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Biochar as a sorbent for contaminant management in soil and water: A review

TitleBiochar as a sorbent for contaminant management in soil and water: A review
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsAhmad, Mahtab, Rajapaksha Anushka Upamali, Lim Jung Eun, Zhang Ming, Bolan Nanthi, Mohan Dinesh, Vithanage Meththika, Lee Sang Soo, and Ok Yong Sik
JournalChemosphere
Abstract

Biochar is a stable carbon-rich by-product synthesized through pyrolysis/carbonization of plant- and animal-based biomass. An increasing interest in the beneficial application of biochar has opened up multidisciplinary areas for science and engineering. The potential biochar applications include carbon sequestration, soil fertility improvement, pollution remediation, and agricultural by-product/waste recycling. The key parameters controlling its properties include pyrolysis temperature, residence time, heat transfer rate, and feedstock type. The efficacy of biochar in contaminant management depends on its surface area, pore size distribution and ion-exchange capacity. Physical architecture and molecular composition of biochar could be critical for practical application to soil and water. Relatively high pyrolysis temperatures generally produce biochars that are effective in the sorption of organic contaminants by increasing surface area, microporosity, and hydrophobicity; whereas the biochars obtained at low temperatures are more suitable for removing inorganic/polar organic contaminants by oxygen-containing functional groups, electrostatic attraction, and precipitation. However, due to complexity of soil–water system in nature, the effectiveness of biochars on remediation of various organic/inorganic contaminants is still uncertain. In this review, a succinct overview of current biochar use as a sorbent for contaminant management in soil and water is summarized and discussed.