Review on utilization of biochar for metal-contaminated soil and sediment remediation

Mingming Wang , Yi Zhu , Lirong Cheng , Bruce Andserson , Xiaohui Zhao , Dayang Wang , Aizhong Ding


Received January 14, 2017,Revised August 04, 2017, Accepted August 07, 2017, Available online August 12, 2017

Volume 30,2018,Pages 156-173

Biochar is a carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative material produced through thermal decomposition of plant- and animal-based biomass under oxygen-limited conditions. Recently, there has been an increasing interest in the application of biochar as an adsorbent, soil ameliorant and climate mitigation approach in many types of applications. Metal-contaminated soil remediation using biochar has been intensively investigated in small-scale and pilot-scale trials with obtained beneficial results and multifaceted effects. But so far, the study and application of biochar in contaminated sediment management has been very limited, and this is also a worldwide problem. Nonetheless, there is reason to believe that the same multiple benefits can also be realized with these sediments due to similar mechanisms for stabilizing contaminants. This paper provides a review on current biochar properties and its use as a sorbent/amendment for metal-contaminated soil/sediment remediation and its effect on plant growth, fauna habits as well as microorganism communities. In addition, the use of biochar as a potential strategy for contaminated sediment management is also discussed, especially as regards in-situ planning. Finally, we highlight the possibility of biochar application as an effective amendment and propose further research directions to ensure the safe and sustainable use of biochar as an amendment for remediation of contaminated soil and sediment.

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