Production of Biochar from Date Palm Fronds and its Effects on Soil Properties

Production of Biochar from Date Palm Fronds and its Effects on Soil Properties

Mohamed A. Badawi

download PDF

Abstract. The UAE has the largest number of date palm trees in the Arab world, there are about 42 million date palm trees. Each tree generates about 15 kilograms (kg) of waste biomass annually, totaling 600 million kg of green waste. Converting date palm waste into biochar can reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions generated by the natural decomposition or through burning of the waste. Biomass produced from date palm trees can’t be composted easily in normal composting process due to its high content of lignocellulose compound, while the biochar production can be the option to generate both energy and soil conditioner for the improvement of sandy soil under the gulf countries severe climate. Biochar is one of the most stable biologically produced carbon sources that can be added to soil. It processes agricultural waste into a soil enhancer that improves soil fertility, saves water, helps to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fight global warming. The United Arab Emirates has sandy soil with very low water and nutrient holding capacities, using biochar improved its soil WHC, and biological activities. In this paper we did several trials to evaluate the produced biochar from date palm tree green wastes as a soil conditioner in sandy soil. Research has been undertaken in a pilot plant of 200-liter capacity. The produced biochar (25% w/w) of raw materials was used as a soil conditioner for sandy soil. The soil physical, chemical and biological properties were tested in pot experiment with different mixing ratios and the results showed better improvements in its properties. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of biochar and organic soil amendments on soil physicochemical and microbial load, carbon sequestration potential.

biochar, date palm wastes, soil conditioning

Published online 4/20/2019, 10 pages
Copyright © 2019 by the author(s)
Published under license by Materials Research Forum LLC., Millersville PA, USA

Citation: Mohamed A. Badawi, Production of Biochar from Date Palm Fronds and its Effects on Soil Properties, Materials Research Proceedings, Vol. 11, pp 159-168, 2019


The article was published as article 11 of the book By-Products of Palm Trees and Their Applications

Content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.

[1] T. Ahmad, M, Danish, M. Rafatullah, A. Ghazali, O. Sulaiman, R. Hashim, M.N.M. Ibrahim, The use of date palm as a potential adsorbent for wastewater treatment: a review, Environ Sci Pollut Res Int, 19(5), 1464-1484. DOI: 10.1007/s11356-011-0709-8 (2012).
[2] FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), Statistical Databases (2012).
[3] S.P. Sohi, E. Krull, E. Lopez-Capel, R. Bol., A review of biochar and its use and function in soil, Advances in Agronomy, San Diego, Elsevier Academic Press Inc. 105 (2010) 47-82.
[4] N. Claoston, A.W. Samsuri, M.H. Ahmad Husni, M.S. Mohd Amran, Effects of pyrolysis temperature on the physicochemical properties of empty fruit bunch and rice husk biochars. Waste Manag Res, 32(4), 331-339, 2014.×14525822
[5] C.E. Brewer, K. Schmidt-Rohr, J.A. Satrio, R.C. Brown, Characterization of biochar from fast pyrolysis and gasification systems. Environ. Prog. Sustain. Energy 28 (2014) 386–396.
[6] Z. Khanmohammadi, M. Afyuni, M.R. Mosaddeghi, Effect of pyrolysis temperature on chemical and physical properties of sewage sludge biochar. Waste Management & Research 33-3 (2015) 275-283.×14565210
[7] D.R. Kasten, J. Heiskanen, K. Englund, A., Tervahauta, Pelleted biochar: Chemical and physical properties show potential use as a substrate in container nurseries. Biomass and Bioenergy, 35-5 (2012) 2018-2027.
[8] J. Lehmann, A Handful of Carbon. Nature 447-7141 (2007) 143-144.
[9] C.H. Cheng, J. Lehmann, J.E. Thies, S.D. Burton, M.H. Engelhard, Oxidation of black carbon by biotic and abiotic processes, Organic Geochemistry 37 (2006) 1477-1488.
[10] C.H. Cheng, J. Lehmann, M. H. Engelhard, Natural oxidation of black carbon in soils: Changes in molecular form and surface charge along a climosequence. Geochim.Cosmochim. Acta 72 (2008) 1598‐1610.
[11] B. Liang, J. Lehmann, D. Solomon, J. Kinyangi, J. Grossman, B. O’Neill, J.O. Skjemstad, J. Thies, F.J. Luizao, J. Petersen. E.G. Neves, Black carbon increases cation exchange capacity in soils. Soil Science Society America Journal, 70 (2006) 1719–1730.
[12] J. Lehmann, S. Joseph, Biochar for Environmental Management: Science and Technology. Earthscan, London & Sterling, VA. (2009) 416.
[13] B. Glaser, J. Lehmann, W. Zech, Ameliorating physical and chemical properties of highly weathered soils in the tropics with charcoal – a review Biology and Fertility of Soils 35 (2002) 219-230.
[14] M.A. Rondon, J. Lehmann, J. Ramirez, M. Hurtado, Biological nitrogen fixation by common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) increases with bio-char additions, Biology and fertility of soils 43 (2007) 699-708.
[15] A. Downie, A. Crosky P. Munroe, Physical properties of biochar. In Biochar for environmental management: science and technology Eds. J. Lehmann and S. Joseph. Earthscan, London; Sterling, VA (2009) 13-32.
[16] K.Y. Chan, L. Van Zwieten, I. Meszaros, A. Downie, S. Joseph, Agronomic values of greenwaste biochar as a soil amendment, Australian Journal of Soil Research, 45-8 (2007) 629-634.
[17] K. Chan , Z. Xu, Biochar: Nutrient Properties and Their Enhancement. In Biochar for Environmental Management: Science and Technology (Eds J Lehmann and S Joseph), Earthscan: London, UK (2009)53-66.
[18] J.W. Gaskin, K.C. Das, A.S. Tassistro, L. Sonon, K. Harris, B. Hawkins, Characterization of char for agricultural use in the soils of the southeastern United States, in: W.I. Woods (Ed.), Amazonian Dark Earths: Wim Sombroek’s Vision‖, Springer Science, Business Media, Heidelberg, Germany, (2009) 433–443.
[19] N.C. Brady, R.R. Weil, he nature and properties of soils, Macmillan: New York, 2014.
[20] T.D. Bucheli, O. Gustafsson, Quantification of the soot–water distribution coefficient of PAHs provides mechanistic basis for enhanced sorption observations Environ. Sci.Technol 34 (2000) 5144–5151.
[21] T.D. Bucheli, O. Gustafsson, Soot sorption of non-ortho and ortho substituted PCBs, Chemosphere (2003) 53:515–522.
[22] R.M. Allen-King, P. Grathwohl, , W.P. Ball, New modeling paradigms for the sorption of hydrophobic organic chemicals to heterogeneous carbonaceous matter in soils, sediments, and rocks. Advances in Water Resources 25 (2002) 985–1016.
[23] S. Kleineidam, C. Schuth, P.Grathwohl, Solubilitynormalized combined adsorption-partitioning sorption isotherms for organic pollutants. Environ. Sci. Technol. 21 (2002) 4689–4697.
[24] B.T. Nguyen, J. Lehmann, J. Kinyangi, R. Smernik, S.J. Riha, M.H. Engelhard, Long-term black carbon dynamics in cultivated soil. Biogeochemistry 89 (2008) 295- 308.
[25] T.A. Muhamed, B. Lopez, C.G. Lina J.E. Shmidt, Economic analysis of biochar production from date palm fronds. I Energy, MASDAR institute of science and technology, PO Box 54224, AD, UAE, 2018.
[26] J. Lehmann, M.C. Rillig, J. Thies, C.A. Masiello, W.C. Hockaday, D. Crowley, Biochar effects on soil biota—a review, Soil Biol. Biochem. 43 (2011) 1812–1836.
[27] J. Lehmann, J. Gaunt, M. Rondon, Bio-char sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems-a review. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 11 (2006) 403-427.
[28] M. Zainab, A. El Hanandeh, Q. J. Yu, Date Palm (Phoenix Dactylifera L.) Seed Characterization for Biochar Preparation, Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis 115 (2015) 392–400.
[29] H.L. Mudoga, H. Yucel, & N.S.Kincal, Decolorization of sugar syrups using commercial and sugar beet pulp based activated carbons. Bioresource Technology, 99-9 (2008) 3528-3533.
[30] C.A. Black, O.D. Evans ; L.E.Ensminger, J.L. White. F.E. Clark, R.C. Dinaver, Methods of Soil Analysis part II, Chemical and Microbiological properties, 2nd, Soil Sci., socities of Am. Inc., publications Madison Wisconsin, USA (1982)1573.
[31] A.O. Rolf, L.R. Bakken, Viability of soil bacteria: optimization of plate counting technique and comparison between total counts and plate counts within different size groups. Micro. Ecol. 13 (1987) 59-74.
[32] Difco manual, Dehydrated culture media and reagents for microbiology, laboratories incorporated, Detroite, Mitchigan, 48232, USA, (1985) 621.
[33] N. Claoston, A.W. Samsuri, M.H. Ahmad Husni, M.S. Mohd Amran, Effects of pyrolysis temperature on the physicochemical properties of empty fruit bunch and rice husk biochars, Waste Manag Res, 32-4 (2014) 331-339.×14525822
[34] J. Lehmann, M.C. Rillig, J. Thies, C.A. Masiello, W.C. Hockaday, D. Crowley, Biochar effects on soil biota – A review. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 43-9 (2011) 1812-1836. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
[35] M.K. Hossain, V. Strezov, K.Y. Chan, P.F. Nelson, Agronomic properties of wastewater sludge biochar and bioavailability of metals in production of cherry tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), Chemosphere, 789 (2010) 1167-1171.
[36] M. Inyang, B. Gao, P. Pullammanappallil, W. Ding, A.R. Zimmerman, Biochar from anaerobically digested sugarcane bagasse. Bioresour Technol, 101-22 (2010) 8868-8872.
[37] S. Kloss, F. Zehetner, A. Dellantonio, R. Hamid, F. Ottner,V. Liedtke, G. Soja, Characterization of slow pyrolysis biochars: effects of feedstocks and pyrolysis temperature on biochar properties, J Environ Qual, doi: 10.2134/jeq2011.0070, 41-4 (2012) 990-1000.
[38] J. Yuan, R. Xu, & H. Zhang, The forms of alkalis in the biochar produced from crop residues at different temperatures. Bioresource Technology, doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2010.11.018, 102-3 (2010) 3488-3497.
[39] D. M. Glazonova. P.A. kuryntseva, S.Y. Selvenovskaya P.Y. Galytskaya, Assessing the potential of using biochar as a soil conditioner. IOP conf. series: earth and Environmental sci., (2018) 107 (012059).
[40] R.A. Adel , A. Usmana, M.V. Abduljabbarc, Y.S. Oke,M. Ahmada, M. Ahmada, J.Elfakia, S.S. Abdulazeema, M. I. Al-Wabela, Biochar production from date palm waste: Charring temperature induced changes in composition and surface chemistry, 2015.
[41] H.A. Qasim, A.l. M. Rahman, M. H. Salman, Z. H. Aly, A.K. Abdul Satar, A. Sh., J. Abdul Ameer, Characterization of Biochar Produced from IRAQI Palm Fronds by Thermal Pyrolysis Al-Khwarizmi Engineering Journal 11-2 (2015) 92-102.
[42] E.B. Katy, K. R. Brye, Mary C. Savin, D.M. Longer, Biochar Source and Application Rate Effects on Soil Water Retention determined Using Wetting Curves, Open Journal of Soil Science, 5 (2015) 1-10.