An innovative agro-forestry supply chain for residual biomass : physicochemical characterisation of biochar from olive and hazelnut pellets

Zambon, Ilaria and Colisimo, Fabrisio and Monarca, Danilo and Cecchini, Massimo and Gallucci, Francesco and Proto, Andrea Rosario and Lord, Richard and Colantoni, Andrea (2016) An innovative agro-forestry supply chain for residual biomass : physicochemical characterisation of biochar from olive and hazelnut pellets. Energies, 9 (526). ISSN 1996-1073

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    Abstract

    Concerns about climate change and food productivity have spurred interest in biochar, a form of charred organic material typically used in agriculture to improve soil productivity and as a means of carbon sequestration. An innovative approach in agriculture is the use of agro-forestry waste for the production of soil fertilisers for agricultural purposes and as a source of energy. A common agricultural practice is to burn crop residues in the field to produce ashes that can be used as soil fertilisers. This approach is able to supply plants with certain nutrients, such as Ca, K, Mg, Na, B, S, and Mo. However, the low concentration of N and P in the ashes, together with the occasional presence of heavy metals (Ni, Pb, Cd, Se, Al, etc.), has a negative effect on soil and, therefore, crop productivity. This work describes the opportunity to create an innovative supply chain from agricultural waste biomass. Olive (Olea europaea) and hazelnut (Corylus avellana) pruning residues represent a major component of biomass waste in the area of Viterbo (Italy). In this study, we evaluated the production of biochar from these residues. Furthermore, a physicochemical characterisation of the produced biochar was performed to assess the quality of the two biochars according to the standards of the European Biochar Certificate (EBC). The results of this study indicate the cost-effective production of high-quality biochar from olive and hazelnut biomass residues.