Development of a Continuous Hydrothermal Treatment Process for Efficient Dewatering of Industrial Wastewater Sludge
Sludges from the papermaking industry represent a challenging residue stream that is difficult to dewater using conventional processes. The successful development and scale-up of innovative processes from lab- to pilot- to industrial-scale are required to tackle challenges for waste treatment, including paper sludges. Biological paper sludge was treated via a mild hydrothermal carbonization process (TORWASH®) to improve dewaterability of the sludge, including long-duration, continuous testing. Initial lab-scale experiments indicated the optimal treatment temperature for sludge dewatering was 190 °C. Dewaterability improved with increasing temperature, but the obtained solid yield decreased. Scaling-up to a continuous flow pilot plant required a temperature of 200 °C to achieve optimum dewatering. Pilot-scale hydrothermal treatment and dewatering resulted in solid cakes with an average dry matter content of 38% and a solid yield of 39%. This study demonstrates the benefits of hydrothermal carbonization for the dewatering of biological paper sludge without the use of dewatering aids such as fiber sludge or polyelectrolytes. The results also demonstrate the successful adaptation of a lab-scale batch process to a pilot-scale continuous flow process for hydrothermal carbonization of industrial wastewater sludge.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 884226.