Hydrochar from dairy sludge as phosphorus fertiliser affects greenhouse gas emissions and maize yield

Hu, Yihuai; Taghizadeh-Toosi, Arezoo ORCID:; Baral, Khagendra R.; Smith, Aidan M.; Khalaf, Nidal; Sommer, Sven G.. 2024 Hydrochar from dairy sludge as phosphorus fertiliser affects greenhouse gas emissions and maize yield. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B — Soil & Plant Science, 74 (1), 2310276. 12, pp.

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Dairy processing sludge is a phosphorus (P) rich waste with a high potential to replace mineral phosphorus fertiliser in crop production, with possible enhancement of greenhouse gas emissions to the environment. Hydrothermal carbonisation is a technology that transforms the sludge into a hydrochar. The objective of this study is examining P availability of two hydrochars produced from Danish and Irish dairy sludge and their influence on greenhouse gas emissions and maize yields. The trial assessed (i) Danish dairy sludge; (ii) hydrochar derived from Danish sludge; (iii) hydrochar made from Irish dairy sludge; (iv) mineral phosphorus fertiliser; and (v) control. Emissions of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide, soil pH, mineral nitrogen contents and crop yields were measured. Treatment with Danish dairy sludge had significantly higher cumulative nitrous oxide emissions while the emissions from both hydrochars were not significantly different compared to mineral phosphorous fertiliser. Statistical modelling showed that temperature, soil nitrate content, interactions both between temperature and precipitation, and between soil moisture and precipitation were drivers for nitrous oxide emissions. There was no difference in emissions among all treatments when scaled for yield. Hydrochar may alleviate the enhanced nitrous oxide emissions in soil without constraining P availability and maize crop yields.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0906-4710
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: bio-based fertiliser, dairy manures, environment, hydrothermal carbonisation, soil, STRUBIAS
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 09 Feb 2024 11:46 +0 (UTC)

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