Rice Husk Ash as Raw Material for the Synthesis of Silicon and Potassium Slow-Release Fertilizer

Rice husk ash (RHA) is a waste material produced in large quantities in many regions worldwide, and its disposal can be problematic. This work describes a method for using RHA to synthesize silicon and potassium slow-release fertilizer. The extraction of silica from RHA was accomplished by alkaline leaching with KOH. Different KOH concentrations and reaction times were evaluated and the best production of K2SiO3 solution was achieved using 6 mol L-1 and 6 h, respectively. The fertilizer was synthesized by the reaction of K2SiO3 with KAlO2 in aqueous medium, followed by calcination at 500 °C. X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses indicated that the fertilizer composition was similar to mineral kalsilite. Solubility essays indicated lower K+ and Si4+ release percentage in neutral medium. Kinetic mechanisms of release tests can be well explained by the pseudo-second order model. The proposed synthesis seems to be a viable process offering economic and environmental benefits.