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Jim Amonette

Jim Amonette

Adjunct Research Professor of Soil Chemistry - Joint Appointment with PNNL

Jim Amonette is a soil chemist with more than 39 years of research experience in the areas of environmental geochemistry and soil mineralogy.  He has been with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) since 1986 and has held a Joint Appointment with CSANR at Washington State University since 2017.  His WSU work focuses on assessing the climate-change mitigation potential of biochar at the county level and on measuring the impact of biochar amendments on the plant-available water-holding capacity of soils.  His primary scientific interest is to find ways of sustainably harnessing the large carbon flux passing through the terrestrial ecosystem to help mitigate global climate change. Dr. Amonette has authored or coauthored more than 115 peer-reviewed scientific journal publications, numerous book chapters and technical reports, 7 patents in the areas of photoacoustic spectroscopy and slow-release nitrogen fertilizer, and a book on quantitative methods in soil mineralogy.  His PNNL staff profile can be found at

Research Interests

  • Environmental geochemistry
  • Soil mineralogy
  • Carbon sequestration (terrestrial and geologic)
  • Mitigation of climate change
  • Biochar
  • Slow-release solid-nitride nitrogen fertilizer

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D., Soil Chemistry, Iowa State University
  • M.S., Soil Chemistry, Iowa State University
  • B.S., Soil Science, New Mexico State University

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Soil Science Society of America
    • Chair, Soil Mineralogy Division, 1994
    • Associate Editor, Soil Mineralogy Division, Soil Science Society of America Journal, 1994-1996
    • Bouyoucos Conference Co-Organizer, 2004
  • Clay Minerals Society
    • Associate Editor, Clays and Clay Minerals, 1998 – 2008
    • Council Member, 1996-1998; 2006-2008
    • Meeting Co-Chair, 2004
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • International Biochar Initiative
    • Science Advisory Committee (2008-2010)

Awards and Recognitions

  • PNNL Laboratory Director’s Award: Fitzner-Eberhardt Award for Outstanding Contributions to Science and Engineering Education 2008
  • R&D100 Award for “In-Situ Redox Manipulation,” 1998

Selected Publications

Amonette, JE.  2018.  “Assessing Local Technical Potentials for CO2 Drawdown Using Biochar from Forestry Residues and Waste Wood in Washington State”.  Chapter 14 (p. 271-293) in Advancing Organics Management in Washington State: The Waste to Fuels Technology Partnership 2015-2017, Washington State Department of Ecology Publication No. 18-07-010, Olympia, Washington.  PNNL-27207.

Amonette, JE, Jonathan L Barr, RL Erikson, LM Dobeck, Jamie L Barr, and JA Shaw.  2013.  “Measurement of advective soil gas flux: results of field and laboratory experiments.”  Environ. Earth Sci. 70:1717-1726.

Woolf D, JE Amonette, FA Street-Perrott, JC Lehmann, and S Joseph.  2010.  “Sustainable biochar to mitigate global climate change.”  Nature Communications 1:56.

Amonette, JE, and S Joseph.  2009.  “Characteristics of biochar – micro-chemical properties”, in J. Lehmann and S. Joseph (eds) Biochar for Environmental Management: Science and Technology, Earthscan, London, pp. 33-52.

Laird, DA, RC Brown, JE Amonette, and J Lehmann.  2009.  “Review of the pyrolysis platform for producing bio-oil and biochar.”  Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining 3:547-562.

Amonette, JE and J Matyáš.  June 26, 2018.  “Nitride-based controlled-release fertilizers and process for making same.” U. S. Patent 10,005,699.

Wang, C-M, DR Baer, JE Amonette, and MH Engelhard.  2009.  “Morphology and electronic structure of the oxide shell on the surface of iron nanoparticles”, J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 131:8824-8832.

Jastrow, JD, JE Amonette, and VL Bailey.  2007.  “Mechanisms controlling soil carbon turnover and their potential application for enhancing carbon sequestration.”  Climatic Change 80:5-23.

Nurmi, JT, PG Tratnyek, V Sarathy, DR Baer, JE Amonette, K Pecher, C-M Wang, JC Linehan, DW Matson, RL Penn, and MD Driessen.  2005.  “Characterization and properties of metallic iron nanoparticles: spectroscopy, electrochemistry, and kinetics.”  Environ. Sci. Technol. 39:1221-1230.

Amonette, JE, DJ Workman, DW Kennedy, JS Fruchter, and YA Gorby.  2000.  “Dechlorination of carbon tetrachloride by Fe(II) associated with goethite.”  Environ. Sci. Technol. 34:4606-4613.