Degradation kinetics of biochar from pyrolysis and hydrothermal carbonization in temperate soils

Details zur Publikation
Autorenliste: Bai M., Wilske B., Buegger F., Esperschütz J., Kammann C., Eckhard C., Koestler M., Kraft P., Bach M., Frede H.-G., Breuer L.
Jahr der Veröffentlichung: 2013
Quelle: Plant and Soil
Bandnummer: 372
Heftnummer: 1-2
Erste Seite: 375
Letzte Seite: 387
Verlag: Springer Verlag (Germany)
ISSN: 0032-079X
DOI: 10.1007/s11104-013-1745-6
Sprachen: Englisch
Peer reviewed


Background and Aims

Estimates of biochar residence times in soils range over three orders of magnitude. We present the first direct comparison between the biodegradation of a char from hydrothermal carbonization (htcBC) and pyrolysis (pyrBC) with high temporal resolution.


Mineralization of the biochars and their shared Miscanthus feedstock in three soils was determined directly by the 13CO2 efflux using a novel method incorporating wavelength scanned cavity ring-down spectroscopy. Biochar half-life (t1/2) was estimated with three empirical models.


(1) The htcBC was readily biodegradable, whereas pyrBC was more recalcitrant. (2) Cumulative degradation of both biochars increased with soil organic carbon and nitrogen content. (3) The corrected Akaike information criterion (AICC) showed an overall preference for the double exponential model (DEM) reflecting a labile and a recalcitrant C-pool, over the first-order degradation model (FODM) and a logarithmic model. (4) The DEM resulted in t1/2 ranging from 19.7–44.5, 0.7–2.1 and 0.8–1.3 years for pyrBC, htcBC and feedstock, respectively.


The degradation was rather similar between feedstock and htcBC but one order of magnitude slower for pyrBC. The AICC preferred FODM in two cases, where the DEM parameters indicated no distinction between a labile and recalcitrant carbon pool.