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Recent developments on algal biochar production and characterization

Yu, Kai Ling, Lau, Beng Fye, Show, Pau Loke, Ong, Hwai Chyuan, Ling, Tau Chuan, Chen, Wei-Hsin, Ng, Eng Poh, Chang, Jo-Shu
Bioresource technology 2017 v.246 pp. 2-11
adsorbents, algae, biochar, biofuels, biomass, feedstocks, hydrothermal carbonization, ion exchange, microwave treatment, nutrient content, physicochemical properties, pollutants, pyrolysis, soil amendments, torrefaction, wastewater treatment
Algal biomass is known as a promising sustainable feedstock for the production of biofuels and other valuable products. However, since last decade, massive amount of interests have turned to converting algal biomass into biochar. Due to their high nutrient content and ion-exchange capacity, algal biochars can be used as soil amendment for agriculture purposes or adsorbents in wastewater treatment for the removal of organic or inorganic pollutants. This review describes the conventional (e.g., slow and microwave-assisted pyrolysis) and newly developed (e.g., hydrothermal carbonization and torrefaction) methods used for the synthesis of algae-based biochars. The characterization of algal biochar and a comparison between algal biochar with biochar produced from other feedstocks are also presented. This review aims to provide updated information on the development of algal biochar in terms of the production methods and the characterization of its physical and chemical properties to justify and to expand their potential applications.