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Bench-Scale Evaluation of Hydrothermal Processing Technology for Conversion of Wastewater Solids to Fuels

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Hydrothermal Liquefaction (HTL) and Catalytic Hydrothermal Gasification (CHG) proof-of-concept bench-scale tests were performed to assess the potential of hydrothermal treatment for handling municipal wastewater sludge. HTL tests were conducted at 300 to 350 °C and 20 MPa on three different feeds: primary sludge, secondary sludge, and digested solids. Corresponding CHG tests were conducted at 350 °C and 20 MPa on the HTL aqueous phase output using a ruthenium-based catalyst. Biocrude yields ranged from 25 to 37%. Biocrude composition and quality were comparable to biocrudes generated from algae feeds. Subsequent hydrotreating of biocrude resulted in a product with comparable physical and chemical properties to crude oil. CHG product gas methane yields on a carbon basis ranged from 47 to 64%. Siloxane concentrations in the CHG product gas were below engine limits. The HTL-CHG process resulted in a chemical oxygen demand (COD) reduction of > 99.9% and a reduction in residual solids for disposal of 94 to 99%.
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Keywords: biocrude; catalyst; gasification; hydrothermal; hydrotreating; liquefaction; sludge; upgrading; wastewater solids

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 April 2018

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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