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HYDROTHERMAL VALORIZATION OF AGRICULTURAL WASTE- BIOCRUDE OIL UPGRADING AND NUTRIENT RECOVERY

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Abstract

With sustainability issues increasing in importance, there is always a growing need for proper food/agricultural waste management. With our increasing global population, the need is only intensified. Currently, a major fraction of the food waste is directed toward landfill disposal without recovering any energy or other marketable by-products This practice leads t significant methane emissions impacting climate change. Other commercial food waste management methodologies involve incineration and anaerobic digestion, while they address energy recovery from waste, there remains a key question of how best to deal with wet waste streams. Incineration including drying which is very energy intensive and anaerobic digestion results in incomplete conversion of the organic carbon to biogas with a large amount of wet residual digestate. As a result, both methods are not optimal for treating dilute wet wastes.Hydrothermal treatment provides an attractive alternative to more effectively valorize wet agricultural/food wastes to produce energy-rich (bio-crude oil) and nutrient-rich (aqueous phase) products that can be reapplied back to the industry creating a circular bioeconomy. Hydrothermal valorization of manures, food wastes, sewage sludge, etc. have been demonstrated in the literature, but these biomass feedstocks are more nitrogenous and oxygenated in nature subsequently resulting in bio-oils with a lower heating value compared to petroleum-based crude oil. This study makes use of a Two-Stage hydrothermal treatment process to effectively valorize chicken manure and partition nitrogen into the aqueous phase (nutrient-rich) and produce an upgraded biocrude-oil (energy-rich) with a better heating value for direct application as a drop-in fuel. A mechanistic study was performed to understand the underlying degradation mechanisms involved in the wet biomass conversion that resulted in bio-oil upgradation with changing experimental parameters including temperature, reaction time, and pH. The novelty lies in the addition of a homogeneous reusable acid catalyst (acetic acid) in studying the improvement in bio-oil yields and HHV.

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93 pages

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2023-08

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Tester, Jefferson

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Lei, Xingen

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Chemical Engineering

Degree Name

M.S., Chemical Engineering

Degree Level

Master of Science

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dissertation or thesis

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