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Open AccessArticle

Phosphorus and Nitrogen Adsorption Capacities of Biochars Derived from Feedstocks at Different Pyrolysis Temperatures

by Lei Zhou 1,2, Defu Xu 1,2,3,4,*, Yingxue Li 4, Qianchen Pan 2, Jiajun Wang 1,2, Lihong Xue 3 and Alan Howard 5,*
Collaborative Innovation Center of Atmospheric Environment and Equipment Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
Key Laboratory of Agro-Environment in Downstream of Yangze Plain, Ministry of Agriculture, Nanjing 210014, China
Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Environment Monitoring and Pollution Control, Nanjing 210044, China
Department of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AB, UK
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(8), 1559;
Received: 14 June 2019 / Revised: 10 July 2019 / Accepted: 20 July 2019 / Published: 28 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Constructed Wetland)
This study investigates the P and NO3 adsorption capacities of different biochars made from plant waste including rice straw (RSB), Phragmites communis (PCB), sawdust (SDB), and egg shell (ESB) exposed to a range of pyrolysis temperatures (300, 500 and 700 °C). Results indicate that the effect of pyrolysis temperature on the physiochemical properties of biochar varied with feedstock material. Biochars derived from plant waste had limited adsorption or even released P and NO3, but adsorption of P capacity could be improved by adjusting pyrolysis temperature. The maximum adsorption of P on RSB700, PCB300, and SDB300, produced at pyrolysis temperature of 700, 300 and 300 °C, was 5.41, 7.75 and 3.86 mg g−1, respectively. ESB can absorb both P and NO3, and its adsorption capacity increased with an increase in pyrolysis temperature. The maximum NO3 and P adsorption for ESB700 was 1.43 and 6.08 mg g−1, respectively. The less negative charge and higher surface area of ESB enabled higher NO3 and P adsorption capacity. The P adsorption process on RSB, PCB, SDB and ESB, and the NO3 adsorption process on ESB were endothermic reactions. However, the NO3 adsorption process on RSB, PCB and SDB was exothermic. The study demonstrates that the use of egg shell biochar may be an effective way to remove, through adsorption, P and NO3 from wastewater. View Full-Text
Keywords: biochar; pyrolysis temperature; nitrogen; phosphorus; adsorption capacity biochar; pyrolysis temperature; nitrogen; phosphorus; adsorption capacity
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Zhou, L.; Xu, D.; Li, Y.; Pan, Q.; Wang, J.; Xue, L.; Howard, A. Phosphorus and Nitrogen Adsorption Capacities of Biochars Derived from Feedstocks at Different Pyrolysis Temperatures. Water 2019, 11, 1559.

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