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Hydrochar derived from municipal sludge through hydrothermal processing: A critical review on its formation, characterization, and valorization

Abstract : Additional options for the sustainable treatment of municipal sludge are required due to the significant amounts of sludge, high levels of nutrients (e.g., C, N, and P), and trace constituents it contains. Hydrothermal processing of municipal sludge has recently been recognized as a promising technology to efficiently reduce waste volume, recover bioenergy, destroy organic contaminants, and eliminate pathogens. However, a considerable amount of solid residue, called hydrochar, could remain after hydrothermal treatment. This hydrochar can contain abundant amounts of energy (with a higher heating value up to 24 MJ/kg, dry basis), nutrients, and trace elements, as well as surface functional groups. The valorization of sludge-derived hydrochar can facilitate the development and application of hydrothermal technologies. This review summarizes the formation pathways from municipal sludge to hydrochar, specifically, the impact of hydrothermal conditions on reaction mechanisms and product distribution. Moreover, this study comprehensively encapsulates the described characteristics of hydrochar produced under a wide range of conditions: Yield, energy density, physicochemical properties, elemental distribution, contaminants of concern, surface functionality, and morphology. More importantly, this review compares and evaluates the current state of applications of hydrochar: Energy production, agricultural application, adsorption, heterogeneous catalysis, and nutrient recovery. Ultimately, along with the identified challenges and prospects of valorization approaches for sludge-derived hydrochar, conceptual designs of sustainable municipal sludge management are proposed.
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https://hal-mines-albi.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03211746
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 1:57:09 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, July 13, 2021 - 8:20:09 AM

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Huan Liu, Ibrahim Alper Basar, Ange Nzihou, Cigdem Eskicioglu. Hydrochar derived from municipal sludge through hydrothermal processing: A critical review on its formation, characterization, and valorization. Water Research, IWA Publishing, 2021, 199, pp.1-52/117186. ⟨10.1016/j.watres.2021.117186⟩. ⟨hal-03211746⟩

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