Biochar as a Rechargeable Geobattery to Promote Nitrogen Removal in Stormwater from Roadways

The goal of this proposed research is to test the hypothesis that biochar is a rechargeable "geo-battery" that can promote microbial nitrate removal from stormwater. This hypothesis is based on recent laboratory and field results, as outlined below. In a recently completed Center for Advanced Infrastructure & Transportation (CAIT) funded project, the project demonstrated that anaerobic bacteria can use reduced biochar as an electron source to degrade nitrate in water. It was not clear, though, whether the "used" (i.e., oxidized) biochar can be rejuvenated to support further nitrate reduction. In a parallel field study, recent data from a pilot scale bioretention cell offer interesting clues. The pilot cell, located on the University of Delaware (UD) campus, consisted of a biochar-amended top layer (4% biochar) and a zero-valent iron-amended bottom layer (10% ZVI). Both ZVI and biochar were added to provide the electrons needed for nitrate reduction, but their modes of action were different. ZVI was a reducing agent that continuously supplied electrons for microbial nitrate removal. In contrast, biochar, the project hypothesized, acted as a "geo-battery" that would undergo reversible charging-discharging cycles and, when charged, it can provide electrons for nitrate degradation.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Gilliam, LaTonya

    Szary, Pat

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Delaware, Newark

    Department of Civil Engineering
    301 DuPont Hall
    Newark, DE  United States  19716
  • Principal Investigators:

    Imhoff, Paul

    Chiu, Pei

  • Start Date: 20150901
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20151231
  • Source Data: RiP Project 40236

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01572370
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC16, CAIT-UTC-061
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Aug 7 2015 1:01AM