Hydrochar mediated anaerobic digestion of bio-wastes: Advances, mechanisms and perspectives

Qiuxiang Xu, Guojing Yang, Xuran Liu, Jonathan W.C. Wong, Jun Zhao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Bio-wastes treatment and disposal has become a challenge because of their increasing output. Given the abundant organic matter in bio-wastes, its related resource treatment methods have received more and more attention. As a promising strategy, anaerobic digestion (AD) has been widely used in the treatment of bio-wastes, during which not only methane as energy can be recovered but also their reduction can be achieved. However, AD process is generally disturbed by some internal factors (e.g., low hydrolysis efficiency and accumulated ammonia) and external factors (e.g., input pollutants), resulting in unstable AD operation performance. Recently, hydrochar was wildly found to improve AD performance when added to AD systems. This review comprehensively summarizes the research progress on the performance of hydrochar-mediated AD, such as increased methane yield, improved operation efficiency and digestate dewatering, and reduced heavy metals in digestate. Subsequently, the underlying mechanisms of hydrochar promoting AD were systematically elucidated and discussed, including regulation of electron transfer (ET) mode, microbial community structure, bio-processes involved in AD, and reaction conditions. Moreover, the effects of properties of hydrochar (e.g., feedstock, hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) temperature, HTC time, modification and dosage) on the improvement of AD performance are systematically concluded. Finally, the relevant knowledge gaps and opportunities to be studied are presented to improve the progress and application of the hydrochar-mediated AD technology. This review aims to offer some references and directions for the hydrochar-mediated AD technology in improving bio-wastes resource recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number163829
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date28 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Energy recovery
  • Hydrochar
  • Regulation mechanism
  • Wastes valorization


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