Presenting Sustainable Applications of Biochar-Based Catalysts from Natural Soil Organic Matter
Professor Ok Yong Sik’s group presented an effective strategy allowing enterprises to implement a circular economy and attain ESG goals.
The research results were published in Biotechnology Advances, a globally renowned journal in biotechnology and applied microbiology.
▲ (From left) Professor Ok Yong Sik (corresponding author), Professor Daniel C.W. Tsang (co-corresponding author), and Xiangzhou Yuan (first author).
Professor Ok Yong Sik’s group of the Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering in the College of Life Sciences and Biotechnology conducted a joint study with Professor Daniel C.W. Tsang at The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology and experts from other countries to evaluate the emerging applications of catalysts based on biochar derived from nature (soil organic matter), providing an in-depth analysis of the recent advancements and the future directions of the field.
The research results were published in Biotechnology Advances, one of the top international journals in biotechnology and applied microbiology. Biotechnology Advances is a journal which publishes articles about the latest advancements and innovations in biotechnology and applied microbiology. It is a globally renowned journal of CiteScore 27.1 (top 1.6%) and Impact Factor 16 (top 2.5%).
* Title of Article : Recent advancements and challenges in emerging applications of biochar-based catalysts
The sustainable utilization of biochar produced from various types of waste, including biomass, could substantially advance the efforts of enterprises to achieve carbon neutrality and a circular economy. Biochar-based catalysts, nature-based solutions using soil from the natural environment, contribute to sustainable biorefineries and play a significant role in the protection of the earth’s environment, positively effecting the ecosystem through their carbon storage capability. The range of treatment available for biochar-based catalysts allows the improvement of their catalytic activity and thermal stability. They are easily processed to adjust their pore properties, which are important for catalysis, or to acquire functional catalysts abundant in specific functional groups. The paper showed that machine-learning-based prediction models have accelerated recent innovations in biochar-based catalysts.
▲ Figure 1. Life cycle assessment of the production of biochar-based catalysts using machine learning.
▲ Figure 2. Production of biochar-based catalysts through advanced oxidation processes (AOPs).
The paper mentions a novel synthetic pathway to create multifunctional biochar-based catalysts, such that there are different ways producing biochar-based catalysts of differing function. In addition, the paper describes the recent advancements in biorefineries and the decomposition of air, soil, and water pollutants. The paper also discusses the catalytic performance and inactivation mechanisms of various catalytic systems, explaining how well biochar-based catalysts operate in different applications and how their effectiveness may decrease over time.
Finally, for industry and policymakers, the paper puts forward an assessment of the environmental benefits and economic feasibility of biochar catalysts in the form of science-based guidelines. The guidelines allow an assessment of the environmental and economic impacts of using biochar-based catalysts in various applications. The recent introduction of biochar as a way to achieve carbon neutrality by global enterprises such as Microsoft can be seen in this context. The research group explained that the ultimate goal of biochar is to achieve several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).