(397d) Synthesis and Characterization of Hydrochars Produced By Hydrothermal Carbonization of Banana Peels | AIChE

(397d) Synthesis and Characterization of Hydrochars Produced By Hydrothermal Carbonization of Banana Peels


Yusuf, I. - Presenter, University of Surrey
Dorneanu, B., University of Surrey
Avignone-Rossa, C., University of Surrey
Arellano-Garcia, H., Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus-Senftenberg
Hydrothermal carbonisation (HTC) is a thermochemical process which imitates the natural coalification of biomass. If the natural process requires some hundred to some million years, depending on the type of coal produced, HTC needs less than half a day for the transformation of biomass into materials quite similar to brown coal [1].The organic feedstock is reacted with water at mild temperature (130-300 0C) compared to other thermochemical processes such as pyrolysis, gasification, or flash carbonisation, and under autogenous pressures (10-96 bar). The result is a homogeneous carbon-rich solid, a high-strength process liquid, and a gaseous product mainly consisting of CO2 [2]. Compared to the biomass feedstock, biochar possesses a higher heating value and higher carbon content, has a lower ash content, more surface oxygen-containing groups, and it can lead to lower emissions of greenhouse gases [3]. The difference in chemical composition of the final products depend on the reaction mechanisms that occur during HTC, which include hydrolysis, dehydration, decarboxylation, aromatization and re-condensation. Although these processes generally occur in this order, they do not operate in a successive manner; instead they occur simultaneously during HTC and are interconnected with each other [4].

The main purpose of this work is to evaluate the technological feasibility of converting banana peel residues in useful products using the HTC, towards a localised production strategy to harness the value of the waste for improving the livelihoods of rural agricultural communities.

A study of the prevailing reactions, their rates and products from banana peel processing through HTC is used to support the optimisation of the reactor design. The products’ yield is influenced by factors such as temperature, feed solid content, the nature of the biomass, and residence time. A detailed characterisation of all the products obtained from HTC is conducted. Considerable effort is needed to comprehend their stability and quality and thereby the ongoing process reactions and upgrading needs. Characterisation methods, such as GC/MS NMR, and HPLC for product analysis are critical to understand the nature of the reactive species influencing product quality and yield.

Additionally, as efficient separation from an aqueous phase increases the yield of useful products, the separation of the main products and water is investigated. Furthermore, the feasibility of the recycle and re-use of the process water is analysed. The improvement and reuse of the hydrochar are appealing for applications such as solid fuel, pre-cursor for activated carbon, adsorbent, soil amendment or carbon sequestering biochar.

Moreover, the use of HTC to convert banana peels into products such as hydrochar or bio-oil will enable the local rural communities create value from something they are discarding as waste. The hydrochar, processed into pellet form to increase its bulk density in order to reduce storage and transportation costs, can be directly used as a solid fuel that can be burned for energy. This is particularly effective for small and medium farms dispersed over extended areas, due to the significant reduction of expenses and environmental impact. The hydrochar can be added to soil to enhance the effects of the fertilisers, by reducing the amount of fertiliser lost through surface run-off. In addition, it increases the amount of water that can be retained by sandy soils, with a low available water capacity. The use of banana peels will produce highly effective sorbent hydrochars to be used for heavy metals removal from water.

Moreover, our results suggest that the liquid fraction obtained from the hydrothermal processing of banana peel is a good feedstock for Microbial Fuel Cells. The hydrochar obtained in the process has shown to present several properties, such as the removal of various types of pollutants from contaminated waters. Therefore, the integration of HTC to convert banana peels into hydrochar and the utilization of the liquid by-product as feedstock for bioelectrochemical system (BES) technology enables full utilization of an otherwise recalcitrant waste.


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[2]. Neethu, T.M. & Dubey, P.K., 2018, Hydrothermal carbonisation of biomass and its potential applications in various fields, The Pharma Innovation Journal 7, 1132-1136

[3]. Kang, S., Li, X., Fan, J., Chang, J., 2012, Characterisation of hydrochars produced by hydrothermal carbonisation of lignin, cellulose, D-xylose, and wood meal, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research 51, 9023-9031

[4]. Fang, J., Zhan, L., Ok, Y.S., Gao, B., 2018, Minireview of potential application of hydrochar derived from hydrothermal carbonisation of biomass, Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry 57, 15-21