Visible Light-Driven Organic Pollutant Removal Using Fe-Based Photocatalysts Supported by Wheat Straw Biochar

Mahesan Naidu Subramaniam, Jiaojiao Zheng, Zhentao Wu, Pei Sean Goh, Guangru Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Researchers are actively pursuing the development of highly functional photocatalyst materials using environmentally friendly and sustainable resources. In this study, wheat straw biochar (BC), a by-product of biomass pyrolysis, was explored as a green, porous substrate and a carbon-based sensitizer to activate Fe-based photocatalysts under visible light. The research also delved into the impact of doping copper (Cu), chromium (Cr), and zinc (Zn) to enhance the photocatalytic activity of BC-Fe-based catalysts for the removal of methylene orange (MO) from water. Characterization results revealed a more than twofold increase in surface area and greater porosity, contributing to improved radical generation. BC demonstrated its dual functionality as a high surface area substrate and an electron sink, facilitating multistep electron movement and enhancing the photoactivity of the composite catalyst. Photodegradation experiments indicated that the combination of BC with Fe and Zn exhibited the highest performance, removing over 80% of MO within 120 min. Parametric studies highlighted the preference for an alkali pH, and the photocatalyst demonstrated efficient performance up to 30 ppm of dye. Radical scavenging experiments identified •OH and h+ as the most generated radicals. This study establishes that the green and sustainable BC holds promise as a material in the quest for more sustainable photocatalysts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number43
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2024

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Copyright: © 2024 by the authors.
Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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  • Fe-based photocatalyst
  • biochar
  • metal doping
  • methylene orange
  • visible light photocatalysis


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