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Use of carbonized organic material for production of greenhouse crops. Nick Savidov Crop Diversification Centre South, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development For Canadian Biochar Initiative Friday, December 12, 2008 Montreal, Quebec. TOPICS. Introduction

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use of carbonized organic material for production of greenhouse crops

Use of carbonized organic material for production of greenhouse crops

Nick Savidov

Crop Diversification Centre South, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

For Canadian Biochar Initiative

Friday, December 12, 2008

Montreal, Quebec

slide2

TOPICS

  • Introduction
  • Objectives of Biochar study at CDCS, Brooks
  • Results of preliminary studies
  • Long English cucumber production on Biochar-based media
  • Use of Biochar as a transplant media for basil production
  • Conclusions
slide3
Substrates have a major impact on growth of greenhouse and nursery plants and often determine profitability of the operations
examples of mineral substrates
Examples of mineral substrates:
  • rockwool
  • pumice stone
  • perlite
  • expanded clay
most common examples of organic substrates
Most common examples of organic substrates:
  • peat
  • coconut coir
  • sawdust
  • rice husk
  • bark
properties of greenhouse substrates
Properties of greenhouse substrates
  • Physical
  • Chemical
  • Physico-chemical
  • Biological
physical properties of greenhouse substrates
Physical properties of greenhouse substrates
  • Water retention capacity
  • Total porosity
  • Air space
  • Stability
  • Bulk density
  • Saturation and de-saturation characteristics
  • Particle size distribution
chemical properties of greenhouse substrates
Chemical properties of greenhouse substrates
  • Water soluble elements
  • Buffered elements
  • Nitrogen fixation
biological properties of greenhouse substrates
Biological properties of greenhouse substrates
  • Plant reaction
  • Microorganisms reaction
  • Pest reaction
slide15

Substrate

Air content, % volume

Available water, %

Peat

28

18

Rockwool

25

71

Polyurethane foam

84

6

Physical properties of some greenhouse substrates

advantages of greenhouse media based on carbonized organic material
Advantages of greenhouse media based on carbonized organic material
  • Higher stability
  • Less bulk density
  • Better physical characteristics, such as porosity and water retention capacity
advantages of greenhouse media based on carbonized organic material18
Advantages of greenhouse media based on carbonized organic material
  • Ability to absorb phytotoxic compounds such as phenols.
  • Buffering capacity
  • Potential algicidal properties
  • Not easily available for bacteria as a carbon source, which decreases potential nitrogen fixation
  • Can be produced from cheap, locally available sources, agricultural waste, such as straw
key objectives of biochar study at cdcs brooks
Key objectives of Biochar study at CDCS, Brooks

Evaluate the performance of Biochar produced from various materials as a hydroponic growth media for greenhouse crops including:

  • basil,
  • long English cucumbers,
  • tomatoes
  • bell peppers
key objectives of biochar study at cdcs brooks20
Key objectives of Biochar study at CDCS, Brooks
  • Measure the physical, chemical, and biological properties of carbonized growth media as a hydroponic growth media and compare these properties to those of commercial alternatives including sawdust and coconut coir
key objectives of biochar study at cdcs brooks21
Key objectives of Biochar study at CDCS, Brooks
  • Characterize the “stability” (number of successive crops capable of being grown on the same media) of Biochar-based media as compared to commercial growth media.
key objectives of biochar study at cdcs brooks22
Key objectives of Biochar study at CDCS, Brooks
  • Conduct a ‘techno-economic’ and an ‘environmental’ assessment of carbonized growth media in the greenhouse industry in Alberta.
  • Conduct a food safety study on greenhouse produce grown on media produced from carbonized organic material
slide27

Raw sawdust

Carbonized

sawdust

effect of carbonized medium on algae growth
Effect of carbonized medium on algae growth

Raw sawdust

Carbonized

sawdust

slide40

P3

P1

2nd generation aquaponics facility

with Biofloc system

GeoTube Sump

P2

AB1

Clarifier

Swirl

Separators

AB2

Filter

tanks

Plant Tray

Fishtanks

Filters

Clean water

Cleaning Circuit

Nutrient Rich Water

Aeration

Solids Removal

conclusions
Conclusions
  • Preliminary data suggest no phytotoxic effect of carbonization on greenhouse crops
  • The same or higher yields can be achieved using biochar-based media in greenhouse crops production
  • Carbonization dramatically improve stability of organic substrate
  • Biochar-based media have a high potential when used in highly biologically active environment, such as aquaponics