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Water 2018, 10(2), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10020182

Activated Carbon, Biochar and Charcoal: Linkages and Synergies across Pyrogenic Carbon’s ABCs

1
Agroscope, Environmental Analytics, Reckenholzstrasse 191, CH-8046 Zurich, Switzerland
2
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Soil and Water Management Unit, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA
3
Ithaka Institute, Ancienne Eglise 9, CH-1974 Arbaz, Switzerland
4
Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Department Process Engineering, Überlandstrasse 133, CH-8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
5
Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Application and Development, Department Process Engineering, Überlandstrasse 133, CH-8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 January 2018 / Revised: 31 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochar Based Soil Water Treatment)
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Abstract

Biochar and activated carbon, both carbonaceous pyrogenic materials, are important products for environmental technology and intensively studied for a multitude of purposes. A strict distinction between these materials is not always possible, and also a generally accepted terminology is lacking. However, research on both materials is increasingly overlapping: sorption and remediation are the domain of activated carbon, which nowadays is also addressed by studies on biochar. Thus, awareness of both fields of research and knowledge about the distinction of biochar and activated carbon is necessary for designing novel research on pyrogenic carbonaceous materials. Here, we describe the dividing ranges and common grounds of biochar, activated carbon and other pyrogenic carbonaceous materials such as charcoal based on their history, definition and production technologies. This review also summarizes thermochemical conversions and non-thermal pre- and post-treatments that are used to produce biochar and activated carbon. Our overview shows that biochar research should take advantage of the numerous techniques of activation and modification to tailor biochars for their intended applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: activated charcoal; pyrolysis; activation; modification; pyrogenic organic matter; adsorbent; negative-emission technology activated charcoal; pyrolysis; activation; modification; pyrogenic organic matter; adsorbent; negative-emission technology
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Hagemann, N.; Spokas, K.; Schmidt, H.-P.; Kägi, R.; Böhler, M.A.; Bucheli, T.D. Activated Carbon, Biochar and Charcoal: Linkages and Synergies across Pyrogenic Carbon’s ABCs. Water 2018, 10, 182.

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