Mitigation of municipal biosolids via conversion to biocrude oil using hydrothermal liquefaction : a techno-economic analysis
In this techno-economic analysis, we have shown that hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) technology can be integrated with existing biosolids management facilities that utilize anaerobic digestion and biogas capture. The overall process converts raw sewage sludge to refinery-ready biocrude oil. The Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant (HBBMP) in Austin, TX is used as a case study. First, the operation of the plant without any modification was modeled and validated with field data. A standalone HTL processing unit was then considered as an add-on to the existing infrastructure. Technical and economic parameters were obtained from literature and experimental data. The results showed that savings of about $32 M over current operation with a payback period of 4.35 years were achievable at HBBMP. A nation-wide implementation could result in production of almost 4.5 million barrels of upgraded biocrude oil per year while offsetting about 330,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas emissions annually.