Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 563–576 | Cite as

Optimization of the conventional hydrothermal carbonization to produce hydrochar from fish waste

  • Shrikalaa KannanEmail author
  • Yvan Gariepy
  • G. S. Vijaya Raghavan
Original Article


Fish waste disposal is a major cause for concern for the seafood processing industries. Fish processing generates enormous quantities of waste as almost 45% of the live weight of fish is regarded as waste. Current ways of managing fish waste involves dumping in oceans, landfills, or treating them with already established strategies. Dumping these wastes without any form of treatment is far from being environmental friendly. Current utilization strategies suffer from disadvantages such as incomplete utilization of solid and liquid wastes or generation of new waste effluents that needs further processing. Therefore, there is a need to find an alternate/supplemental method of seafood utilization. Previously, we have reported the use of microwave hydrothermal carbonization (MHTC) to carbonize fish waste to hydrochar. Here, a conventional heating method such as a custom autoclave reactor is reported that could also be used to carbonize fish waste to hydrochar. Upon response surface design optimization, it was found that a maximal yield of hydrochar (~ 35%) can be achieved at a holding temperature of 180 °C and at a holding time of 120 min. We have also characterized the elemental, proximate, energy, and surface properties of hydrochar produced by conventional hydrothermal carbonization (CHTC). It was found that the quality of the hydrochar produced by MHTC is largely comparable to CHTC. This further proves that HTC could be employed to generate energy from non-lignocellulosic wastes such as fish waste while getting rid of the waste in an eco-friendly manner.


Fish waste Hydrochar Response surface design Conventional hydrothermal carbonization Energy value 



Analysis of variance




Central composite design


Conventional hydrothermal carbonization


Design of experiment


Energy enrichment factor


Hydrothermal carbonization




Microwave hydrothermal carbonization






Raw fish waste


Scanning electron microscope





The authors are grateful to Dr. Valerie Orsat for providing access to the FTIR equipment. The authors would like to acknowledge the “Elemental Analysis Service” at the University of Montreal and Dr. Arif Mustafa for the help with the bomb calorimetry experiments. The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. Darwin Lyew and Dr. Ramesh Murugesan for their help in consultations during the course of the research.


This work was supported by operating grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to GSVR and it was also supported by the Faculty for the Future grant by Schlumberger Foundation to SK.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors are affiliated to the McGill University and have filed for a patent for the method described in this study. The authors declare that they do not have any non-financial competing interests.

Supplementary material

13399_2018_323_MOESM1_ESM.docx (295 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 295 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Bioresource EngineeringMcGill University Macdonald CampusSainte-Anne-De-BellevueCanada

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