Bio-char Production from Agricultural Waste in Nan Province, Thailand

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Bio-char production from agricultural wastes was considered in this study under two solution requirements for community-subsistence on Nan province, Thailand. Firstly, bio-char had the advantage of bio-energy as solid fuel production by the pyrolysis process. Furthermore, bio-char can be produced from agricultural wastes that are usable resources for bioenergy via pyrolysis. For applications such as reducing agricultural energy use and emissions due to recycling and waste reduction, bio-char production by pyrolysis recovers energy from agricultural wastes and reduces the smog and dust problems which are caused by direct burning.

In addition, due to the main problem of agricultural sector in this province, 87% of cultivated area is on sloping land, with low nutrient content and water availability and with agricultural soils which have high acidity. Limitation of crop yield and agricultural income of this province are experienced for those reasons. The benefit of bio-char as a soil amendment was investigated. The quality of bio-char is a highly porous structure, responsible for improved water retention, increase soil surface area and nutrient use efficiency. There was high ash and nitrogen content in the bio-char and the addition of bio-char to agricultural soils was found to be appropriate with respect to the high acidity of the soil and the improvement of soil nutritients by addition of nitrogen.

This study also aimed to develop a bio-char stove for agricultural wastes. Investigations were carried out for the suitable characteristic of bio-char stove for community utilization with respect to the suitability of energy, economic, environmental and agricultural soil improvement. The steps of research methodology were the following,

  1. designing, developing and testing bio-char stove.
  2. Bio-char characterization on the CO2 sequestration and the environmental effect by carbon footprint carbon footprint assessment
  3. analysis of the suitability of bio-char production for improvement of soil quality and plant growth and
  4. transferring this technology via prototype to a community in Nan province for sustainable development by the utilization of bio-char.

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