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Friday, 7 September 2018

Biochar project report from Malaysia


Prof. Rob Bachmann from UniKL has kindly shared the following report on some of the biochar work he is currently connected with in Malaysia.

1. Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) under project leader Dr Nadia Razali has teamed up with MPHTJ, a Melakan municipality, to develop a carbon negative solution for their yard as well as wet market waste. A news video of the signing ceremony is available here: https://youtu.be/ahCMo4QiBK0.

In our project we aim to convert the brown waste (wood) to biochar testing the flame curtain and retort technology.




The biochar will subsequently be added to the green compost as bulking agent, to immobilise leachate and speed up the composting process. The final mature compost can be used as substitute for inorganic fertilizer in MPHTJ nurseries or sold to third parties such as organic farmers.

2. Another project involved a collaboration between UniKL and Top Fruits Sdn Bhd (http://topfruits.com.my/) with the aim to convert their orchard waste into a valueable product. Our project concluded that Durian wood biochar produced with the Kon-Tiki earth kiln technology can partially substitute peatmoss in fruit tree nurseries without negatively affecting plant growth and health. Organic fertilizer was not required during the first 3 months. Plant height was found to be the most accurate and yet easy and affordable growth monitoring parameter. For more information please read our paper here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12517-018-3792-z.

3. Research collaboration between UniKL and the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) focusses on 3 aspects: i) converting oil palm biomass residues to biochar, ii) characterisation and identification as well as iii) application. Our latest publications report on the effect of humic acid coated PKS biochar on NPK adsorption (https://doi.org/10.21894/jopr.2018.0029) as well as effect of pyrolysis temperature and holding time on biochar yield and carbon stability using All Powers Lab Biochar Experiment Kit (BEK) (https://doi.org/10.21894/jopr.2018.0043).

4. Collaboration between a local chicken farm and UniKL aims to develop a scale-able solution for their chicken litter (CL) waste that can reduce the smell and fly problem, destroy pathogens and preserve as many nutrients as possible at an affordable price. At present, lab-scale pyrolysis of CL was successfully deployed to stabilise the biomass in the form of biochar. Poultry litter biochar produced at 400°C for 60 min retains all major plant nutrients (P, K, Ca, Mg, S) except for nitrogen (58 ± 15 % retention).

5. Another UniKL project led by Dr Amelia Md Som seeks to develop a solution to ameliorate acid sulfate soils using bio-physico-chemical approach. Biochar is being produced from oil palm fronts with an earth as well as metal Kon-Tiki kiln. Preliminary findings have been presented at and are available in the Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Plant-Soil Interactions at Low pH, June 25-28, 2018, Palm Garden Hotel IOI Resort Putrajaya, Malaysia.




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