Biosolids: Feedstock For Lipid To Hydrocarbon Technology (LTH) For Biofuel Production

Lin Xia, Mehdi Omidghane, Michael Chae and David C. Bressler.
Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Biosolids are nutrient-rich organic materials produced from the treatment of municipal sludge. The growing volume of biosolids and microbial safety highlight the difficulties associated with disposal. Furthermore, the cost of biosolids management accounts for more than half of the total operating cost of a wastewater treatment facility. Canada generates about 660,000 dry tonnes of biosolids annually, which is becoming a environmental issue. Previous studies on extracting energy from biosolids, such as direct combustion or gasification, are inefficient and present technical difficulties. Hence, there is a need for more effective means to utilized biosolids. This projects aims to use biosolids as a source of both water and lipid to produce biofuels by using our Lipid-to-Hydrocarbon technology (LTH). LTH is a novel biorefining technology developed and patented by our laboratory and is a non-catalytic two-step thermal treatment. It is a relatively lower energy process and results in high yields of gasoline and middle distillates. The high temperature and pressure inherent to the process also provides an advantageous sterilization of the biosolids. We anticipate that after hydrolysis, it will be much easier to remove inorganic metals from the biosolids creating additional value and opportunities. The fatty acids obtained through hydrolysis will be used as feedstock for pyrolysis to produce hydrocarbons that have similar properties with those generated from crude oil.


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2. Retrieved electronically on October 29, 2015 from