Journal article Open Access

Do you BET on routine? The reliability of N2 physisorption for the quantitative assessment of biochar's surface area

Przemyslaw Maziarka; Christian Wurzer; Pablo J.Arauzo; Alba Dieguez-Alonso; Ondřej Mašek; Frederik Ronsse


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    <subfield code="c">2021-08-15</subfield>
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    <subfield code="a">&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Abstract&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;br&gt;
A large specific surface area is one of the structural characteristics which makes biochar a promising material for novel applications in agriculture and environmental management. However, the high complexity and heterogeneity of biochar&amp;rsquo;s physical and chemical structure can render routine surface area measurements unreliable. In this study, N&lt;sub&gt;2&lt;/sub&gt;&amp;nbsp;and CO&lt;sub&gt;2&lt;/sub&gt;&amp;nbsp;characterization of twelve biochars from three feedstocks with production temperatures ranging from 400&amp;nbsp;&amp;deg;C to 900&amp;nbsp;&amp;deg;C were used to evaluate materials with varying structural properties. The results indicate that the frequently reported peak in the surface area of biochars around 650&amp;nbsp;&amp;deg;C is an artefact of N&lt;sub&gt;2&lt;/sub&gt;&amp;nbsp;measurements and not confirmed by CO&lt;sub&gt;2&lt;/sub&gt;&amp;nbsp;analysis. Contradicting results indicate an influence of the structural rigidity of biochar on N&lt;sub&gt;2&lt;/sub&gt;&amp;nbsp;measurements due to pore deformation in certain biochars. Pore non-specific calculation models like the Brunauer-Emmett-Teller method do not allow for adjustments to these changes. Instead, the use of a pore specific model and the exclusion of pores smaller than 1.47&amp;nbsp;nm was found to achieve more representative results. The proposed calculation was validated on an external dataset to highlight the applicability of the method. Our results provide novel insights for understanding the structural evolution of biochar related to production temperature.&lt;/p&gt;</subfield>
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    <subfield code="u">UK Biochar Research Centre, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Alexander Crum Brown Road, Edinburgh, EH7 3FF, United Kingdom</subfield>
    <subfield code="a">Christian Wurzer</subfield>
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    <subfield code="u">Department of Conversion Technologies of Biobased Resources, Institute of Agricultural Engineering, University of Hohenheim, Garbenstrasse 9, DE-70599 Stuttgart, Germany</subfield>
    <subfield code="a">Pablo J.Arauzo</subfield>
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    <subfield code="u">Institute of Fluid Dynamics and Thermodynamics, Faculty of Process and Systems Engineering, Otto-von-Guericke Universität Magdeburg, Universitätsplatz 2, DE-39106 Magdeburg, Germany</subfield>
    <subfield code="a">Alba Dieguez-Alonso</subfield>
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    <subfield code="u">UK Biochar Research Centre, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Alexander Crum Brown Road, Edinburgh, EH7 3FF, United Kingdom</subfield>
    <subfield code="a">Ondřej Mašek</subfield>
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    <subfield code="u">Department of Green Chemistry and Technology, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Gent, Belgium</subfield>
    <subfield code="a">Frederik Ronsse</subfield>
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    <subfield code="u">Department of Green Chemistry and Technology, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Gent, Belgium</subfield>
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    <subfield code="a">Przemyslaw Maziarka</subfield>
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    <subfield code="a">eng</subfield>
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    <subfield code="a">10.1016/j.cej.2021.129234</subfield>
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    <subfield code="a">Do you BET on routine? The reliability of N2 physisorption for the quantitative assessment of biochar's surface area</subfield>
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