Biomass torrefaction for high-yield, water-saving fertilizer

Ahmed Ghoniem with Sonal Thengane & Kevin Kung

Many smallholder farmers in rural areas depend on costly, imported synthetic fertilizers that over the long term may acidify and degrade their soils.

A biomass pretreatment technology known as oxygen-lean torrefaction can be used to turn agricultural residues into a carbon-rich fertilizer intermediate in just under one hour, without requiring external energy input. The project is developing a series of low-cost reactor designs that can be deployed at a small-scale and in a decentralized manner in rural areas.

These locally produced fertilizers should be significantly less expensive than imported fertilizer and could also counteract soil acidity and reduce overall farmland irrigation. 

This grant is funded by the JWAFS Solution Program.