Wood-based biochar for the removal of potentially toxic elements in water and wastewater: a critical review

Sabry M. Shaheen, Nabeel Khan Niazi, Noha E. E Hassan, Irshad Bibi, Hailong Wang, Daniel C  W Tsang, Yong Sik Ok, Nanthi Bolan, Jörg Rinklebe

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

322 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, biochar has received significant attention, especially for the removal of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) from water and wastewater. No review has been focused on the potential use of wood-based biochar (WB) for the removal of PTEs in water and wastewater. Here, we have critically reviewed the (i) preparation and characterisation of WB; (ii) removal efficiency of WB for PTEs in water with respect to its physicochemical characteristics, biochar/water ratio, pH, and sorption system; (iii) removal mechanisms of PTEs by WB; (iv) fate of the sorbed PTEs onto WB; and (v) recovery of the sorbed PTEs from the resultant sludge of WB. We also discussed the removal of PTEs by engineered/designer WB as compared to pristine WB. This review demonstrates the overarching scientific opportunities for a comprehensive understanding of using WB as an emerging biosorbent and a promising low-cost and effective material for the remediation of PTEs contaminated water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-247
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Materials Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2019


  • biosorption
  • inorganic contaminants
  • Lignocellulosic biomass
  • pyrolysis
  • remediation
  • wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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