Recent Developments in Understanding Biochar’s Physical–Chemistry

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Biochar is a porous material obtained by biomass thermal degradation in oxygen-starved conditions. It is nowadays applied in many fields. For instance, it is used to synthesize new materials r environmental remediation, catalysis, animal feeding, adsorbent for smells, etc. In the last decades, biochar has been applied also to soils due to its beneficial effects on soil structure, pH, soil organic carbon content, and stability, and, therefore, soil fertility. In addition, this carbonaceous material shows high chemical stability. Once applied to soil it maintains its nature for centuries. Consequently, it can be considered a sink to store atmospheric carbon dioxide in soils, thereby mitigating the effects of global climatic changes. The literature contains plenty of papers dealing with biochar’s environmental effects. However, a discrepancy exists between studies dealing with biochar applications and those dealing with the physical-chemistry behind biochar behavior. On the one hand, the impression is that most of the papers where biochar is tested in soils are based on trial-and-error procedures. Sometimes these give positive results, sometimes not. Consequently, it appears that the scientific world is divided into two factions: either supporters or detractors. On the other hand, studies dealing with biochar’s physical-chemistry do not appear helpful in settling thefactions’ problem. This review paper aims at collecting all the information on physical-chemistry of biochar and to use it to explain biochar’s role in different fields of application.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-41
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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