Although bottom ash (BA) [or mixtures of bottom and fly ash (FA)] from clean biomass fuels is currently used as liming agent, additive for compost, and fertilizer on agricultural and forest soils in certain European countries, in several other countries most of the ashes are currently disposed in landfills. This is due to both a lack of a proper classification of the materials and of regulatory barriers.
Chemical characterization including analysis of an array of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) proved that over 100,000 tons of BA currently landfilled every year in Portugal actually complied with legal limits for PTEs for soil fertilizers applied in other countries. Pot experiments were conducted, testing three dosages of BA and FA (1, 2.5, and 5%, in weight) in three mining soils with different properties. Additions of ash materials to soils led to an increase in the pore water pH relative to control pots (0% of ash added) and had a clear impact on DOC and on the solubilization of both macro- and micronutrients (notably Cu).
The results from the case study using BA and FA from a Portuguese biomass thermal power plant demonstrate that it is imperative to further develop a regulatory framework to alleviate technological and environmental barriers for biomass ash utilization as raw material for fertilizers and/or soil liming agent, in accordance with the goals of the circular economy. A more harmonized view on how to assess the merits and risks of the re-use of these materials is also needed.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Dahl O, Nurmesniemi H, Pöykiö R, Watkins G (2009) Comparison of the characteristics of bottom ash and fly ash from a medium-size (32 MW) municipal district heating plant incinerating forest residues and peat in a fluidized-bed boiler. Fuel Process Technol 90:871–878
Dahl O, Nurmesniemi H, Pöykiö R, Watkins G (2010) Heavy metal concentrations in bottom ash and fly ash fractions from a large-sized (246 MW) fluidized bed boiler with respect to their Finnish forest fertilizer limit values. Fuel Process Technol 91:1634–1639
Demeyer A, Nkana JCV, Verloo MG (2001) Characteristics of wood ash and influence on soil properties and nutrient uptake: an overview. Bioresour Technol 77:287–295
Etiégni L, Campbell AG (1991) Physical and chemical characteristics of wood ash. Bioresour Technol 37:173–178
EC (European Commission). 2011. Report from the commission to the European Parliament, the council, the European economic and social committee and the committee of the regions on the thematic strategy on the prevention and recycling of waste. COM/11/13. 19/1/2011, Brussels.
EC (European Commission). 2015. Closing the loop: Commission adopts ambitious new Circular Economy Package to boost competitiveness, create jobs and generate sustainable growth. IP/15/6203. 2/12/2015. Brussels.
EC (European Commission) (2016a) Ordinance reorganising sewage sludge recovery (Sewage Sludge Ordinance). TRIS/16/02979. 27/12/2016. Brussels.
EC (European Commission) (2016b) Proposal for a regulation of the European parliament and the council - laying down rules on the making available on the market of CE marked fertilizing products and amending Regulations (EC) No 1069/2009 and (EC) No 1107/2009. COM (2016), 157. 17/03/2016. Brussels.
Gianfreda L (2015) Enzymes of importance to rhizosphere processes. J Soil Sci Plant Nutr 15(2):283–306
Huang H, Campbell AG, Folk R, Mahler RL (1992) Wood ash as a soil additive and liming agent for wheat. Field studies Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 23:25–33
Ingerslev M, Skov S, Sevel L, Pedersen LB (2011) Element budgets of forest biomass combustion and ash fertilisation—a Danish case-study. Biomass Bioenergy 35:2697–2704
Insam H, Knapp BA (2011) Recycling of biomass ash, first edn. Springer-Verlag, Berlin
Modolo RC, Ferreira VM, Tarelho LA, Labrincha JA, Senff L, Silva L (2013) Mortar formulations with bottom ash from biomass combustion. Constr Build Mater 45:275–281
Modolo RCE, Tarelho LAC, Teixeira ER, Ferreira VM, Labrincha JA (2014) Treatment and use of bottom bed waste in biomass fluidized bed combustors. Fuel Process Technol 125:170–181
Modolo RCE, Silva T, Senff L, Tarelho LAC, Labrincha JA, Ferreira VM, Silva L (2015) Bottom ash from biomass combustion in BFB and its use in adhesive-mortars. Fuel Process Technol 129:192–202
Montes-Hernandez G, Pérez-López R, Renard F, Nieto JM, Charlet L (2009) Mineral sequestration of CO2 by aqueous carbonation of coal combustion fly-ash. J Hazard Mater 161:1347–1354
Obernberger I, Supancic K (2009) Possibilities of ash utilization from biomass combustion plants. In: Proceedings of the 17th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition. Hamburg, Germany
Ohno T, Erich MS (1993) Incubation-derived calcium carbonate equivalence of papermill boiler ashes derived from sludge and wood sources. Environ Pollut 79:175–180
Osakia M, Watanabe T, Tadano T (1997) Beneficial effect of aluminum on growth of plants adapted to low pH soils. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 43:551–563
Pandey VC, Singh N (2010) Impact of fly ash incorporation in soil systems. Agric Ecosyst Environ 136:16–27
Pels JR, Sarabèr AJ (2011) Utilization of Biomass Ashes. In: Grammelis P (ed) Solid Biofuels for Energy: A Greenhouse Gas Alternative. 1st edn. Springer-Verlag, London pp 219-235
Pels JR, de Nie DS, Kiel JHA (2005) Utilization of ashes from biomass combustion and gasification. In: Proceedings of the 14th European biomass Conference & Exhibition. France, Paris
Rajamma R, Ball RJ, Tarelho LAC, Allen GC, Labrincha JA, Ferreira VM (2009) Characterisation and use of biomass fly ash in cement-based materials. J Hazard Mater 172:1049–1060
Ribbing C (2007) Environmentally friendly use of non-coal ashes in Sweden. Waste Manag 27:1428–1435
Rodrigues SM, Henriques B, Ferreira da Silva E, Pereira ME, Duarte AC, Römkens PFAM (2010b) Evaluation of an approach for the characterization of reactive and available pools of twenty potentially toxic elements in soils: part I—the role of key soil properties in the variation of contaminants’ reactivity. Chemosphere 81:1549–1559
Rodrigues SM, Henriques B, Ferreira da Silva E, Pereira ME, Duarte AC, Groenenberg JA, Römkens PFAM (2010a) Evaluation of an approach for the characterization of reactive and available pools of 20 potentially toxic elements in soils: part II—solid-solution partition relationships and ion activity in soil solutions. Chemosphere 81:1560–1570
Ronen E (2007) Micro-elements in agriculture. Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses 6:39–48
Smith JL, Doran JW (1996) Measurement and use of pH and electrical conductivity for soil quality analysis. In: Doran JW, Jones AJ (eds) Methods for assessing soil quality. Soil Science Society of America, Wisconsin, pp 169–185
Tack FMG (2010) Trace elements: general soil chemistry, principles and processes. In: Hooda PS (ed) Trace elements in soils. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester, pp 9–32
Tarelho LAC, Neves DSF, Matos MAA (2011) Forest biomass waste combustion in a pilot-scale bubbling fluidised bed combustor. Biomass Bioenergy 35:1511–1523
Tarelho, L.A.C., Teixeira, E.R., Silva, D.F.R., Modolo, R.C.E., Silva, J.J.F., 2012. Characteristics, management, and applications of ashes from thermochemical conversion of biomass to energy. Proceedings of the World Bioenergy 2012, Conference and Exhibition on Biomass for Energy. Jonkoping, Sweden.
Tarelho LAC, Teixeira ER, Silva DFR, Modolo RCE, Labrincha JA, Rocha FJFT (2015) Characteristics of distinct ash flows in a biomass thermal power plant with bubbling fluidised bed combustor. Energy 90:387–402
Ukwattage NL, Ranjith PG, Bouazza M (2013) The use of coal combustion fly ash as a soil amendment in agricultural lands (with comments on its potential to improve food security and sequester carbon). Fuel 109:400–408
Van Eijk, R.J., Obernberger, I., Supancic, K., 2012. Options for increased utilization of ash from biomass combustion and co-firing. KEMA Report, Arnhem, Netherlands.
Van Swaaij, W., Kersten, S., Paltz, W., 2015. Biomass power for the world: transformations to effective use—6th volume, first ed. Pan Stanford Publishing PTE. Ltd., Singapore.
Vassilev SV, Baxter D, Andersen LK, Vassileva CG (2013) An overview of the composition and application of biomass ash. Part 2. Potential utilisation, technological and ecological advantages and challenges. Fuel 105:19–39
This work was supported by European Funds through “Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade—COMPETE” and by National Funds through the Portuguese Science Foundation (FCT) within project PEst-C/MAR/LA0017/2013. S.M.R. acknowledges the financial support from FCT (Project IF/01637/2013). The authors also acknowledge the financial support of both FCT and COMPETE through Project no. FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-02800 (FCT PTDC/AGR-PRO/4091/2012) and of the European Commission through Project LIFE14 ENV/PT/000369.
Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues
Electronic supplementary material
(DOCX 2053 kb)
About this article
Cite this article
Cruz, N.C., Rodrigues, S.M., Carvalho, L. et al. Ashes from fluidized bed combustion of residual forest biomass: recycling to soil as a viable management option. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 14770–14781 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-9013-6
- Bottom ash
- Fly ash
- Soil amendment