Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 283–292 | Cite as

Hydrothermal carbonization of food waste: simplified process simulation model based on experimental results

  • Kyle McGaughy
  • M. Toufiq Reza
Original Article


Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) was performed on homogenized food waste (FW) in a batch reactor at 200, 230, and 260 °C for 30 min. Solid product, called hydrochar, was characterized by means of ultimate analysis, proximate analysis, higher heating value (HHV), and ash content. On the other hand, liquid products were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma (ICP), total carbon, and pH. HHV of FW was increased from 25.1 to 33.1 MJ kg−1 by HTC. Ash content is less than 3% for hydrochars as well as the raw FW. Fixed carbon increased from 18.8 to 22.4% with the increase of HTC temperature. Fuel characteristics indicate hydrochar as a potential solid fuel and carbon storage. Therefore, a simplified simulation model was created for a continuous process that performs HTC of 1 t of FW per day. It was determined that HTC of food waste has potential to be a viable process for the production of solid fuel, primarily due to ease of drying product char.


Food waste Hydrothermal carbonization Hydrochar Solid fuel Process simulation Modified carbon storage efficiency 



The research is partially funded by Ohio University Undergraduate Research Program through Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College. M. Toufiq Reza acknowledges start-up funding support from the Ohio University. The authors also acknowledge Drs. Wen Fan and Dora Lopez de Alonso for their laboratory and computational supports, respectively. The authors are also thankful to Ms. Michelle Srisupan, Mr. Pretom Saha, and Mr. Akbar Saba at the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment (ISEE) for their laboratory efforts on this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Sustainable Energy and the EnvironmentAthensUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical Engineering1 Ohio UniversityAthensUSA

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