Hydrothermal Carbonization (HTC) and Hydrothermal Liquefaction (HTL) are well understood thermo chemical processes with a history going back over 100 years. While the two processes work essentially the same they differ with respect to temperature and pressure and the products which are produced from the conversion of waste biomass in the process.
HTC takes place in an environment of between 180 and 250 C with pressure of 6.5 MPa and HTL requires temperatures in excess of 300 C and 25 MPa. Under these respective conditions waste in the cellulose and lignocellulose rich biomass becomes near supercritical and acts as a reaction catalyst. Over a period of 45 to 60 minutes multiple reactions occur namely hydrolysis (reaction with water), dehydration (removal of water), decarboxylation (removal of carboxyl groups which results in the liberation of CO2), and aromatization (formation of aromatic compounds).
Under the conditions of HTC the primary produced conversion product is hydrochar, a carbon rich solid which permanently sequesters the carbon from the biosolid waste which would have been released as CO2 during biodegradation. Under the more extreme conditions of HTL the production of hydrochar is reduced and the production of biocrude is optimized. The biocrude mimics petrocrude chemically and can be refined into anything that petrocrude can. Creating a carbon neutral drop in replacement using existing infrastructure and consumption modalities.
Enoverra's application of HTC and HTL processes focus on the capacity to convert wet biomass directly, eliminating the need for energy-intensive drying. This results in low energy and high carbon conversion efficiency with HTC yielding over 60% hydrochar and HTL producing over 40% carbon neutral/carbon negative hydrocarbon products with diverse applications, from feedstock for transitional biofuels, Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), renewable chemicals and sequestered carbon.
The benefits to optimizing HTC and HTL are clearly in the capacity to consume waste as a resource while producing commodities in high demand for a decarbonizing circular economy.
Fundamental Science and Engineering. Commercial Application. Global Impact.
In addition to its advanced commercial development Enoverra has a close academic collaboration with CETRI a public research organization which centralizes all low-carbon and carbon free clean energy research activities at the University of Regina located in Saskatchewan Canada.