Use of oxidized bio-chars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and attenuate the transport of Escherichia coli in soils

CSANR Project 108

Status: Complete

Project Summary

This project addresses one Priority of the BioAg program: Integration of Livestock-Crop Integration and two topics covered by the Climate Friendly Farming program: Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Carbon Sequestration, Anaerobic Digestion (Biogas) and Biochar (pyrolysis).

This project will generate preliminary data on the effect oxidized bio-chars will have on greenhouse gases (GHG)s emissions specifically (CO2) methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) as well as the role biochar could play in reducing the migration of microbial pathogens in soils. Understanding these interactions are important not only to reduce the effect of pathogens that may be collected from the effluents of AD but also to mitigate GHG and the diffusion of pathogens contained in Livestock manure that may be generated when integrating Livestock with crop-systems.

Annual Entries


Principal Investigator: Manuel Garcia-Perez
Additional Investigators: Nehal Abu-Lail
Ann-Marie Fortuna
Jim Harsh
Progress Report:
Grant Amount: $10,000


Principal Investigator: Manuel Garcia-Perez
Additional Investigators: Nehal Abu-Lail
Ann-Marie Fortuna
Jim Harsh
Waled Suliman
Progress Report:


Smith M, Garcia-Perez M: Developing the phosphate retention capacity of biochar: effect of alkaline oxides (In Preparation, to be submitted to Environmental Science and Technology 2013).

Smith M, Garcia-Perez M: Formation of surface acidic sites on char by air oxidation (In Preparation, to be submitted to Environmental Science and Technology 2013).

Suliman W, Garcia-Perez M: Effect of Pyrolysis temperature on the susceptibility of bio-chars to be oxidized with air at 250 o
C (In Preparation, to be submitted to Environmental Science and Technology 2013).

Additional Funds Leveraged

Frear C, Collins H, Garcia-Perez M, Kruger C, Shumway C, Stockle C: US Dairy Adoption of Anaerobic Digestion Systems Integrating Multiple Emerging Clean Technologies: Climate, Environmental & Economic Impacts. PIs: Funding Agency: USDA-NIFA-AFRI Climate Variability. July 2012 – July 2015 Total Award: $749,920

Garcia-Perez M: CAREER: An Integrated Research and Educational Plan to Develop Selective Pyrolysis Reactors and improve the Capacity of Students to Work in Multidisciplinary Teams. Funding Agency: US National Science Foundation Period: May, 2012 – May 2017, Total Award: $ 400,000

Garcia-Perez M, McEwen J-S: Understanding the Formation Mechanisms of Carbonaceous Adsorbents from Lignocellulosic Materials for Environmental Applications. Funding Agency: NSF, Period: 8/16/2013 to 8/15/2016

Kruger C, Benedict C, Desta K, Frear C, Garcia-Perez M, Killinger K, Ndegwa P, Peters R: Evaluate the efficacy and Regional Environmental Benefit of using Manure-Derived Soil Amendments. Funding Agency: USDA-NRCS Period: 9/1/2013 – 8/31/2016, Funds requested: $ 879,582

Frear C, Garcia-Perez M: Bio-char for Digestion and Pyrolysis Media for Hydrogen Sulfide Scrubbing, Adsorption of Nutrients, and production of Value added Peat Moss Replacement. Funding Agency: Sun Grant Period: 9/1/2013-9/1/2015, Funds requested: $ 200,000

Impacts and Outcomes

Short term: (1) Advanced our understanding on the effect of bio-char physicochemical properties on soil fertility, (2) Generated data for manuscripts to be published in peer reviewed journals, (3) Helped to develop engineered bio-chars with commercial potential, (4) The data collected is part of the PhD thesis of a graduate student

Intermediate Term: The main hurdle for the success of slow pyrolysis systems is our capacity to develop higher valued engineered bio-chars for environmental services. Today it is not possible to find 3 companies that offer the service of designing, producing and testing engineered bio-chars for environmental services from local feedstocks. This proposal contributes to a research and development program at WSU to design and test engineered bio-chars.

Long Term: The new R&D program we are building at WSU will contribute to the development of engineered bio-chars for storm water cleaning, for the removal of P and N from aqueous effluents of anaerobic digesters, and soil amendments and will be made from wastes available in the region. These new materials could contribute to the growth of a slow pyrolysis industry which will create jobs in rural areas, and help solve environmental problems through its inherent atmospheric carbon sequestration.