- Sustainability of soil fertility and the use of lignocellulosic crop harvest residues for the production of biofuels: a literature review
- Environmental Technology
- Volume | Issue number
- 34 | 13-14
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Use of lignocellulosic crop harvest residues for liquid or gaseous biofuel production may impact soil quality, long-term soil fertility and the major determinants of the latter, stocks of soil organic carbon and nutrients. When soil organic carbon stocks of mineral cropland soils are to be maintained, there is scope for the removal of lignocellulosic harvest residues in several systems with much reduced tillage or no tillage. The scope for such removal might be increased when suitably treated residues from the conversion of harvest residues into biofuel are returned to cropland soils. For mineral cropland soils under conventional tillage, the scope for the production of liquid biofuels from harvest residues is likely to be less than in the case of no-till systems. When fertility of cropland soils is to be sustainable, nutrients present in suitably treated biofuel production residues have to be returned to these soils. Apparently, the actual return of carbon and nutrients present in residues of biofuel production from crop harvest residues to arable soils currently predominantly concerns the application of digestates of anaerobic digestion. The effects thereof on soil fertility and quality need further clarification. Further clarification about the effects on soil fertility and quality of chars and of co-products of lignocellulosic ethanol production is also needed.
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