Removal and recovery of inorganic components from hydrothermal carbonisation process water

Lead Research Organisation: University of Surrey
Department Name: Chemical Engineering


This project will focus on maximising commercial potential of the inorganic components of hydrothermal carbonisation (HTC) process water. Recovery of nutrients, in particular phosphorus, and other valuable materials in the wastewater will be explored. Environmental regulations which stipulate the acceptable levels of nutrient/contaminants will be considered and meeting these regulations will be a main objective. Techniques will include activated carbon addition, filtration, and adsorbent development. The HTC process will be modified for the production of hydrochar based adsorbents for use in process water contaminant removal. Nutrient recovery efficiency and process costs will be compared with the current state of the art.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R512217/1 01/10/2017 31/01/2022
1949018 Studentship EP/R512217/1 01/10/2017 31/01/2022 Oliver Paul Crossley
Description HTC process water is characterised by high organic load and high ionic strength and poses a considerable challenge to industrial scale deployment of HTC technology. An effective process water treatment process is necessary to ensure economic viability of the HTC technology. This project has made significant advances towards a complete treatment solution for HTC process water. The proposed solution includes an effective nutrient recovery step to exploit the nutrient content of HTC process water. In particular, the recovery of phosphorus is achieved through the precipitation of struvite analogues which can be used directly as slow release fertilisers.
Exploitation Route The outcomes of this research will be shared with the Industrial partner and will be used during the commercialisation of their HTC technology.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Energy,Environment

Description The results of this research were compiled to prepare an application to Innosuisse (Swiss Innovation Agency). The proposal received £1.7m in grant funding to scale up the process outlined in this research to an industrial scale. This project will run in collaboration with Antaco UK (sponsor company) and ZHAW (Swiss academic institute).
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Energy,Environment
Impact Types Economic

Description University of Surrey FEPS Faculty Research Support Fund (FRSF) Award
Amount £2,000 (GBP)
Funding ID TB0003 
Organisation University of Surrey 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2019 
End 12/2019