Thermochemical upcycling of food waste into engineered biochar for energy and environmental applications: A critical review

Xiangzhou Yuan, Yafei Shen, Piumi Amasha Withana, Ondřej Mašek, Carol Sze Ki Lin, Siming You, Filip M.G. Tack, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Environmental issues caused by food waste are important concerns for human well-being and ecosystem health. Valorization of food waste into energy and carbon materials has been extensively investigated. Here, we reviewed the most recent advancements in the thermochemical conversion of food waste into engineered biochar. Synthesis routes and practical applications of the food waste-derived biochar was succinctly reviewed. Engineered biochar is a promising alternative for mitigating environmental pollution and alleviating energy crisis. The underlying relationships between engineered biochar properties and specific applications are still unclear, therefore, machine learning-aided engineered biochar design and process optimization was proposed. Moreover, before any industrial scale implementation, detailed assessments of the environmental benefits and economic feasibility must be conducted. In the context of carbon neutrality, thermochemical upcycling of food waste into engineered biochar for energy and environmental applications can significantly contribute to attaining sustainable food waste management, mitigating environmental pollution, and addressing the energy shortage crisis, and thus will eventually facilitate the fulfillment of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Furthermore, the existing challenges in the practical valorization of food waste into engineered biochar are comprehensively discussed, and outlooks are proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number143783
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Aug 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was carried out with the support of the Cooperative Research Program for Agriculture Science and Technology Development (Project No. PJ01475801) from the Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea. This work was also supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government(MSIT) (No. 2021R1A2C2011734). This research was also supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF - 2021R1A6A1A10045235). This research was supported by the OJEong Resilience Institute, Korea University, Korea and by the Start-up Research Fund of Southeast University (RF1028623274), China.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


  • Biochar catalyst
  • CO capture
  • Electrochemical applications
  • Hydrothermal carbonization
  • Pyrolysis
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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