Adsorption and visible-light photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants by functionalized biochar: Role of iodine doping and reactive species

Tianqi Wang, Pavani Dulanja Dissanayake, Mingzhe Sun, Zeyu Tao, Wei Han, Ning An, Qinfen Gu, Dehua Xia, Bingbing Tian, Yong Sik Ok, Jin Shang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Here we developed the functionalized biochar as low-cost and heavy metal-free photocatalysts via a facile iodine doping method, which exhibit efficient adsorption and visible-light-driven photocatalytic degradation of representative organic pollutants, phenol and tetracycline. On one hand, iodine doping elevates the adsorption via creating extra pores, e.g., the adsorbed amounts of phenol by iodine-doped WSP and OSR biochar are increased by 161.8% and 146.3%, respectively, which in turn facilitates the photocatalytic oxidation of the adsorbed pollutants. On the other hand, iodine doping leads to the strong photo-induced excitation and remarkably reduced charge carrier transfer resistance, boosting the photocatalytic activity of iodine-doped biochar by more than 20 orders towards organic pollutants (e.g., phenol) degradation. The systematic analysis of reactive species reveals the active roles of [rad]O2, H2O2, 1O2, [rad]OH, electrons, and holes in photocatalytic process and identifies [rad]O2 to be the major contributor. This work affords a facile approach to generating porous and visible-light-driven photocatalyst from biomass for efficient adsorbing and degrading organic pollutants, opening up an avenue to turn biowaste into biomaterials for sustainable environmental remediation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111026
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was financially supported by the Science and Technology Innovation Commission of Shenzhen Municipality ( JCYJ20180307123906004 , JCYJ20190808181003717 ), the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( 21706224 , 21671075 ), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation ( 2020M672810 ), the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong ( CityU 21301817 , 11215518 ), the Applied Research Grant from City University of Hong Kong (Ref: CityU 9667217 ), and the Strategic Research Grants from City University of Hong Kong (Ref: CityU 11306419 , 11308420 ). The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the UK Biochar Research Centre, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh . This research was also supported by the Hydrogen Energy Innovation Technology Development Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korean government (Ministry of Science and ICT ( MSIT )) (No. NRF-2019M3E6A1064197 ) (Prof. Yong Sik Ok, Contribution: 100%).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Biochar
  • Iodine doping
  • Organic pollutants
  • Phenol
  • Tetracycline
  • Visible light photocatalytic degradation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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