Valorization of underutilized waste biomass from invasive species to produce biochar for energy and other value-added applications

Ashfaq Ahmed, Muhammad S. Abu Bakar, Rasyidah Hamdani, Young Kwon Park, Su Shiung Lam, Rahayu S. Sukri, Murid Hussain, Khaliq Majeed, Neeranuch Phusunti, Farrukh Jamil, Muhammad Aslam

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65 Scopus citations


Biochar production from invasive species biomass discarded as waste was studied in a fixed bed reactor pyrolysis system under different temperature conditions for value-added applications. Prior to pyrolysis, the biomass feedstock was characterized by proximate, ultimate, and heating value analyses, while the biomass decomposition behavior was examined by thermogravimetric analysis. The heating values of the feedstock biomass ranged from 18.65 to 20.65 MJ/kg, whereas the volatile matter, fixed carbon, and ash content were 61.54–72.04 wt %, 19.27–26.61 wt % and 1.51–1.86 wt %, respectively. The elemental composition of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in the samples was reported to be in the range of 47.41–48.47 wt %, 5.50–5.88 wt % and 46.10–45.18 wt %, respectively, while the nitrogen and sulphur content in the biomass samples were at very low concentrations, making it more useful for valorization from environmental aspects. The biochar yields were reported in the range of 45.36–58.35 wt %, 28.63–44.38 wt % and 22.68–29.42 wt % at a pyrolysis temperature of 400 °C, 500 °C, and 600 °C, respectively. The biochars were characterized from ultimate analysis, heating value, energy densification ratio, energy yield, pH, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM and EDX), to evaluate their potential for value-added applications. The carbon content, heating value, energy densification ratio, and the porosity of the biochars improved with the increase in pyrolysis temperature, while the energy yield, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen content of the biochars decreased. This study revealed the potential of the valorization of underutilized discarded biomass of invasive species via a pyrolysis process to produce biochar for value-added applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109596
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Biochar
  • Biofuels
  • Invasive species
  • Pyrolysis
  • Underutilized biomass
  • Value-added products


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