Use of sewage sludge biochar as a catalyst in production of biodiesel through thermally induced transesterification

Sungyup JUNG, Minyoung KIM, Yong-Hyun KIM, Kun-Yi Andrew LIN, Wei-Hsin CHEN, Yiu Fai TSANG, Eilhann E. KWON

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5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sewage sludge (SS) is a residual/semi-solid material produced from industrial and municipal wastewater treatment processes. SS contains a high content of lipids and earth alkaline metals that can be used as catalysts for various chemical applications; however, its valorization has rarely been the focus of research. This study demonstrates that SS could be a promising raw material for biodiesel production and a biochar catalyst to promote the reaction kinetics of alkylation. Thermally induced transesterification of the SS extract (SSE) was performed in comparison with the conventional homogeneous reaction. SS biochar was fabricated via pyrolysis. The highest yield (33.5 wt.% per SSE) of biodiesel production was achieved in 1 min of reaction at 305 °C via thermally induced transesterification in the presence of SS biochar, while the yield of biodiesel from (trans)esterification with 5 wt.% H₂SO₄ was less than 1% even after 24 h. The reaction kinetics (< 1min) of thermally induced transesterification was extraordinarily faster than that of conventional transesterification (3–24 h). The porous structure and high content of alkaline species in the SS biochar expedited the reaction kinetics. Consequently, the integrated/hybridized process for thermally induced transesterification and pyrolysis of the solid residue of SS was experimentally proved for the valorization of SS in this study. Considering that SS is being disposed of as a waste material and generates toxic chemicals in the environment, its valorization into value-added biodiesel and a catalyst could be an environmentally benign and sustainable technique. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Article number67
JournalBiochar
Volume4
Issue number1
Early online date14 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Citation

Jung, S., Kim, M., Kim, Y.‑H., Lin, K.‑Y. A., Chen, W.‑H., Tsang, Y. F., & Kwon, E. E. (2022). Use of sewage sludge biochar as a catalyst in production of biodiesel through thermally induced transesterification. Biochar, 4(1). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s42773-022-00194-7

Keywords

  • Circular economy
  • Waste-to-energy
  • Biochar catalyst
  • Biodiesel
  • Wastewater treatment

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