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[en] Highlights: • Utilizing CO_2 as a reaction medium in thermo-chemical conversion of aquatic biomass. • Enhanced generation of syngas in the presence of CO_2. • Considerable reduction of pyrolytic oil in CO_2-assisted pyrolysis. • Generation of biochar with high surface area and more porous structure by CO_2. - Abstract: This study mechanistically investigated the influences of CO_2 on syngas (H_2 and CO) production during thermo-chemical conversion of red seaweed, and further explored the possible utility of the produced biochar as a medium for adsorption of inorganic/organic contaminants in aqueous phase. In order to elucidate the key roles of CO_2 in the thermo-chemical process, the composition analysis of syngas and the qualitative analysis of pyrolytic oil were conducted and compared with those in pyrolysis in N_2 condition. Pyrolysis of red seaweed in the presence of CO_2 led to the enhanced generation of syngas at the entire experimental temperatures. For example, the ratio of CO to H_2 in the presence of CO_2 at 620 °C was enhanced by ∼400%, as compared to the case in N_2. This enhanced generation of syngas resulted in significant pyrolytic oil reduction by ∼70% at 620 °C via the unknown reactions between VOCs and CO_2. In addition, biochar generated in the CO_2 environment exhibited comparatively higher surface area (61 m"2 g"−"1) and more porous structure. The morphological modification induced by CO_2 provided the favorable condition for removal of methylene blue from the aqueous phase. Thus, this study experimentally demonstrated that exploiting CO_2 as a reaction medium would provide an attractive option for the enhanced generation of syngas and the tuned adsorption capability of biochar.