New insights into CO2 sorption on biochar/Fe oxyhydroxide composites: Kinetics, mechanisms, and in situ characterization

Xiaoyun Xu, Zibo Xu, Bin Gao, Ling Zhao, Yulin Zheng, Jinsheng Huang, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Yong Sik Ok, Xinde Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Despite its importance, chemical process has been often overlooked in CO2 sorption on carbon based oxyhydroxide composites. In this study, pristine and ball-milled biochar/Fe oxyhydroxide composites were fabricated for CO2 sorption at 25 °C. The composites, particularly the ones with high Fe content, were effective sorbents for CO2 with the capacities of up to 160 mg g−1. The primary mechanism of CO2 sorption on biochar composites with low Fe content was physical adsorption. When the Fe content increased, biochar/Fe oxyhydroxide composites showed enhanced CO2 sorption capacities, but the sorption kinetics became slower. This is because the governing CO2 sorption mechanism was shifted from physical adsorption to chemical reaction between Fe oxyhydroxides and CO2. The formed (oxy)hydroxycarbonate could be decomposed at a temperature between 50 and 125 °C. Furthermore, ball milling could speed up CO2 mineralization rate on the composites, especially for those with high Fe content, to favor the relative significance of chemical sorption. Both physical and chemical CO2 sorption mechanisms were verified by different characterization methods including in situ diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform (DRIFT) spectroscopy. Findings of this study not only demonstrate the importance of chemical sorption, but also provide new insights on CO2 capture by low-cost and environmentally benign biochar/Fe oxyhydroxide composites. Besides, the low regeneration temperature of chemically-sorbed CO2 gives biochar/Fe oxyhydroxide composite a competitive edge over other CO2 sorbents, which often need a high regeneration temperature or are not regenerable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123289
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21537002 , 21607099 , 21777095 ), and the National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2018YFC1802701 ). Appendix A

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • Ball mill
  • Biochar composite
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Chemical sorption
  • Regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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