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Influence of pyrolysis temperature on properties and environmental safety of heavy metals in biochars derived from municipal sewage sludge

Jin, Junwei, Li, Yanan, Zhang, Jianyun, Wu, Shengchun, Cao, Yucheng, Liang, Peng, Zhang, Jin, Wong, Ming Hung, Wang, Minyan, Shan, Shengdao, Christie, Peter
Journal of hazardous materials 2016 v.320 pp. 417-426
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, ash content, bioavailability, biochar, chromium, copper, heavy metals, lead, manganese, nickel, pH, pyrolysis, risk, sewage sludge, surface area, temperature, zinc
Dried raw sludge was pyrolyzed at temperatures ranging from 400 to 600°C at the increase of 50°C intervals to investigate the influence of pyrolysis temperature on properties and environmental safety of heavy metals in biochar derived from municipal sewage sludge. The sludge biochar yield decreased significantly with increasing pyrolysis temperature but the pH, ash content and specific surface area increased. Conversion of sludge to biochar markedly decreased the H/C and N/C ratios. FT-IR analysis confirmed a dramatic depletion of H and N and a higher degree of aromatic condensation in process of biochar formation at higher temperatures. The total concentrations of Cu, Zn, Pb, Cr, Mn, and Ni increased with conversion of sludge to biochar and increasing pyrolysis temperature. However, using BCR sequential extraction and analysis, it was found that most of the heavy metals existed in the oxizable and residual forms after pyrolysis, especially at 600°C, resulting in a significant reduction in their bioavailability, leading to a very low environmental risk of the biochar. The present study indicates pyrolysis is a promising sludge treatment method for heavy metals immobilization in biochar, and highlights the potential to minimize the harmful effects of biochar by controlling pyrolysis temperature.