The wine industry represents an important economic sector in the Mediterranean countries. Currently, grape marc is valorized for ethanol production by distillation process generating a second residue called exhausted grape marc (EGM) that should be properly managed in order to avoid any related negative impacts onto the environment. In the present investigation, an innovative strategy was proposed to convert EGM into biofuels and biofertilizers through thermochemical conversion process such as carbonization/pyrolysis technique. In order to select the appropriate operating parameters, the impact of the slow pyrolysis temperatures of EGM (from 300 to 700 °C) on biochar production yields as well as their physico-chemical characteristics were assessed. The experimental results showed that the biochars yields production decrease with increasing the pyrolysis temperature and reach a plateau above 500 °C. The biochar yield at 500 °C is around 33%, which is amongst the highest values obtained for food processing residues. The biochar physico-chemical characterization showed a higher surface area (253.4 m2/g) was obtained for the char prepared at 600 °C. However, the maximum nutrients contents, namely potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus were registered at 500 °C. Based on the biochar yields and characteristics, it seems that EGM biochar produced through slow pyrolysis at 500 °C could be considered as a promising biofertilizer for agricultural purposes.
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