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Title: Comparing Physicochemical Properties and Sorption Behaviors of Pyrolysis-Derived and Microwave-Mediated Biochar
Biochar’s ability to amend and remediate agricultural soil has been a growing interest, though the energy expenses from high-temperature pyrolysis deter the product’s use. Therefore, it is urgent to improve the pyrolysis efficiency while ensuring the quality of produced biochar. The present study utilized three types of feedstock (i.e., switchgrass, biosolid, and water oak leaves) to produce biochar via conventional slow pyrolysis and microwave pyrolysis at different temperature/energy input. The produced biochar was characterized and comprehensively compared in terms of their physiochemical properties (e.g., surface functionality, elemental composition, and thermal stability). It was discovered that microwave-mediated biochar was more resistant to thermal decomposition, indicated by a higher production yield, yet more diverse surface functional groups were preserved than slow pyrolysis-derived biochar. A nutrient (NO3-N) adsorption isotherm study displayed that microwave-mediated biochar exhibited greater adsorption (13.3 mg g−1) than that of slow pyrolysis-derived biochar (3.1 mg g−1), proving its potential for future applications. Results suggested that microwaves pyrolysis is a promising method for biochar production.
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