Critical Review on Biochar-Supported Catalysts for Pollutant Degradation and Sustainable Biorefinery

Manish Kumar, Xinni Xiong, Yuqing Sun, Iris K.M. Yu, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Deyi Hou, Juhi Gupta, Thallada Bhaskar, Ashok Pandey

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Biochar (BC) is a material synthesized from biomass by thermochemical conversion. Physicochemical and functional properties of BCs can be enhanced by several methods of activation or functionalization. The activated and functionalized BCs with a large surface area and abundant surface functional groups can serve as effective catalysts or catalyst supports for various chemical transformations as well as for adsorption/sorption/enrichment of low-concentration pollutant streams. Among them, remediation of environmental contaminants and production of a range of bioproducts in biorefineries have attracted much attention in the context of achieving green and sustainable development. Although the applications of BC as adsorbents in removal of pollutants have been discussed extensively, there is a lot of untapped potential with new applications of BCs as catalysts or catalyst supports for advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) and sustainable biorefineries. In this review, the production and activation/functionalization of BCs are scrutinized. The mechanisms of activated and functionalized BC and BC-supported catalysts in degradation of organic contaminants via AOPs assisted with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), peroxydisulfate (PDS), and peroxymonosulfate (PMS) are reviewed. Emerging applications of BC as catalyst for production of biodiesel and high-value chemicals, tar removal, bio-syngas reforming, and energy storage and conversion devices are discussed in detail.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1900149
JournalAdvanced Sustainable Systems
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • advanced oxidation processes
  • catalytic degradation
  • engineered biochar
  • physical/chemical activation
  • sustainable biorefinery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)

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