Application Prospect of Biochar in Green Development

Biochar has adsorption functions and can be used as an adsorbent for heavy metal pollution treatment, soil amendment agent, fertilizer slow-release carrier, carbon dioxide sequestration agent, and high-quality energy source. It is applied in agriculture, industry, fertilizers, sewage treatment, biodiesel, and other fields. In recent years, due to the renewability of biomass, the technology for biomass carbonization has been continuously improved and upgraded. It has shifted from traditional external heating carbonization dry distillation processes to gradually adopting self-combustible gas circulation heating processes. Alternatively, it employs biomass carbonization, dry distillation, gasification, and multiple co-production processes. These processes have promoted the industrialization of biomass carbonization and broadened the application prospects of biochar in green development.

Application of Biochar in Water Pollution Control

Heavy metal pollution in water mainly comes from two sources: natural and anthropogenic. Among them, anthropogenic pollution sources generated from processes such as mining and smelting, chemical industry, waste battery treatment, leather and dyeing, atmospheric wet and dry deposition, pesticides, and fertilizers are the main causes of heavy metal pollution in water bodies. This type of pollution not only contaminates the aquatic environment but also poses serious risks to human health.

Many studies have shown that biochar made from plant and animal residues can effectively adsorb organic pollutants and heavy metals in water bodies. Biochar made from cow dung pyrolyzed at low temperatures can effectively remove atrazine and lead from water bodies. Research results indicate that the removal of lead from water is mainly due to the precipitation reaction with the abundant phosphorus contained in cow dung. Biochar produced from pine wood and rice husks using hydrothermal methods can also adsorb lead in water bodies. Hardwood and straw biochar produced by pyrolysis can effectively remove lead and zinc from water bodies, while biochar made from chicken manure can immobilize Cu, Cd, Ni, and Pb in water bodies.

water pollution control
wastewater treatment facility

The adsorption principles of biochar produced from different biomass sources also vary. Biochar made from plants effectively immobilizes Cd, Cu, Ni, and Pb in water and soil mainly through chelation reactions and precipitation. On the other hand, biochar made from cow dung exhibits strong adsorption capacity for lead, primarily due to the precipitation reaction between lead and phosphate and carbonate radicals in the biochar.

Application of Biochar in Atmospheric Pollution Control

Carbon-containing materials such as activated carbon can effectively adsorb sulfur-containing gases such as hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide through physical adsorption, chemical adsorption, catalytic oxidation, and catalytic conversion. This is mainly attributed to the surface properties of carbon-containing materials. Within the pore structure of carbon-containing materials, different sulfur-containing substances can be oxidized into elemental sulfur, sulfur dioxide, or sulfuric acid.

Biochar can also adsorb ammonia gas, and its adsorption capacity is closely related to surface acidity. Carbon-containing materials like biochar adsorb ammonia gas through both physical and chemical adsorption mechanisms, primarily mediated by surface functional groups.

Research on the Application of Biochar in Soil

Studies have found that after adding biochar to soil, the availability of cations and phosphorus in the soil increases, and the concentration of total nitrogen also increases. The increase in soil fertility is not only due to the nutrients provided by biochar itself and its retention of nutrients but also because it alters the dynamics of soil microorganisms, promoting biochar sequestration. With the deepening of scientific research, it has been discovered that biochar has significant implications for global carbon cycling and mitigating global climate change. Biochar is considered an important reservoir for carbon dioxide, and the incorporation of biochar into agricultural soils may become an important pathway for human adaptation to global climate change.

biochar improves the growth of crops

Most plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their biomass or organic matter in the soil. Taking this process a step further, heating these organic materials at low temperatures to pyrolyze them, and then returning them to the soil creates a long-term, stable carbon sink. Biochar storage facilities can offset 10% of emissions from other fossil fuels.

Application of Biochar in Energy

For a long time, the rapid development of human society has been built on an energy structure characterized by high consumption, high emissions, and high pollution. Without an adequate energy supply, overall sustainable development of the economy and society is difficult to achieve. Establishing a new system with multiple energy sources coexisting has become an urgent task. With the continuous improvement of low-cost carbonization processes, biochar has gradually become a primary form of efficient biomass utilization. Current biomass carbonization technology can collect, store, and centrally carbonize and process waste biomass, transforming it into on-site carbonization and carbon collection. Biochar produced under this model is easy to ignite, smokeless, odorless, and pollution-free. Research has shown that these characteristics make it a viable alternative to common fuels such as firewood, raw coal, and liquefied petroleum gas. It belongs to a renewable energy source with enormous market development potential.

biochar energy plant


In summary, as research progresses, the significant role of biochar in the global carbon biogeochemical cycle, mitigation of global climate change, agricultural soil improvement, crop cultivation, and ecological restoration of soil pollutants is becoming increasingly apparent. It can be foreseen that biochar will have broader application prospects in environmental science, soil science, and agricultural production.

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