Application of Biochar derived from different types of biomass and treatment methods as a fuel source for direct carbon fuel cells

Lithnes Kalaivani Palniandy, Li Wan Yoon, Wai Yin Wong, Siek Ting Yong, Ming Meng Pang

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33 Citations (Scopus)


The direct carbon fuel cell (DCFC) is an emerging technology for energy production. The application of biomass in DCFCs will be a major transition from the use of coal to generate energy. However, the relationship between biomass or biochar composition and the electrochemical performance of a DCFC is yet to be studied. The performance of a DCFC using fuel sources derived from woody and non-woody biomass were compared in this study. The effect of pyrolysis temperature ranges from 550 °C to 850 °C on the preparation of biochar from rubber wood (RW) and rice husk (RH) were evaluated for power generation from DCFCs. In addition, the effect of applying chemical pre-treatment and post-treatment on biochar were further investigated for DCFC performance. In general, the power density derived from rubber wood biochar is significantly higher (2.21 mW cm-2) compared to rice husk biochar (0.07 mW cm-2). This might be due to the presence of an oxygen functional group, higher fixed carbon content, and lower ash content in rubber wood biochar. The acid and alkaline pre-treatment and post-treatment have altered the composition with a lower ash content in rubber wood biochar. The structural and compositional alterations in alkaline pre-treatment bring a positive effect in enhancing the power density from DCFCs. This study concludes that woody biochar is more suitable for DCFC application, and alkaline pre-treatment in the preparation of biochar enhances the electrochemical activity of DCFC. Further investigation on the optimization of DCFC operating conditions could be performed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2477
Number of pages15
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Biochar
  • Direct carbon fuel cell
  • Post-treatment
  • Power density
  • Pre-treatment
  • Pyrolysis

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