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Special Issue "Hydrothermal Technology in Biomass Utilization & Conversion"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "Bio-Energy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 March 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Eng. David Chiaramonti

ReCord – Renewable Energy Consortium for Research and Demonstration and Department of Industrial Engineering of the University of Florence, Viale Morgagni 40, Florence, Italy
Website 1 | Website 2 | E-Mail
Interests: Thermochemical biomass conversion processes; Liquid biofuel production
Co-Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Andrea Kruse

Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Conversion Technologies of Biobased Resources, Universität Hohenheim / University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: hydrothermal carbonization; carbon materials; platform-chemicals from biomass; nutrient recovery; hydrothermal conversion; hydrothermal liquefaction; hydrothermal gasification; hydrothermal pretreatment
Co-Guest Editor
Dr. Ing. Marco Klemm

DBFZ Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum gemeinnützige GmbH, Leipzig, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: hydrothermal processes for solid and liquid products for different applications (e.g. solid fuel, carbon materials, liquid fuels, chemicals); balance, technical assessment and optimization of hydrothermal process; implementation of hydrothermal processes in provision chains; assessment of feedstock concerning application in hydrothermal processes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The possibility of converting biomass into fuels and products through wet processes is becoming more and more attractive, as new feedstock and applications are appearing on the scene of bioeconomy and bioenergy. Hydrothermal processing of various type of biomass, waste and residues thus rised the interest of many researchers and companies around the world, together with downstream upgrading processes and technologies: solid products as biochar, for instance, or liquid ones as crude bioliquids, are finding new market opportunities in circular economy schemes. The Special Issue aims at collecting recent innovative research works in the field, from basic to applied research, as well as pilot industrial applications/demo. The outcome will constitute a valuable set of references for those investing time and effort in research in the field.

Prof. Ing. David Chiaramonti
Prof. Dr. Andrea Kruse
Dr. Ing. Marco Klemm
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Hydrothermal Processing
  • Liquefaction
  • Carbonisation
  • Biochar
  • Biofuels
  • Bioproducts
  • Biochemicals

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Techno-Economic Assessment of Co-Hydrothermal Carbonization of a Coal-Miscanthus Blend
Energies 2019, 12(4), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12040630 (registering DOI)
Received: 4 January 2019 / Revised: 31 January 2019 / Accepted: 5 February 2019 / Published: 15 February 2019
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Abstract
Co-Hydrothermal Carbonization (Co-HTC) is a thermochemical process, where coal and biomass were treated simultaneously in subcritical water, resulting in bulk-homogenous hydrochar that is carbon-rich and a hydrophobic solid fuel with combustion characteristics like coal. In this study, technoeconomic analysis of Co-HTC was performed [...] Read more.
Co-Hydrothermal Carbonization (Co-HTC) is a thermochemical process, where coal and biomass were treated simultaneously in subcritical water, resulting in bulk-homogenous hydrochar that is carbon-rich and a hydrophobic solid fuel with combustion characteristics like coal. In this study, technoeconomic analysis of Co-HTC was performed for a scaled-up Co-HTC plant that produces fuel for 110 MWe coal-fired power plant using Clarion coal #4a and miscanthus as starting feedstocks. With precise mass and energy balance of the Co-HTC process, sizing of individual equipment was conducted based on various systems equations. Cost of electricity was calculated from estimated capital, manufacturing, and operating and maintenance costs. The breakeven selling price of Co-HTC hydrochar was $117 per ton for a 110 MWe. Sensitivity analysis indicates that this breakeven selling price could be as low as $106 per ton for a higher capacity plant. Besides plant size, the price of solid fuel is sensitive to the feedstock costs and hydrochar yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrothermal Technology in Biomass Utilization & Conversion)
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Open AccessArticle Key Development Factors of Hydrothermal Processes in Germany by 2030: A Fuzzy Logic Analysis
Energies 2018, 11(12), 3532; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11123532
Received: 9 November 2018 / Revised: 12 December 2018 / Accepted: 14 December 2018 / Published: 19 December 2018
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Abstract
To increase resource efficiency, it is necessary to use biogenic residues in the most efficient and value-enhancing manner. For high water-containing biomass, hydrothermal processes (HTP) are particularly promising as they require wet conditions for optimal processing anyway. In Germany, however, HTP have not [...] Read more.
To increase resource efficiency, it is necessary to use biogenic residues in the most efficient and value-enhancing manner. For high water-containing biomass, hydrothermal processes (HTP) are particularly promising as they require wet conditions for optimal processing anyway. In Germany, however, HTP have not yet reached the industrial level, although suitable substrates are available and technological progress has been made in previous years. This study aims to determine why this is by identifying key factors that need to occur HTP development in Germany until 2030. By using results of previous analyses within this context (i.e., literature review, SWOT analysis, expert survey, and focus group workshop) and combining them with the results of an expert workshop and Delphi-survey executed during this analysis, a comprehensive information basis on important development factors is created. Fuzzy logic is used to analyze these factors in terms of interconnections, relevance, and probability of occurrence by 2030. The results show that technological factors, such as a cost-efficient process water treatment and increased system integration of HTP into bio-waste and wastewater treatment plants, are given high relevance and probability of occurrence. The adaptation of the legal framework, for example, the approval of end products from HTP as standard fuels, has very high relevance but such adaptions are considered relatively unlikely. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrothermal Technology in Biomass Utilization & Conversion)
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Open AccessArticle Catalytic Hydrotreatment of Microalgae Biocrude from Continuous Hydrothermal Liquefaction: Heteroatom Removal and Their Distribution in Distillation Cuts
Energies 2018, 11(12), 3360; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11123360
Received: 27 October 2018 / Revised: 23 November 2018 / Accepted: 26 November 2018 / Published: 1 December 2018
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Abstract
To obtain drop-in fuel properties from 3rd generation biomass, we herein report the catalytic hydrotreatment of microalgae biocrude, produced from hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of Spirulina. Our contribution focuses on the effect of temperature, initial H2 pressure, and residence time on the [...] Read more.
To obtain drop-in fuel properties from 3rd generation biomass, we herein report the catalytic hydrotreatment of microalgae biocrude, produced from hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of Spirulina. Our contribution focuses on the effect of temperature, initial H2 pressure, and residence time on the removal of heteroatoms (O and N) in a batch hydrotreating setup. In contrast to common experimental protocols for hydrotreating at batch scale, we devised a set of two-level factorial experiments and studied the most influential parameters affecting the removal of heteroatoms. It was found that up to 350 °C, the degree of deoxygenation (de-O) is mainly driven by temperature, whereas the degree of denitrogenation (de-N) also relies on initial H2 pressure and temperature-pressure interaction. Based on this, complete deoxygenation was obtained at mild operating conditions (350 °C), reaching a concurrent 47% denitrogenation. Moreover, three optimized experiments are reported with 100% removal of oxygen. In addition, the analysis by GC-MS and Sim-Dis gives insight to the fuel quality. The distribution of heteroatom N in lower (<340 °C) and higher (>340 °C) fractional cuts is studied by a fractional distillation unit following ASTM D-1160. Final results show that 63–68% of nitrogen is concentrated in higher fractional cuts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrothermal Technology in Biomass Utilization & Conversion)
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Open AccessArticle Hydrothermal Carbonization Brewer’s Spent Grains with the Focus on Improving the Degradation of the Feedstock
Energies 2018, 11(11), 3226; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11113226
Received: 22 October 2018 / Revised: 11 November 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrothermal Technology in Biomass Utilization & Conversion)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Improving Carbon Efficiency in Lignocellulosic Ethanol Biorefinering: Valorization of Lignin-Rich Residue Through Hydrothermal Liquefaction
Authors: Andrea Maria Rizzo 1, Edoardo Miliotti 2, Stefano Dell’Orco 2, Giulia Lotti 1, Luca Rosi 3, David Chiaramonti 2,*
Affiliation:
1   RE-CORD, Viale Morgagni 40, 50135, Firenze, Italia
2   RE-CORD and Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Florence, Viale Morgagni 40, 50135, Firenze, Italia
3   RE-CORD and Chemistry Department “Ugo Schiff”, University of Florence, Via della Lastruccia, 3-1350019 Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze, Italia
*   corresponding author
Abstract: The production of ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass has recently achieved full industrial scale, and large amount of a very wet lignin-rich residue is produced in comparable amount as coproduct. The current management practice of this stream is co-combustion for heat and power generation, but being lignin the (potentially) most abundant renewable source of aromatics in nature, its valorization offers unparalleled opportunity for the green chemistry and circular economy. Due to the high water content of this material, hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) can represent a suitable process to obtain added-value useful chemicals and biofuel precursors (biocrude), improving the overall biorefinery carbon efficiency. To the authors’ knowledge the reported experiences of similar feedstock in HTL have been carried out on lignin from pulp and paper or high-purity model compounds, both of them structurally differing from lignin-rich stillage from 2nd generation ethanol production. The present work aims at partially filling this gap by preliminary assessing the viability of converting this promising feedstock in batch, subcritical hydrothermal conditions and providing a comprehensive characterization of products. Batch subcritical HTL experiments were carried out in a custom-made test bench, where temperature (300 °C, 350 °C and 370 °C), residence time (5 min and 10 min) and biomass-to-water mass ratio (10 % w/w and 20 % w/w) had been investigated. The aqueous phase, solid (hydrochar), and liquid product (biocrude) originated in the process were collected and analyzed to determine mass balances and conversion effectiveness. A light and a heavy fraction of the biocrude were both recovered after a two-step extraction method developed for the purpose. A good carbon recovery was achieved in the biocrude (light + heavy fraction), ranging from 55 % w/w to 77 % w/w. Temperature was the parameter which mostly affected the biocrude yield, while the biomass-to-water mass ratio had a not significant influence: from 300 °C to 370 °C the yield of the light fraction increased from 10 % w/w to 36 % w/w, while that of the heavy biocrude decreased from 50 % w/w to 13 % w/w. The light biocrude and the aqueous phase were respectively characterized by GC-MS and HPLC and the most abundant compounds that were found were oxygenated aromatics (e.g. phenols, syringols, guaiacols as well as aromatic cyclic ketones and aromatic aldehydes) and carboxylic acids. In addition, the average apparent molar mass was evaluated both for the light and the heavy biocrude by SEC: the light fractions exhibited a molar mass around 400 g mol-1, while the heavy one showed decreasing values with reaction severity.
This study was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, project Heat-to-Fuel, under Grant Agreement number 764675.

Title: Phosphorous Recovery via Hydrothermal Carbonization of Cow Manure, Hydrochar Activation and Organic Contaminant Adsorption Capacity
Authors: Maurizio Volpe 1,2, Giulia Severini 1, Gianni Andreottola 1, Jillian L. Goldfarb 1,2,3,4, Luca Fiori 1,*
Affiliation:
1   Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, via Mesiano 77, 38123 Trento, Italia
2   The Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, Boston University, Bay State Road, Boston MA 02215, USA
3   Department of Mechanical Engineering, Boston University, 110 Cummington Mall, Boston MA 02215, USA
4   Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 226 Riley-Robb Hall, Ithaca NY 14853, USA
Abstract: In the last few years the growing concern due to the increased amounts of manure nutrients being generated by livestock chain and their extensive agronomic use and improper disposal have raised the risks of soil and ground water pollution. Notably, animal manures contain high amount of valuable nutrients (N, K and P) that are interesting for potential industrial applications. In particular, phosphorous is found in high amount in cow manure. This study investigates hydrothermal carbonization of cow manure at two different reaction conditions: 190 °C - 1 hour and 230 °C - 3 hours, to concentrate phosphorous in the solid phase (hydrochar) and recover it via acid leaching and subsequent precipitation by increasing the pH of the leachate. Results show that, by HCl leaching (3-6 M), up to 90 wt% of phosphorous initially present in the hydrochar can be recovered mainly as hydroxyapatite. Although after acid leaching hydrochars show an increase in higher heating values, from 16.2 to 19.5 and from 18.9 to 22.3 MJ/kg for the hydrochars obtained at 190 and 230 °C respectively, they show high content of ashes (between 10.8 and 19.2 wt%) and poor combustion properties. Acid leached hydrochars, both at 3 and 6 M HCl and the corresponding pyrolysed residues at 600 °C - 0.5 h, were tested as adsorbent material, using Langmuir and Freundlich models, for water remediation by using methylene blue as the model compound. Although pyrolysed hydrochars have BET surface areas of about one order of magnitude higher (160-236 m2/g) than the starting acid leached hydrochars (11-23 m2/g), their adsorption capacity is three times lower (9 mgdye/ghydr. and 30 mgdye/ghydr. for 230 °C pyrolysed and 190 °C not pyrolysed samples respectively). Further investigations are needed to relate the high adsorption capacity of non pyrolysed low temperature hydrochars with their surface chemically active functional groups that could be lost during more severe treatments of HTC and/or pyrolysis.
Keywords: phosphorous recovery; cow manure; hydrochar; activated carbon; water remediation

Title: Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of HTC Concepts Valorising Sewage Sludge for Energetic and Agricultural Use
Authors:
Meisel, K.; Clemens, A.

Title: Extraction Behavior of Different Conditioned S.Rubescens
Author: Kröger, M.

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