Skip to main content

Hydrothermal carbonization of biogenic municipal waste for biofuel production


Biogenic municipal waste (BMW) constitutes a major fraction of municipal solid waste in Bangladesh. Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) can provide a sustainable solution to the increasing generation of BMW by converting it to biofuel feedstock. This study evaluates the fuel properties, reaction yields, and morphology of solid product (i.e., hydrochar) derived via HTC of BMW obtained directly from a landfill in Bangladesh. A partial factorial design was employed over two independent levels of variation for reaction temperature (190 and 220oC), three independent levels of variation for residence time (20, 30, and 40 min), and water loading (70, 80, and 90%). Multivariate analysis was performed to understand the correlation among the dependent and independent variables of HTC experiments. Higher heating value (HHV) of the produced hydrochars showed that high-quality solid biofuel (with up to 15.6 MJ/kg) could be produced from BMW. Empirical models have been developed based on the experimental data to predict product yield and HHV of hydrochars; the models were of acceptable accuracy considering the inhomogeneity of the waste feedstock.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9


  1. Schüch A, Morscheck G, Nelles M (2019) Technological options for biogenic waste and residues—overview of current solutions and developments. In: Waste Valorisation and Recycling. Springer Singapore, Singapore, pp 307–322

  2. Monfet E, Aubry G, Ramirez AA (2018) Nutrient removal and recovery from digestate: a review of the technology. Biofuels 9(2):247–262

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Indrawan N, Simkins B, Kumar A, Huhnke RL (2020) Economics of distributed power generation via gasification of biomass and municipal solid waste. Energies 13(14):1–18

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Kaza S, Yao LC, Bhada-Tata P, Van Woerden F (2018) What a waste 2.0 : a global snapshot of solid waste management to 2050. World Bank

  5. Sharma KD, Jain S (2020) Municipal solid waste generation, composition, and management: the global scenario. Soc Responsib J 16(6):917–948

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Ghazi Alajmi R (2016) The relationship between economic growth and municipal solid waste & testing the ekc hypothesis: analysis for Saudi Arabia. J Int Bus Res Mark 1(5):20–25

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Al-Momani AH (1994) Solid-waste management: sampling, analysis and assessment of household waste in the city of Amman. Int J Environ Health Res 4(4):208–222

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Khan D, Kumar A, Samadder SR (2016) Impact of socioeconomic status on municipal solid waste generation rate. Waste Manag 49:15–25

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Wertz KL (1976) Economic factors influencing households’ production of refuse. J Environ Econ Manag 2(4):263–272

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Kokalj F, Samec N (2013) Combustion of municipal solid waste for power production. In: Advances in internal combustion engines and fuel technologies. IntechOpen, pp 277–309.

  11. Bandara NJGJ, Hettiaratchi JPA, Wirasinghe SC, Pilapiiya S (2007) Relation of waste generation and composition to socio-economic factors: a case study. Environ Monit Assess 135:31–39

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Dima SS, Arnob A, Salma U, Kabir KB, Kirtania K (2020) Fate of nutrients during hydrothermal carbonization of biogenic municipal waste. Biomass Conv Bioref.

  13. Alam O, Qiao X (2020) An in-depth review on municipal solid waste management, treatment and disposal in Bangladesh. Sustain Cities Soc 52(August 2019):101775

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Jothi V, Ravikumar K, Das A, Goel M (2015) Monsoon effects on abandoned and active dumping sites at Pondicherry. Int Res J Eng Technol 2(6):200–213

    Google Scholar 

  15. Funke A, Ziegler F (2010) Hydrothermal carbonization of biomass: a summary and discussion of chemical mecha- nisms for process engineering. Biofuels Bioprod Biorefin 4:160–177

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Lu X, Jordan B, Berge ND (2012) Thermal conversion of municipal solid waste via hydrothermal carbonization: comparison of carbonization products to products from current waste management techniques. Waste Manag 32(7):1353–1365

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Reza MT et al (2014) Hydrothermal carbonization of biomass for energy and crop production. Appl Bioenergy 1(1):11–29

  18. Román S et al (2018) Hydrothermal carbonization: modeling, final properties design and applications: a review. Energies 11(1):216

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. DOE, W. Concern, and I.-BUET (2004) SAARC workshop on solid waste management. Dhaka

  20. Channiwala SA, Parikh PP (2002) A unified correlation for estimating HHV of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels. Fuel 81(8):1051–1063

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Elaigwu SE, Greenway GM (2016) Microwave-assisted and conventional hydrothermal carbonization of lignocellulosic waste material: comparison of the chemical and structural properties of the hydrochars. J Anal Appl Pyrolysis 118:1–8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Hardi F, Furusjö E, Kirtania K, Imai A, Umeki K, Yoshikawa K (2018) Catalytic hydrothermal liquefaction of biomass with K2 CO3 for production of gasification feedstock. Biofuels 12(2):149–160.

  23. Virtanen P et al (2020) SciPy 1.0: fundamental algorithms for scientific computing in Python. Nat Methods 17:261–272

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Eaton JW (2012) GNU Octave and reproducible research. J Process Control 22:1433–1438

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Knežević D, Van Swaaij W, Kersten S (2010) Hydrothermal conversion of biomass. II. conversion of wood, pyrolysis oil, and glucose in hot compressed water. Ind Eng Chem Res 49(1):104–112

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. He C, Giannis A, Wang JY (2013) Conversion of sewage sludge to clean solid fuel using hydrothermal carbonization: hydrochar fuel characteristics and combustion behavior. Appl Energy 111:257–266

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Wang T, Zhai Y, Zhu Y, Li C, Zeng G (2018) A review of the hydrothermal carbonization of biomass waste for hydrochar formation: process conditions, fundamentals, and physicochemical properties. Renew Sust Energ Rev 90:223–247

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Lewan MD (1993) Laboratory simulation of petroleum formation. In: Engel MH, Macko SA (eds) Organic geochemistry. Topics in geobiology, vol 11. Springer, Boston, p 419–442

  29. Berge ND, Ro KS, Mao J, Flora JRV, Chappell MA, Bae S (2011) Hydrothermal carbonization of municipal waste streams. Environ Sci Technol 45:5696–5703

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Lin Y, Ma X, Peng X, Yu Z (2017) Hydrothermal carbonization of typical components of municipal solid waste for deriving hydrochars and their combustion behavior. Bioresour Technol 243:539–547

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Kirtania K, Joshua J, Kassim MA, Bhattacharya S (2014) Comparison of CO2 and steam gasification reactivity of algal and woody biomass chars. Fuel Process Technol 117:44–52

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Parshetti GK, Liu Z, Jain A, Srinivasan MP, Balasubramanian R (2013) Hydrothermal carbonization of sewage sludge for energy production with coal. Fuel 111:201–210

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Kirtania K, Bhattacharya S (2015) CO2 gasification kinetics of algal and woody char procured under different pyrolysis conditions and heating rates. ACS Sustain Chem Eng 3(2):365–373

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the Energy and Power Research Council (EPRC) of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh for funding this work under contract number EPRC/58-2018-001-01.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kawnish Kirtania.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


• Evaluation of fuel properties of HTC hydrochar from biogenic municipal waste at varying conditions

• Empirical model for predicting product yield and energy content of hydrochar

• Correlation among the variables using multivariate analysis

• Morphological characteristics of HTC hydrochar at different reaction conditions

Supplementary Information


(PDF 809 kb).

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Aurnob, A.K.M.K., Arnob, A., Kabir, K.B. et al. Hydrothermal carbonization of biogenic municipal waste for biofuel production. Biomass Conv. Bioref. 12, 163–171 (2022).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Hydrothermal carbonization
  • MSW
  • Waste to energy
  • Biogenic municipal waste
  • BMW
  • Biofuel
  • Hydrochar