Characterization of hard- and softwood biochars pyrolyzed at high temperature

Shasha Jiang, Tuan A.H. Nguyen, Victor Rudolph, Hong Yang, Dongke Zhang, Yong Sik Ok, Longbin Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


A wide range of waste biomass/waste wood feedstocks abundantly available at mine sites provide the opportunity to produce biochars for cost-effective improvement of mine tailings and contaminated land at metal mines. In the present study, soft- and hardwood biochars derived from pine and jarrah woods at high temperature (700 °C) were characterized for their physiochemical properties including chemical components, electrical conductivity, pH, zeta potential, cation-exchange capacity (CEC), alkalinity, BET surface area and surface morphology. Evaluating and comparing these characteristics with available data from the literature have affirmed the strong dictation of precursor type on the physiochemical properties of the biochars. The pine and jarrah wood feedstocks are mainly different in their proportions of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, resulting in biochars with heterogeneous physiochemical properties. The hardwood jarrah biochar exhibits much higher microporosity, alkalinity and electrostatic capacity than the softwood pine. Correlation analysis and principal component analysis also show a good correlation between CEC–BET–alkalinity, and alkalinity–ash content. These comprehensive characterization and analysis results on biochars’ properties from feedstocks of hardwood (from forest land clearance at mine construction) and waste pine wood (from mining operations) will provide a good guide for tailoring biochar functionalities for remediating metal mine tailings. The relatively inert high-temperature biochars can be stored for a long term at mine closure after decades of operations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-415
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental geochemistry and health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr 1
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The present study was partially funded by the UWA-UQ bilateral collaboration grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • BET surface area
  • Biochar physicochemical characteristics
  • CEC–BET–alkalinity
  • Wood feedstocks
  • Wood-derived biochar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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