Biochar composites: Emerging trends, field successes and sustainability implications

Liuwei Wang, Yong Sik Ok, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Daniel S. Alessi, Jörg Rinklebe, Ondřej Mašek, Nanthi S. Bolan, Deyi Hou

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Engineered biochars are promising candidates in a wide range of environmental applications, including soil fertility improvement, contaminant immobilization, wastewater treatment and in situ carbon sequestration. This review provides a systematic classification of these novel biochar composites and identifies the promising future trends in composite research and application. It is proposed that metals, minerals, layered double hydroxides, carbonaceous nanomaterials and microorganisms enhance the performances of biochars via distinct mechanisms. In this review, four novel trends are identified and assessed critically. Firstly, facile synthesis methods, in particular ball milling and co-pyrolysis, have emerged as popular composite fabrication strategies that are suitable for large-scale applications. Secondly, biochar modification with green materials, such as natural clay minerals and microorganisms, align well with the on-going green and sustainable remediation (GSR) movement. Furthermore, new applications in soil health improvement and climate change mitigation support the realization of United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Finally, the importance of field studies is getting more attention, since evidence of field success is critically needed before large-scale applications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSoil Use and Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • climate change
  • field trial
  • life on lands
  • SDGs
  • soil quality
  • sustainable remediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science
  • Pollution


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