Biochar from Pyrolysis of Biosolids for Nutrient Adsorption and Turfgrass Cultivation

Document Type




Format of Original

9 p.

Publication Date



Water Envirionment Federation

Source Publication

Water Environment Research

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

DOI: 10.2175/106143015X14362865227391


At water resource recovery facilities, nutrient removal is often required and energy recovery is an ever-increasing goal. Pyrolysis may be a sustainable process for handling wastewater biosolids because energy can be recovered in the py-gas and py-oil. Additionally, the biochar produced has value as a soil conditioner. The objective of this work was to determine if biochar could be used to adsorb ammonia from biosolids filtrate and subsequently be applied as a soil conditioner to improve grass growth. The maximum carrying capacity of base modified biochar for NH3−N was 5.3 mg/g. Biochar containing adsorbed ammonium and potassium was applied to laboratory planters simulating golf course putting greens to cultivate Kentucky bluegrass. Planters that contained nutrient-laden biochar proliferated at a statistically higher rate than planters that contained biosolids, unmodified biochar, peat, or no additive. Nutrient-laden biochar performed as well as commercial inorganic fertilizer with no statistical difference in growth rates. Biochar from digested biosolids successfully immobilized NH3−N from wastewater and served as a beneficial soil amendment. This process offers a means to recover and recycle nutrients from water resource recovery facilities.


Water Environment Research, Volume 87, Number 12 (December 2015): 2098-2106. DOI.