Project title: Energy-efficient microwave-assisted sludge carbonisation (WP1)
Host Institution: KU Leuven
Supervisor: Lise Appels (PhD promoter); Co-supervisors: Maria Westerholm (SLU)
Objectives: to develop a microwave-based hydrothermal carbonisation (HTC) system for the production of hydrochar while investigating the fate of pesticides, endocrine disruptors and heavy metals in the process and the influence of the processing conditions hereon.
DC2 will integrate microwave application in hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) of sludge, leading to higher yields and quality of the produced carbonaceous hydrochar and lower the energy requirement and reaction time. DC2 will investigate the influence of the major HTC operating conditions (temperature (profile), pressure and reaction time) and sludge composition on the yield and characteristics of the hydrochar (including carbon content, specific surface area and porosity, polarity, aromaticity, elemental composition). DC2 will investigate the heavy metal solubilization induced by the microwaves, and their subsequent catalytic effect (e.g., iron) on the carbonisation rate. DC2 will compare the microwave assisted process with classical HTC towards yield and characteristics of the hydrochar. DC2 will carry out pot trials simulating soil application of the hydrochar.
Expected results:A novel microwave-assisted HTC-system to produce hydrochar from sludge. Knowledge on the degradation mechanism of organic pollutants during carbonisation. Knowledge on the behaviour and catalytic properties of heavy metals during the process.
Enrolment in Doctoral degree(s): KU LEUVEN Arenberg Doctoral School of Science, Engineering and Technology (BE)