Municipal solid waste (MSW) generation has been growing in many countries, which has led to numerous environmental problems. Converting MSW into a valuable biochar-based by-product can manage waste and, possibly, improve soil fertility, depending on the soil properties. In this study, MSW-based biochars, collected from domestic waste materials and kerbsides in two Sydney's regions, were composted and pyrolysed at 450 °C, 550 °C and 650 °C. The characteristics of the organic components and their interactions with mineral phases were investigated using a range of analytical techniques, with special attention given to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metal concentrations. The MSW biochar prepared at 450 °C contained the most complex organic compounds. The highest concentration of fixed C, indicating the stability of biochar, was detected in the high-temperature-biochar. Microscopic analysis showed development of pores and migration of mineral phases, mainly Ca/P/O-rich phases, into the micro-pores and Si/Al/O-rich phases on the surface of the biochar in the MSW biochar produced at 550 °C. Amalgamation of organic phases with mineral compounds was observed, at higher pyrolysis temperatures, indicating chemical reactions between these two phases at 650 °C. XPS analysis showed the main changes occurred in C and N bonds. During heat treatment, N-C/C=N functionalities decomposed and oxidized N configurations, mainly pyridine-N-oxide groups, were formed. The majority of the dissolved organic carbon fraction in both MSW biochar produced at 450 °C and 550 °C was in the form of building blocks, whereas LMW acids was the main fraction in high-temperature-biochar (59.9%). © 2017 Elsevier Lt
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