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Catalytic Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Waste Sludge: A Pre-study with Model Compounds
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The use and research of renewable fuels has become more important due to the connection between climate changes and the use of fossil fuels. With risks of decline in petroleum production derived from fossil fuels due to limitation of resources in the future, the renewable fuels are even more important in the transport sector.

Research regarding gasification of biomass to create a syngas that can be upgraded to a biodiesel for cars is one of the approaches. By gasifying black liquor, it is possible to create a 100 % green fuel diesel. However, as this black liquor might be in limited quantities the idea to create a synthetic black liquor was sparked. The pulp industry where the black liquor originated from also has quantities of wastewater, containing a biomass sludge. Otherwise containing water in so large quantities that it is not possible to combust it without ending up with a negative energy output.

One of the paths could be to recover the biomass from the sludge and convert it to a liquid similar to black liquor. Catalytic hydrothermal liquefaction has been recognized as a potential method. While biocrude is usually the target in hydrothermal liquefaction for direct upgrade to biofuel, the aqueous product could prove to be used for the gasification process. This would create a combined liquefaction-gasification process.

Using model compounds possibly existing in the waste sludge, hydrothermal liquefaction was performed at different temperatures, together with varied alkali loads (K2CO3) and water the content to see how the different compounds reacted. Model compounds included cellulose and lignin as major compounds.

Although the temperature was increased from 240 °C to 340 ° the lignin conversion was lower at 340 °C than at 240 °C. Re-polymerization took place and around 40 % of resulted in solid residue, while the remaining 60 % was partially converted to aqueous phase, oil phase or gas in the process. By not performing the hydrothermal liquefaction it is however possible to dissolve Kraft lignin directly in water and alkali.

Cellulose showed an almost full conversion at 290 °C with similar results at 340 °C, with 4 – 5 % remaining as solid. At the higher temperature more gas was produced, which is not optimal for this process where liquid product is wanted. This suggest that 290 °C is enough for cellulose conversion in this process. Using an alkali load of 0.3 times the cellulose mass in the solution the final aqueous product contained about 26 % alkali, which is similar to black liquor. Increase the alkali to 0.9 times however increased the sought aqueous product, in both terms of energy and carbon content.

Fiber sludge from a pulp mill, containing mainly cellulose, could therefore most likely be converted to a liquid product that is similar to black liquor for further upgrade

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , p. 49
Keywords [en]
Hydrothermal, liquefaction, waste sludge, black liquor
National Category
Bioenergy Energy Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-60870OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-60870DiVA, id: diva2:1051480
External cooperation
Tokyo Institute of Technology
Educational program
Sustainable Energy Engineering, master's level
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2016-12-08 Created: 2016-12-02 Last updated: 2016-12-08Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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