use efficiency, by reducing nitrification rates, have been evaluated. The chemical and morphological characteristics of BC were analyzed and BC-BNI complexes were formulated using plant extracts from pine (Pinus radiata), eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) and peumo (Cryptocarya alba). In field experiments, fertilizer and treatments, based on crude plant extracts and BC-BNI complexes, were applied and the effect on nitrification was periodically monitored, and at the laboratory level, a phytotoxicity assay was performed. The biochar-peumo (BCPe) complex showed the highest nitrification inhibition (66%) on day 60 after application compared with the crude plant extract, suggesting that BCPe complex protects the BNI against biotic or abiotic factors, and therefore BC-BNI complexes could increase the persistence of biological nitrification inhibitors. None of the biochar complexes had toxic effect on radish plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Biochar)
Open AccessArticle Adsorptive Removal of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics Using Bamboo Biochar
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12947-12957; doi:10.3390/su70912947
Received: 28 July 2015 / Revised: 13 September 2015 / Accepted: 17 September 2015 / Published: 22 September 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (745 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The occurrence of fluoroquinolone antibiotics in wastewater has drawn great attention. Adsorption of widely used fluoroquinolone antibiotics (enrofloxacin and ofloxacin) in wastewater using bamboo biochar was investigated. More than 99% of fluoroquinolone antibiotics were removed from the synthetic wastewater through adsorption. Adsorption capacities
[...] Read more.
The occurrence of fluoroquinolone antibiotics in wastewater has drawn great attention. Adsorption of widely used fluoroquinolone antibiotics (enrofloxacin and ofloxacin) in wastewater using bamboo biochar was investigated. More than 99% of fluoroquinolone antibiotics were removed from the synthetic wastewater through adsorption. Adsorption capacities of bamboo biochar slightly changed when pH increased from 3.0 to 10.0. The adsorption capacity of bamboo biochar increased sharply when the initial concentration of enrofloxacin or ofloxacin increased from 1 to 200 mg L−1 and then began to plateau with further increases in initial concentration. The maximum adsorption capacity (45.88 ± 0.90 mg·g−1) was observed when the ratio of bamboo biochar to fluoroquinolone antibiotics was 10. The enrofloxacin adsorption capacity of bamboo biochar decreased from 19.91 ± 0.21 mg·g−1 to 14.30 ± 0.51 mg·g−1 while that of ofloxacin decreased from 19.82 ± 0.22 mg·g−1 to 13.31 ± 0.56 mg·g−1 when the NaCl concentrations increased from 0 to 30 g·L−1. The adsorptions of fluoroquinolone on bamboo biochar have isotherms that obeyed the Freundlich model (r2 values were in the range of 0.990–0.991). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Biochar)
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