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Pyrogenic Carbonaceous Matter (PCM; e.g., black carbon, biochar, and activated carbon) are solid residues from incomplete combustion of fossil fuel or biomass. They are traditionally viewed as inert adsorbents for sequestering contaminants from the aqueous phase or providing surfaces for microbes to grow. In this account, we reviewed the recently discovered reactivity of PCM in promoting both chemical and microbial synergies that are important in pollutant transformation, biogeochemical processes of redox-active elements, and climate change mitigation with respect to the interaction between biochar and nitrous oxide (N2O). Moreover, we focused on our group’s work in the PCM-enhanced abiotic transformation of nitrogenous and halogenated pollutants and conducted in-depth analysis of the reaction pathways. To understand what properties of PCM confer its reactivity, our group pioneered the use of PCM-like polymers, namely conjugated microporous polymers (CMPs), to mimic the performance of PCM. This approach allows for the controlled incorporation of specific surface properties (e.g., quinones) into the polymer network during the polymer synthesis. As a result, the relationship between specific characteristics of PCM and its reactivity in facilitating the decay of a model pollutant was systematically studied in our group’s work. The findings summarized in this account help us to better understand an overlooked environmental process where PCM synergistically interacts with various environmental reagents such as hydrogen sulfide and water. Moreover, the knowledge gained in these studies could inform the design of a new generation of reactive carbonaceous materials with tailored properties that are highly efficient in contaminant removal.[graphic not available: see fulltext]
Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 1, 2020
Keywords: Pyrogenic carbonaceous matter; Conjugated microporous polymer; Remediation; Biochar; Hydrolysis; Pollutant degradation
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