Removal of pharmaceuticals from water using sewage sludge-derived biochar: A review

I. IHSANULLAH, Muhammad Tariq KHAN, Mukarram ZUBAIR, Muhammad BILAL, Muhammad SAJID

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, considerable attention has been paid to the beneficial utilization of sewage sludge to reduce the risks associated with sludge disposal. Besides other applications of sludge, biochar produced from sludge has also been employed for the elimination of various pollutants from water. This review critically evaluates the recent progress in applications of sludge-based biochar for the adsorption of pharmaceuticals from water. The synthesis techniques of biochar production from sludge and their effects on physicochemical characteristics of produced biochar are discussed. The removal of various pharmaceuticals by sludge-based biochar are described in detail, with the emphasis on the adsorption mechanism and their reusability potential. It is evident from the literature that sludge-based biochar has demonstrated excellent potential for the adsorption of numerous pharmaceuticals from the aqueous phase. The major hurdles and issues related to the synthesis of sludge-based biochar and applications are highlighted, with reference to the adsorption of pharmaceuticals. Finally, a roadmap is suggested along with future research directions to ensure the sustainable production of biochar from sludge and its applications in water treatment. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number133196
Early online date07 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


Ihsanullah, I., Khan, M. T., Zubair, M., Bilal, M., & Sajid, M. (2022). Removal of pharmaceuticals from water using sewage sludge-derived biochar: A review. Chemosphere, 289. Retrieved from


  • Sludge treatment
  • Biochar
  • Water treatment
  • Adsorption
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Sewage sludge biochar
  • PG student publication


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