Highly porous biochar (BC) structures have been prepared from inexpensive biomasses like rice straw, bamboo, sugarcane waste, and corn cob via a slow pyrolysis technique in nitrogenous atmosphere. A surface engineering technique has been applied to enhance the surface-to-volume ratio of each biochar sample and finally compared its characteristics through standard surface and elemental characterization techniques, viz. CHN (carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen), FTIR (Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy), BET (Brunauer–Emmett–Teller), and SEM (scanning electron microscopy). All the biochar samples were observed to be highly carbonized and aromatized. Exfoliated structures were found to contain more elemental carbon (34.14–77.32%) than its native form (30.92–74.46%). Aromatic hydrocarbon, aromatic C=C, aromatics, aliphatic C–O, aliphatic hydrocarbon, and H-bonded OH groups were found to predominate in the surface of biochar structures independent of their precursor composition and extent of exfoliation. SEM micrographic images clearly ensured about the unoriented sheets like the morphology of different biochar samples. Although no significant structural difference was found to exist depending on their precursor compositions, quantitative enhancement of porosity was found to be observed after exfoliation. Both native (240.65 m2/g) and exfoliated (712.89 m2/g) biochars derived from sugarcane wastes were observed to have a maximum surface area in comparison to the biochars derived from rice straw (native, 22.08 m2/g; exfoliated, 29.92 m2/g), bamboo (native, 42.08 m2/g; exfoliated, 248.38 m2/g), and corn cob (native, 136.62 m2/g; exfoliated, 221.71 m2/g). Exfoliated biochars were found to be consistently more potent in comparison to its native form as per our comparative characterizations performed so far.
Biochar Agricultural feedstock Exfoliation Pyrolysis technique Surface area
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Shuvrodeb Roy is thankful to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India and University Grants Commission (UGC) for providing him fellowship. The authors are thankful to the Indian Statistical Institute for providing financial assistance.
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