Electroactive Fe-biochar for redox-related remediation of arsenic and chromium: Distinct redox nature with varying iron/carbon speciation

Zibo Xu, Zhonghao Wan, Yuqing Sun, Bin Gao, Deyi Hou, Xinde Cao, Michael Komárek, Yong Sik Ok, Daniel C.W. Tsang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Electroactive Fe-biochar has attracted significant attention for As(III)/Cr(VI) immobilization through redox reactions, and its performance essentially lies in the regulation of various Fe/C moieties for desired redox performance. Here, a series of Fe-biochar with distinct Fe/C speciation were rationally produced via two-step pyrolysis of iron minerals and biomass waste at 400−850 °C (BCX-Fe-Y, X and Y represented the first- and second-step pyrolysis temperature, respectively). The redox transformation of Cr(VI) and As(III) by Fe-biochar was evaluated in simulated wastewater under oxic or anoxic conditions. Results showed that more effective Cr(VI) reduction could be achieved by BCX-Fe-400, while a higher amount of As (III) was oxidized by BCX-Fe-850 under the anoxic environment. Besides, BCX-Fe-400 could generate more reactive oxygen species (e.g., OH) by reducing the O2, which enhanced the redox-related transformation of pollutants under the oxic situation. The evolving redox performance of Fe-biochar was governed by the transition of the redox state from reductive to oxidative related to the Fe/C speciation. The small-sized amorphous/low-crystalline ferrous minerals contributed to a higher electron-donating capacity (0.43−1.28 mmol g−1) of BCX-Fe-400. In contrast, the oxidative surface oxygen-functionalities (i.e., carboxyl and quinoid) on BCX-Fe-850 endowed a stronger electron-accepting capacity (0.71−1.39 mmol g−1). Moreover, the graphitic crystallites with edge-type defects and porous structure facilitated the electron transfer, leading to a higher electron efficiency of BCX-Fe-850. Overall, we unveiled the roles of both Fe and C speciation in maneuvering the redox reactivity of Fe-biochar, which can advance our rational design of electroactive Fe-biochar for redox-related environmental remediation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128479
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2022


  • Electron transfer
  • Engineered biochar
  • Mineral transformation
  • Reduction-oxidation
  • Sustainable waste management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Electroactive Fe-biochar for redox-related remediation of arsenic and chromium: Distinct redox nature with varying iron/carbon speciation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this