Large-scale environmental applications of microbial electrochemical technologies (MET), such as wastewater treatment, bioremediation, or soil improvement, would be more feasible if bioelectrodes could be fabricated with simpler materials. Biochar with potentially improved electroactive properties (e-biochar) can be an ideal candidate for this scope, being at the same time widely available, biocompatible, and fully recyclable at its end-of-life as a soil amendment. Here we review the application of biochar to MET, to set benchmarks aimed at tuning the electroactive properties of such materials from the point of view of MET. The precursor biomass, thermochemical process conditions, and pre-, in situ-, and/or post-treatments should tailor optimized combinations of electrical conductivity, capacitance, superficial redox-active and electroactive functional groups, porosity distribution, and capacity to host electroactive microbial communities. We also discuss methods to rigorously characterize e-biochar properties and the most relevant multidisciplinary research challenges toward its application in large-scale MET.
- Electron transfer
- Microbial electrochemical technology
- Soil microbiology