Review of biochar role as additive in anaerobic digestion processes

Marco Chiappero, Omid Norouzi, Mingyu Hu, Francesca Demichelis, Franco Berruti, Francesco Di Maria, Ondřej Mašek, Silvia Fiore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anaerobic digestion (AD) could be considered as a mature technology and nowadays it can still play a pivot role because of the urgent need to provide renewable energy sources and efficiently manage the continuously growing amount of organic waste. Biochar (BC) is an extremely versatile material, which could be produced by carbonization of organic materials, including biomass and wastes, consistently with Circular Economy principles, and “tailor-made” for specific applications. The potential BC role as additive in the control of the many well-known critical issues of AD processes has been increasingly explored over the past few years. However, a clear and comprehensive understanding of the connections between BC and AD is still missing. This review paper analyses and discusses significant references (review articles, research papers and international databases and reports), mostly published in the last 10 years. This review is aimed at addressing three key issues related to the better understanding of the BC role in AD processes: 1. Investigation of the influence of BC properties on AD performances and of their ability to counteract its main challenges; 2. Assessment of the optimal BC production chain (i.e. feedstock-pyrolysis-activation) to achieve the desired features; 3. Evaluation of the economic and environmental advantages connected to BC use in AD processes, compared to conventional solutions applied to address AD challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110037
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Early online date14 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

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