PhD Oral Defense of Baishali Dutta, Department of Bioresource Engineering
About 10% of the 60 x 1012 kg-Carbon fixed annually through worldwide photosynthetic activity ends up in agricultural residues. Through a heat-induced chemical conversion process such residues can be converted to biochar, a form of carbon that can be employed as a soil amendment, thereby providing long-term storage of carbon in soil. In this application it has the ability to both reduce GHG emissions and enhance soil structure, moisture and nutrient retention, thereby also addressing global food security issues by improving soil fertility and crop yields. Dealing with several aspects of carbon management and resulting mitigation of GHG emissions, the current project sought to maximize biochar yield from microwave-assisted pyrolysis of maple (Acer L.) wood biomass.