Sustainable phosphate removal using Mg/Ca-modified biochar hybrids: Current trends and future outlooks

Hasara Samaraweera, Kumuduni Niroshika Palansooriya, Pavani Dulanjala Dissanayaka, Afzal Husain Khan, Mika Sillanpää, Todd Mlsna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Eutrophication, a major environmental and economic issue, stems from the increased nutrient levels in water bodies, notably phosphorus, and demands focused attention. On the other hand, investigating phosphate recovery options receive immediate attention, as phosphate sources are limited. Many studies have been dedicated to the development of tailored biochars as effective agents for phosphate adsorption and recovery from aqueous environments. This review explores the multifaceted advantages of Ca/Mg-rich biochars, with a primary focus on their exceptional phosphate uptake capabilities. Beyond their remarkable phosphate sequestration potential, these biochars offer diverse benefits, including non-renewable phosphate recovery, soil enhancement, resource utilization, waste management, and conversion. Nevertheless, the complex preparation methods, reliance on expensive metallic reagents, and energy-intensive equipment pose significant limitations to the mass production of these composites. In response to these challenges, this review critically evaluates the latest Mg/Ca-biochar synthesis strategies, highlighting the need for sustainable materials and fabrication methods to enhance economic and environmental viability. Furthermore, the potential of spent Ca/Mg-biochar hybrids, enriched with substantial phosphate loadings, is examined, offering insights into their utilization as safe slow-release phosphate fertilizers or their recycling through practical methods. The review also delves into the development of easy, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly regeneration and reuse strategies, which can be implemented for Ca/Mg biochars. Finally, the article summarizes the real-time applications, and limitations, identifies crucial knowledge gaps, and outlines future directions, to advance the use of Ca/Mg-modified biochars in various sustainable environmental applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100528
JournalCase Studies in Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Green synthesis
  • Mg/Ca-biochar
  • Phosphate recovery
  • Phosphate removal
  • Precipitation
  • Reusability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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