Biomass torrefaction for high-yield, water-saving fertilizer

Year 2018
Project team Ahmed Ghoniem with Sonal Thengane & Kevin Kung

Rapid fertilization for smallholder farms

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 was funded by the J-WAFS Solution Program