Evaluation of ammonia (NH3) emissions from soil amended with rice hull biochar

Seong-Yong Park1   Ha-Yeon Choi1   Yun-Gu Kang1   Seong-Jin Park2   Deogratius  Luyima1   Jae-Han Lee1,*   Taek-Keun Oh1,*   

1Department of Bio-Environmental Chemistry, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea
2Korea Division of soil and fertilizer, National Institute of Agricultural Science, RDA, Wanju 55365, Korea


Ultrafine dust causes asthma and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases when inhaled. Ammonia (NH3) plays a big role in ultrafine dust formation in the atmosphere by reacting with nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx) emitted from various sources. The agricultural sector is the single largest contributor of NH3, with the vast majority of emissions ensuing from fertilizers and livestock sector. Interest in using biochar to attenuate these NH3 emissions has grown. This experiment was conducted to study the effects of using rice hull biochar pyrolyzed at three different temperatures of 250℃ (BP 4.6, biochar pH 4.6), 350℃ (BP 6.8), and 450℃ (BP 10.3) on the emission of ammonia from soil fertilized with urea. The emissions of NH3 initially increased as the experiment progressed but decreased after peaking at the 84th hour. The amount of emitted NH3 was lower in soil with biochar amendments than in that without biochar. Emissions amongst biochar-amended soils were lowest for the BP 6.8 treatment, followed in an ascending order by BP 10.3 and BP 4.6. Since BP 6.8 biochar with neutral pH resulted in the lowest amount of NH3 emitted, it can be concluded that biochar’s pH has an effect on the emissions of NH3. The results of this study, therefore, indicate that biochar can abate NH3 emissions and that a neutral pH biochar is more effective at reducing gaseous emissions than either alkaline or acidic biochar.

Figures & Tables

Fig. 1. NH trapping device apparatus. A, air pump; B, air flow meter; C, column; D, trapping bottle.