In 2017, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that Americans generated over 268 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW). The majority (52%) of this waste ends up in landfills, which are the third largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions. Improvements in terms of waste management and energy production could be solved by integrating MSW processing with hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) and anaerobic digestion (AD) for converting organic carbon of MSW to fuels. The objectives of this study were to (a) investigate HTC experiments at varying temperatures and residence times (b) evaluate aqueous phase and solids properties, and (c) perform AD bench scale bottle test on the aqueous phase. A mixture of different feedstock representing MSW was used. HTC at 280 °C and 10 min yielded the highest total organic carbon (TOC) of 8.16 g/L with biogas yields of 222 mL biogas/g TOC. Results showed that AD of the aqueous phase from a mixed MSW feedstock is feasible. The integrated approach shows organic carbon recovery of 58% (hydrochar and biogas). This study is the first of its kind to investigate varying temperature and times for a heterogeneous feedstock (mixed MSW), and specifically evaluating HTC MSW aqueous phase anaerobic biodegradability.
Original Publication Citation
Adams, K. J., Stuart, B., & Kumar, S. (2021). Investigation of anaerobic digestion of the aqueous phase from hydrothermal carbonization of mixed municipal solid waste. Biomass, 1(1), 61-73. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomass1010005
Adams, Kameron J.; Stuart, Ben; and Kumar, Sandeep, "Investigation of Anaerobic Digestion of the Aqueous Phase from Hydrothermal Carbonization of Mixed Municipal Solid Waste" (2021). Civil & Environmental Engineering Faculty Publications. 47.