Journal article Open Access

Hydrothermal Carbonization Brewer's Spent Grains with the Focus on Improving the Degradation of the Feedstock

Pablo J. Arauzo; Maciej P. Olszewski; Andrea Kruse

Hydrochar is a very interesting product from agricultural and food production residues. Unfortunately, severe conditions for complete conversion of lignocellulosic biomass is necessary, especially compared to the conversion of sugar compounds. The goal of this work is to improve the conversion of internal carbohydrates by application of a two-steps process, by acid addition and slightly higher water content. A set of experiments at different temperatures (180, 200, and 220 °C), reaction times (2 and 4 h), and moisture contents (80% and 90%) was performed to characterize the solid (high heating value (HHV), elemental) and liquid product phase. Afterwards, acid addition for a catalyzed hydrolysis reaction during hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) and a two-steps reaction (180 and 220 °C) were tested. As expected, a higher temperature leads to higher C content of the hydrochar and a higher fixed carbon (FC) content. The same effect was found with the addition of acids at lower temperatures. In the two-steps reaction, a primary hydrolysis step increases the conversion of internal carbohydrates. Higher water content has no significant effect, except for increasing the solubility of ash components.

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