Activated carbon (AC) has been extensively utilized as an adsorbent over the past few decades. AC has widespread applications, including the removal of different contaminants from water and wastewater, and it is also being used in capacitors, battery electrodes, catalytic supports, and gas storage materials because of its specific characteristics e.g., high surface area with electrical properties. The production of AC from naturally occurring precursors (e.g., coal, biomass, coconut shell, sugarcane bagasse, and so on) is highly interesting in terms of the material applications in chemistry; however, recently much focus has been placed on the use of agricultural wastes (e.g., rice husk) to produce AC. Rice husk (RH) is an abundant as well as cheap material which can be converted into AC for various applications. Various pollutants such as textile dyes, organic contaminants, inorganic anions, pesticides, and heavy metals can be effectively removed by RH-derived AC. In addition, RH-derived AC has been applied in supercapacitors, electrodes for Li-ion batteries, catalytic support, and energy storage, among other uses. Cost-effective synthesis of AC can be an alternative for AC production. Therefore, this review mainly covers different synthetic routes and applications of AC produced from RH precursors. Different environmental, catalytic, and energy applications have been pinpointed. Furthermore, AC regeneration, desorption, and relevant environmental concerns have also been covered. Future scopes for further research and development activities are also discussed. Overall, it was found that RH-derived AC has great potential for different applications which can be further explored at real scales, i.e., for industrial applications in the future.
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