Fabrication and characterization of hydrophilic corn stalk biochar-supported nanoscale zero-valent iron composites for efficient metal removal

Fan Yang, Shuaishuai Zhang, Yuqing Sun, Kui Cheng, Jiangshan Li, Daniel C.W. Tsang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

157 Citations (Scopus)


Pyrolyzing low-cost agro-waste into biochar is a promising means for waste biomass utilization. This study engineers corn stalk-derived biochar with abundant hydrophilic functional groups as a support material for iron nanoparticles impregnation (nZVI-HCS). Surface chemistry and morphology of nZVI-HCS composites is characterized by SEM, TEM, TG, XRD, FTIR, XPS, and BET techniques, which helps to elucidate the mechanisms of Pb 2+, Cu 2+ and Zn 2+ removal from single and mixed-metal solutions in batch experiments. Equilibrium adsorption capacities can reach 195.1, 161.9 and 109.7 mg·g −1 for Pb 2+, Cu 2+ and Zn 2+ at neutral medium after 6-h process, respectively. The engineered biochar with hierarchical pores can impregnate iron nanoparticles, serve as an adsorbent, and enhance metal reduction/precipitation. Rapid removal and high performance can be maintained after five regeneration/reuse cycles. Multiple interaction mechanisms including adsorption, precipitation, reduction and complexation are responsible for metal removal by nZVI-HCS composites, which can be a novel biowaste-derived material for wastewater treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-497
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Engineered biochar
  • Iron-based nanomaterials
  • nZVI-carbon composites
  • Potentially toxic elements
  • Waste biomass valorization
  • Wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal

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