Hydrothermal Liquefaction (HTL) of Municipal Sewage Sludge (MSS) with Aqueous Phase Reforming (APR) - Proof of concept project

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University of New Brunswick


Aqueous Phase Reforming (APR) tests were conducted at a temperature of 225 °C, a pressure of 450 psi, and with two catalysts: 5 wt.% platinum and 5 wt.% ruthenium supported on active carbon. Single and multiple component surrogate feedstocks were tested, indicating that the ruthenium catalyst was the superior catalyst as it consistently outperformed the platinum catalyst. The wastewater resulting from the Hydrothermal Liquefaction (HTL) of Municipal Sewage Sludge (MSS) as a feedstock was tested at 225 and 250 °C, and at 450 and 650 psi. Results demonstrated the proof of concept that hydrogen can be produced from the MSS-HTL wastewater using a carbon support ruthenium catalyst. However, challenges remain as the results indicate that sub-micron particles precipitate on the catalyst causing deactivation over time. Results from a technoeconomic assessment of MSS-HTL-APR, with a production rate of 42,000 barrels of biocrude per year, concludes the feasibility of the project.