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In-depth comparison of morphology, microstructure, and pathway of char derived from sewage sludge and relevant model compounds

: Peng, Chuan; Zhai, Yunbo; Hornung, Andreas; Wang, Bei; Li, Shanhong; Wang, Tengfei; Caiting Li; Zhu, Yun


Waste management 102 (2020), pp.432-440
ISSN: 0956-053X
ISSN: 1879-2456
Journal Article
Fraunhofer UMSICHT Sulzbach-Rosenberg ()
sewage sludge; model compound; Char morphology; Char microstructure; hydrothermal conversion; reaction pathway

Hydrothermal conversion (HTC) of sewage sludge (SS) and its relevant model compounds such as cellulose, glucose, lignin and soybean protein (substitute for protein) was experimentally conducted at moderate reaction temperature of 260 °C for 60 min. The structural properties, carbon-containing groups, and microstructure of the char were characterised by several techniques. The results revealed that more benzene rings were formed by small clusters and the C[sbnd]O bond on Aryl-alkyl ether decomposed on the surface particles during the HTC process. In addition, the catalyst Zeolite Socony Mobil-5 (ZSM-5, Si/Al: 300) showed an excellent performance on the high graphite degree of the char under moderate reaction temperature of 260 °C. In particular, cellulose has the most dramatic influence on the depolymerisation of C[sbnd](C,H). As evidenced with SEM, the size of the char derived from SS with ZSM-5 catalyst is 10–15 μm, which is smaller than the char without catalyst. A mechanism for derivation of char from individual model compounds is proposed. The end products of lignin are composed of polyaromatic char, while the composition of the char derived from protein suggests that polymerisation may occur during hydrothermal reaction leading to formation of structures with N-containing compounds.