On the modelling and design of environmentally friendly biochar production for soil application

Li, Yize (2024) On the modelling and design of environmentally friendly biochar production for soil application. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Biochar production through pyrolysis of various agricultural wastes has the potential to effectively reduce waste disposal issues and mitigate the potential impact of global warming. This thesis firstly provided a comprehensive review of the state-of-the-art knowledge on the pyrolysis processing of agricultural waste, its influencing factors, and the multifunctional application of biochar. Meanwhile, machine learning modelling, life cycle assessment, multiple-objective optimization are reviewed in the context of advancing biochar production and applications, providing more effective means of optimising processes and assessing environmental impacts. However, existing studies tend to be targeted at individual machine learning models or environmental assessment approaches. From a time- and cost-saving perspective, the process operating parameters and the type of biomass must be appropriately selected to obtain the desired product yield and characteristics. It is necessary to determine the environmental performance of the process before deciding to apply the technology on a large scale. Thus, this thesis has innovatively developed a framework containing life cycle assessment method, machine learning modelling, multi-objective optimisation and multi-criteria decision making. Key aspects of the study included the comparison of machine learning methods for predicting the influences of agricultural waste compositions and process conditions on biochar production. Specifically, Multi-layer Perceptron Neural Network and Gaussian Process Regression models were compared in terms of their accuracy in predicting biochar yields and properties. An environmental impact assessment framework was developed by combining Machine Learning and Life Cycle Assessment to assess the carbon footprint of biochar production and soil application, highlighting the potential of biochar soil application to achieve negative carbon emissions. By combining Multi-Objective Optimization and Multi-Criteria Decision-Making techniques with Life Cycle Assessment, this study also developed a novel framework to optimise the biochar production process and analysis its environmental impact. Together, this research aimed to support the development of application-oriented biochar process pathways for agricultural waste management and low carbon development, promoting sustainable agricultural practices.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
T Technology > T Technology (General)
T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Supervisor's Name: You, Dr. Siming
Date of Award: 2024
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2024-84248
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2024 13:44
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2024 13:54
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.84248
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/84248
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