Biochar-based adsorbents for carbon dioxide capture: A critical review

Pavani Dulanja Dissanayake, Siming You, Avanthi Deshani Igalavithana, Yinfeng Xia, Amit Bhatnagar, Souradeep Gupta, Harn Wei Kua, Sumin Kim, Jung Hwan Kwon, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

196 Citations (Scopus)


Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main anthropogenic greenhouse gas contributing to global warming, causing tremendous impacts on the global ecosystem. Fossil fuel combustion is the main anthropogenic source of CO2 emissions. Biochar, a porous carbonaceous material produced through the thermochemical conversion of organic materials in oxygen-depleted conditions, is emerging as a cost-effective green sorbent to maintain environmental quality by capturing CO2. Currently, the modification of biochar using different physico-chemical processes, as well as the synthesis of biochar composites to enhance the contaminant sorption capacity, has drawn significant interest from the scientific community, which could also be used for capturing CO2. This review summarizes and evaluates the potential of using pristine and engineered biochar as CO2 capturing media, as well as the factors influencing the CO2 adsorption capacity of biochar and issues related to the synthesis of biochar-based CO2 adsorbents. The CO2 adsorption capacity of biochar is greatly governed by physico-chemical properties of biochar such as specific surface area, microporosity, aromaticity, hydrophobicity and the presence of basic functional groups which are influenced by feedstock type and production conditions of biochar. Micropore area (R2 = 0.9032, n = 32) and micropore volume (R2 = 0.8793, n = 32) showed a significant positive relationship with CO2 adsorption capacity of biochar. These properties of biochar are closely related to the type of feedstock and the thermochemical conditions of biochar production. Engineered biochar significantly increases CO2 adsorption capacity of pristine biochar due to modification of surface properties. Despite the progress in biochar development, further studies should be conducted to develop cost-effective, sustainable biochar-based composites for use in large-scale CO2 capture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109582
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Black carbon
  • Climate change
  • CO capture
  • Engineered biochar
  • Greenhouse gas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


Dive into the research topics of 'Biochar-based adsorbents for carbon dioxide capture: A critical review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this