Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 113–126 | Cite as

Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) of selected woody and herbaceous biomass feedstocks

  • S. Kent Hoekman
  • Amber Broch
  • Curtis Robbins
  • Barbara Zielinska
  • Larry Felix
Original Article

Abstract

A hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) process was applied to six biomass feedstocks—three woody and three herbaceous. Each feedstock was treated in liquid water for 30 min at temperatures ranging from 175 to 295 °C. Gaseous, aqueous, and solid hydrochar products were characterized to examine the effects of process temperature upon product yields, compositions, and energy densification. Thorough mass balance determinations were made for all HTC experiments. With increasing temperature, the mass of solid hydrochar products was reduced, but energy density increased. At temperatures ≥255 °C, hydrochars produced from woody feedstocks had energy contents of 28–30 MJ/kg, comparable to subbituminous coal. Hydrochars produced from herbaceous feedstocks had somewhat lower energy contents. With increasing temperature, the atomic O/C ratio of all samples was reduced from 0.6 to 0.7 in the raw feedstocks to approximately 0.2 in the hydrochars. Gaseous products increased with increasing HTC temperature, reaching 10–12 % at ≥275 °C. The sum of sugar and organic acid yields was typically 8–12 %, although the composition of these aqueous products varied with temperature. Water was produced in yields of 10–20 % at process temperatures of ≥255 °C.

Keywords

Hydrothermal carbonization HTC Hydrochar Torrefaction Biomass pretreatment Solid biofuel 

Supplementary material

13399_2012_66_MOESM1_ESM.docx (729 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 728 kb)

References

  1. 1.
    Bobleter O (1994) Hydrothermal degradation of polymers derived from plants. Prog Polym Sci 19(5):797–841CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Funke A, Ziegler F (2009) Hydrothermal carbonization of biomass: a literature survey focussing on its technical application and prospects. Proceedings of the 17th European Biomass Conference, Technische Universitat Berlin, Institute of Energy Engineering, Hamburg, Germany, 29 June–3 JulyGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Funke A, Ziegler F (2010) Hydrothermal carbonization of biomass: a summary and discussion of chemical mechanisms for process engineering. Biofuels, Bioprod Biorefin 4:160–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Peterson AA, Vogel F, Lachance RP, Froling M, Antal MJ, Tester JW (2008) Thermochemical biofuel production in hydrothermal media: a review of sub- and supercritical water technologies. Energy Environ Sci 1:32–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Yu Y, Lou X, Wu H (2008) Some recent advances in hydrolysis of biomass in hot-compressed water and its comparisons with other hydrolysis methods. Energy Fuel 22:46–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Yan W, Acharjee TC, Coronella CJ, Vasquez VR (2009) Thermal pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass. Environ Prog Sustain Energy 28(3):435–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Yan W, Hastings JT, Acharjee TC, Coronella CJ, Vasquez VR (2010) Mass and energy balances of wet torrefaction of lignocellulosic biomass. Energy Fuel 24(9):4738–4742CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Libra JA, Ro KS, Kammann C, Funke A, Berge ND, Neubauer Y (2011) Hydrothermal carbonization of biomass residuals: a comparative review of the chemistry, processes and applications of wet and dry pyrolysis. Biofuels 2(1):89–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Titirici MM, Antonietti M (2010) Chemistry and materials options of sustainable carbon materials made by hydrothermal carbonization. Chem Soc Rev 39:103–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hu B, Wang K, Wu L, Yu S-H, Antonietti M, Titirici M-M (2010) Engineering carbon materials from the hydrothermal carbonization process of biomass. Adv Mater 22:813–828CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Liu Z, Zhang F-S (2009) Removal of lead from water using biochars prepared from hydrothermal liquefaction of biomass. J Hazard Mater 167:933–939CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mochidzuki K, Sato N, Sakoda A (2005) Production and characterization of carbonaceous adsorbents from biomass wastes by aqueous phase carbonization. Adsorption 11:669–673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Titirici M-M, Thomas A, Antonietti M (2007) Back in the black: hydrothermal carbonization of plant material as an efficient chemical process to treat the CO2 problem? New J Chem 31:787–789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Lehmann J, Gaunt J, Rondon M (2006) Bio-char sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems—a review. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Chang 11:403–427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Fowles M (2007) Black carbon sequestration as an alternative to bioenergy. Biomass Bioenergy 31:426–432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Glaser B, Lehmann J, Zech W (2002) Ameliorating physical and chemical properties of highly weathered soils in the tropics with charcoal—a review. Biol Fertil Soils 35:219–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kleinert M, Wittman T (2009) Carbonisation of biomass using a hydrothermal approach: state-of-the-art and recent developments. Proceedings of the 17th European Biomass Conference, pp 1683–1687Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Uslu A, Faaij APC, Bergman PCA (2008) Pre-treatment technologies, and their effect on international bioenergy supply chain logistics. techno-economic evaluation of torrefaction, fast pyrolysis and pelletisation. Energy 33:1206–1223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Erlach B, Wirth B, Tsatsaronis G (2011) Co-production of electricity, heat, and biocoal pellets from biomass: a techno-economic comparison with wood pelletizing. Presented at World Renewable Energy Conference, Linkoping, Sweden, May 2011Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Dong R, Zhang Y, Christianson LL, Funk TL, Wang X, Wang Z (2009) Product distribution and implication of hydrothermal comversion of swine manure at low temperatures. Trans ASABE 52(4):1239–1248Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Heilmann SM, Jader LR, Sadowsky MJ, Schendel FJ, von Keitz MG, Valentas KJ (2011) Hydrothermal carbonization of distiller’s grains. Biomass Bioenergy 35:2526–2533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Berge ND, Ro KS, Mao J, Flora JRV, Chappell MA, Bae S (2011) Hydrothermal carbonization of municipal waste streams. Environ Sci Technol 45(13):5696–5703CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mursito AT, Hirajima T, Sasaki K (2010) Upgrading and dewatering of raw tropical peat by hydrothermal treatment. Fuel 89:635–641CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Heilmann SM, Davis HT, Jader LR, Lefebvre PA, Sadowsky MJ, Schendel FJ (2010) Hydrothermal carbonization of microalgae. Biomass Bioenergy 34(6):875–882CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Garcia-Alba L, Torri C, Samori C, van der Spek J, Fabbri D, Kersten SRA (2012) Hydrothermal treatment (HTT) of microalgae: evaluation of the process as conversion method in an algae biorefinery concept. Energy Fuel 26(1):642–657CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Jena U, Vaidyanathan N, Chinnasamy S, Das KC (2011) Evaluation of microalgae cultivation using recovered aqueous co-product from thermochemical liquefaction of algal biomass. Bioresour Technol 102(3):3380–3387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Reza MT, Lynam JG, Vasquez VR, Coronella CJ (2012) Pelletization of biochar from hydrothermally carbonized wood. Environ Prog Sustain Energy 31:225–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Stelte W, Clemons C, Holm JK, Sanadi AR, Ahrenfeldt J, Shang L (2011) Pelletizing properties of torrefied spruce. Biomass Bioenergy 35:4690–4698CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Verhoeff F, Pels JR, Boersma AR, Zwart RWR, Kiel JHA (2011) ECN torrefaction technology heading for demonstration. Presented at 19th European Biomass Conference, Berlin, June 2011Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Hoekman SK, Broch A, Robbins C (2011) Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) of lignocellulosic biomass. Energy Fuel 25:1802–1810CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Jaffrezo JL, Calas T, Bouchet M (1998) Carboxylic acids measurements with ionic chromatography. Atmos Environ 32(14–15):2705–2708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Felix LG, Bush PV, Niksa S (2003) Development of a validated model for use in minimizing NOx emissions and maximizing carbon utilization when co-firing biomass with coal. DO-FC26-00NT40895Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Fisher J (2012) Energy density of coal. In: The physics factbook. Available at http://HypertextbookCom/Facts/2003/JuliyaFisher.shtml
  34. 34.
    Inoue S, Hanaoka T, Minowa T (2002) Hot compressed water treatment for production of charcoal from wood. J Chem Eng Jpn 35(10):1020–1023CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Thomsen MH, Thygesen A, Thomsen AB (2008) Hydrothermal treatment of wheat straw at pilot plant scale using a three-step reactor system aiming at high hemicellulose recovery, high cellulose digestibility and low lignin hydrolysis. Bioresour Technol 99:4221–4228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Schuhmacher JP, Huntjens FJ, van Krevelen DW (1960) Chemical structure and properties of coal XXVI—studies on artificial coalification. Fuel 39(3):223–234Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Ruyter HP (1982) Coalification model. Fuel 61:1182–1187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Kruse A, Gawlik A (2003) Biomass conversion in water at 330–410 °C and 30–50 MPa. Identification of key compounds for indicating different chemical reaction pathways. Ind Eng Chem Res 42:267–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Knezevic D, van Swaaij WPM, Kersten SRA (2009) Hydrothermal conversion of biomass: I. Glucose conversion in hot compressed water. Ind Eng Chem Res 48:4731–4743CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Kabyemela BM, Adschiri T, Malaluan RM, Arai K (1999) Glucose and fructose decomposition in subcritical and supercritical water: detailed reaction pathway, mechanisms, and kinetics. Ind Eng Chem Res 38(8):2888–2895CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Bjerre AB, Soerensen E (1992) Thermal decomposition of dilute aqueous formic acid solutions. Ind Eng Chem Res 31(6):1574–1577CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Kent Hoekman
    • 1
  • Amber Broch
    • 1
  • Curtis Robbins
    • 1
  • Barbara Zielinska
    • 1
  • Larry Felix
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Atmospheric SciencesDesert Research InstituteRenoUSA
  2. 2.Gas Technology InstituteBirminghamUSA

Personalised recommendations