A process is created for the utilization of biomass by producing carbon adsorbents and gas. Carbon adsorbents with alkaline character of the surface, tar and gas products are obtained by steam pyrolysis of biomass (almond shells, nut shells, apricot stones, cherry stones, grape seeds). Mixtures of tar obtained during this process and furfural are used for obtaining carbon adsorbents with low ash and sulphur contents and different chemical character of the surface. The chemical character of oxygen functional groups on their surface reveals that they are polyfunctional cationites. Carbon adsorbents obtained have a hydrophilic surface and are suitable for removing metal ions and other pollutants from water. The gas products can be used as energy source. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.