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Transformation of organic household leftovers into a peat substitute

AuthorsHernández-Soto, M.Consuelo; Hernández-Latorre, M; Oliver-Tomas, Borja; Ponce, E.; Renz, Michael
Issue Date7-Sep-2019
PublisherMYJoVE Corporation
CitationJournal of visualized experiments 149: e59569 (2019)
AbstractA two-step procedure is described for the synthesis of a carbon material with a similar composition and properties as peat. The produced hydrochar is made suitable for agricultural applications by removing plant growing inhibitory substances. Wet household waste such as fruit peel, coffee grounds, inedible vegetable parts, or wet lignocellulosic material in general, are treated in presence of water at 215 °C and 21 bar in an autoclave, i.e., by hydrothermal carbonization. All these leftovers have a considerable water content of up to 90 weight % (wt%). Adding water extends the procedure to drier materials such as nutshells or even garden prunings and compostable polymers, i.e., the plastic bag for collection of the leftovers. Usually, the resulting carbon material, called hydrochar, produces a negative effect on plant growth when added to soil. It is supposed that this effect is caused by adsorbed phytotoxic compounds. A simple post-treatment under inert atmosphere (absence of oxygen) at 275 °C removes these substances. Therefore, the raw hydrochar is placed on a glass frit of a vertical tubular quartz reactor. A nitrogen gas flow is applied in down-flow direction. The tube is heated to the desired temperature by means of a heating mantle for up to one hour. The success of the thermal treatment is easily quantified by thermogravimetry (TG), carried out in air. A weight loss is determined when the temperature of 275 °C is reached, since volatile content is desorbed. Its amount is reduced in the final material, in comparison to the untreated hydrochar. The two-step treatment converts household leftovers, including compostable bags employed for their collection, into a carbon material that may serve as plant growth promoter and, at the same time, as a carbon sink for climate change mitigation.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.3791/59569
Identifiersdoi: 10.3791/59569
issn: 1940-087X
Appears in Collections:(ITQ) Artículos
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