A critical review of biochar-based materials for the remediation of heavy metal contaminated environment: Applications and practical evaluations

Abstract The contamination of heavy metals (HMs) in the environment has aroused a global concern. The valid remediation of HM contaminated environment is a highly significant issue. As alternative to carbon materials, biochar has been vastly documented for the remediation of HM contaminated environment. However, there are some possible imperfections to meet the actual remediation tasks as the finite properties of raw biochar, and the remediation process is complex and unexpectedly. This review focuses on the progress made on environmental HM remediation by biochar-based materials within the past six years. The property analysis and key modifications of biochar are summarized inspired by their applicability or necessity for HM decontamination, and the environmental remediation as well as the implicated mechanisms are thoroughly elaborated from multiple pivotal sides. The evaluations of practical application associated with biochar amendment are also presented. Finally, some pertinent improvements and research directions are proposed. To our knowledge, this article is the first time to make a systematic summary on the reliability and practicability of biochar-based materials for environmental HM remediation, and critically pointed out the existing issues to facilitate the judicious design of biochar-based materials and understanding the research trends. It is also aims to provide reference for subsequent research and propel the practical applications.
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