Recycling of residual products of bioenergy conversion processes is important for adding value to the technologies and as a potential beneficial soil fertility amendment. In this study, two different ash materials originating from low temperature circulating fluidized bed (LT-CFB) gasification of either wheat straw (SA) or residue fibers mainly from citrus peels (CP) were tested regarding their potential to be used as fertilizer on agricultural soils. A soil incubation study, a greenhouse experiment with barley and faba bean, and an accompanying outdoor experiment with maize were carried out to investigate the effects of the ashes on soil microbiological and chemical properties and on the response of the three crops. The ash treatments were compared with a control treatment that received only nitrogen, magnesium, and sulphur (CO) and a fully fertilized control (COPK). Soil microbial parameters were not significantly altered after ash application. SA was generally able to increase the levels of Olsen-P and of the ammonium acetate/acetic acid-extractable K in soil as well as to improve the yield of barley and maize, whereas faba bean did not react positively to ash amendment. CP did not show beneficial effects on soil nutrient levels or on crop biomass. We conclude from the results of this study, that—depending on the feedstock used—ashes from LT-CFB gasification of plant biomass can be used to replace mineral fertilizers if they are applied according to their nutrient content, the crop demand, and soil properties.
Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 2012, Vol 94, Issue 2-3, p. 193-207