Converting beach-cast seagrass wrack into biochar: a climate-friendly solution to a coastal problem

Macreadie, Peter I., Trevathan-Tackett, Stacey M., Baldock, Jeffrey A. and Kelleway, Jeffrey J. 2017, Converting beach-cast seagrass wrack into biochar: a climate-friendly solution to a coastal problem, Science of the total environment, vol. 574, pp. 90-94, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.09.021.

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Title Converting beach-cast seagrass wrack into biochar: a climate-friendly solution to a coastal problem
Author(s) Macreadie, Peter I.ORCID iD for Macreadie, Peter I.
Trevathan-Tackett, Stacey M.ORCID iD for Trevathan-Tackett, Stacey M.
Baldock, Jeffrey A.
Kelleway, Jeffrey J.
Journal name Science of the total environment
Volume number 574
Start page 90
End page 94
Total pages 5
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2017-01-01
ISSN 0048-9697
Keyword(s) adaptive management
climate change
blue carbon
Summary Excessive accumulation of plant ‘wrack’ on beaches as a result of coastal development and beach modification (e.g. groin installation) is a global problem. This study investigated the potential for converting beach-cast seagrass wrack into biochar as a ‘climate-friendly’ disposal option for resource managers. Wrack samples from 11 seagrass species around Australia were initially screened for their biochar potential using pyrolysis techniques, and then two species – Posidonia australis and Zostera muelleri – underwent detailed analyses. Both species had high levels of refractory materials and high conversion efficiency (48–57%) of plant carbon into biochar carbon, which is comparable to high-quality terrestrial biochar products. P. australis wrack gave higher biochar yields than Z. muelleri consistent with its higher initial carbon content. According to 13C NMR, wrack predominantly comprised carbohydrates, protein, and lignin. Aryl carbon typical of pyrogenic materials dominated the spectrum of the thermally-altered organic materials. Overall, this study provides the first data on the feasibility of generating biochar from seagrass wrack, showing that biocharring offers a promising climate-friendly alternative to disposal of beach wrack in landfill by avoiding a portion of the greenhouse gas emissions that would otherwise occur if wrack was left to decompose.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.09.021
Field of Research 050205 Environmental Management
060701 Phycology (incl Marine Grasses)
MD Multidisciplinary
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Crown Copyright
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