Perhaps it sounds like science fiction, but in the near future water treatment plants can become a source of pyrolysis biofuel, reminiscent of crude oil. The technology of sewage treatment was developed at the Department of the National Energy Laboratory of the USA.
The technology of hydrothermal liquefaction mimics natural geo-conditions, in which oil forms in the bowels of the Earth. In other words, what nature spends millions of years can be obtained in a matter of minutes. The result is a product similar to crude oil with low water and oxygen content.
Every day 34 billion liters of sewage pass through the treatment facilities of a country like the United States. Their processing can yield up to 30 million barrels of oil per year. According to experts, each person is able to “produce” up to four liters of biofuel for the same period of time.
For a long time, wastewater was considered unsuitable as an ingredient for fuel production due to high humidity. Using hydrothermal liquefaction, sewage was divided into simpler chemical compounds. For this, a pressure of 206.8 bar is created, that is, 100 times more than in an automobile tire.
Then the sludge under pressure enters the reactor system, where it is heated to a temperature of about 350 ° C. High temperature and pressure divide waste into two fractions – pyrolysis fuel and water.
It is expected that in 2017 the stage of designing and manufacturing of equipment will be completed, and in 2018 the pilot system for obtaining biofuel will begin to work.