Biochar-supported nanoscale zero-valent iron as an efficient catalyst for organic degradation in groundwater

Zhe Li, Yuqing Sun, Yang Yang, Yitong Han, Tongshuai Wang, Jiawei Chen, Daniel C.W. Tsang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

259 Citations (Scopus)


High-efficiency and cost-effective catalysts are critical to completely mineralization of organic contaminants for in-situ groundwater remediation via advanced oxidation processes (AOPs). The engineered biochar is a promising method for waste biomass utilization and sustainable remediation. This study engineers maize stalk (S)- and maize cob (C)-derived biochars (i.e., SB300, SB600, CB300, and CB600, respectively) with oxygen-containing functional groups as a carbon-based support for nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI). Morphological and physiochemical characterization showed that nZVI could be impregnated within the framework of the synthesized Fe-CB600 composite, which exhibited the largest surface area, pore volume, iron loading capacity, and Fe0 proportion. Superior degradation efficiency (100% removal in 20 min) of trichloroethylene (TCE, 0.1 mM) and fast pseudo-first-order kinetics (kobs =22.0 h−1) were achieved via peroxymonosulfate (PMS, 5 mM) activation by the Fe-CB600 (1 g L−1) under groundwater condition (bicarbonate buffer solution at pH = 8.2). Superoxide radical and singlet oxygen mediated by Fe0 and oxygen-containing group (i.e., C[dbnd]O) were demonstrated as the major reactive oxygen species (ROSs) responsible for TCE dechlorination. The effectiveness and mechanism of the Fe/C composites for rectifying organic-contaminated groundwater were depicted in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121240
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2020


  • Biomass waste valorization
  • Engineered biochar
  • nZVI-carbon composites
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Sustainable waste management
  • Sustainable/green remediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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