Blending biosolids with other waste streams to optimise nutrient ratios and restore and stabilise carbon in Australian cropping soils

Project 2B

Attempts to increase organic carbon in Australian cropping soils by means such as retaining crop stubble, adding compost, and growing green manure crops or perennial pastures have achieved very little; soil carbon is still decreasing in many soils. Maintaining organic carbon in cropping soils will aid amelioration of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and improve soil physical and chemical characters, thereby aiding crop yields.

Recent Australian research shows functionalisation of carbon by keeping correct ratios of key nutrients (C: N: P: S) can help carbon transformed into persistent forms. However, research on functionalising carbon in biosolids or biosolids-related products such as biochar or hydrochar remains limited in this area.

The PhD student will investigate if blended biosolids can be used to produce a safe and cheap (transportable) product with optimal ratios of key nutrients, to aid the formation through the actions of soil microbes of stable organic carbon in the soils of the broadacre cropping systems in southern Australia.

The 0.4 ICPD will investigate how biochar and hydrochar, produced from pyrolysis or hydrothermal processing of biosolids, can help restore soil carbon and compare them with biosolids blended with nutrients and other forms of carbon produced from a PhD project.

Our team

Megan_Ryan_HS

Prof Megan Ryan

Lead Chief Investigator
University of Western Australia

Anas_Ghadouani_HS

Prof Anas Ghadouani

Chief Investigator
University of Western Australia

Susanne_Schmidt_HS

Prof Susanne Schmidt

Chief Investigator
University of Queensland

Michael_Burton_HS

A/Prof Michael Burton

Chief Investigator
University of Western Australia

Liah 2

Dr Liah Coggins

Industry Centre Post doc
University of Western Australia

Bede 3

Dr Bede Mickan

Industry Centre Post doc
University of Western Australia

George Mercer 2

George Mercer

PhD Candidate (ICHDR)
University of Western Australia

IMG_9458

A/Prof Thomas Wiedmann

University of New South Wales