The direct carbon fuel cell (DCFC) is an emerging technology for energy production. The application of biomass in DCFCs will be a major transition from the use of coal to generate energy. However, the relationship between biomass or biochar composition and the electrochemical performance of a DCFC is yet to be studied. The performance of a DCFC using fuel sources derived from woody and non-woody biomass were compared in this study. The effect of pyrolysis temperature ranges from 550 °C to 850 °C on the preparation of biochar from rubber wood (RW) and rice husk (RH) were evaluated for power generation from DCFCs. In addition, the effect of applying chemical pre-treatment and post-treatment on biochar were further investigated for DCFC performance. In general, the power density derived from rubber wood biochar is significantly higher (2.21 mW cm−2
) compared to rice husk biochar (0.07 mW cm−2
). This might be due to the presence of an oxygen functional group, higher fixed carbon content, and lower ash content in rubber wood biochar. The acid and alkaline pre-treatment and post-treatment have altered the composition with a lower ash content in rubber wood biochar. The structural and compositional alterations in alkaline pre-treatment bring a positive effect in enhancing the power density from DCFCs. This study concludes that woody biochar is more suitable for DCFC application, and alkaline pre-treatment in the preparation of biochar enhances the electrochemical activity of DCFC. Further investigation on the optimization of DCFC operating conditions could be performed.
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