Influence of the Pyrolysis Temperature on Sewage Sludge Product Distribution, Bio-Oil, and Char Properties

Ngoc Trung Trinh, Peter Arendt Jensen, Kim Dam-Johansen, Niels Ole Knudsen, Hanne Risbjerg Sørensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Fast pyrolysis may be used for sewage sludge treatment with the advantages of a significant reduction of solid waste volume and production of a bio-oil that can be used as fuel. A study of the influence of the reaction temperature on sewage sludge pyrolysis has been carried out using a pyrolysis centrifugel reactor (PCR) at 475, 525, 575, and 625 °C. Maxima of both organic oil yield of 41 wt % on a dry ash free feedstock basis (daf) and a sludge oil energy recovery of 50% were obtained at 575 °C. The water-insoluble fraction, molecular-weight distribution, higher heating value (HHV), and thermal behaviors of sludge oils were found to be considerably influenced by the applied pyrolysis temperatures. The sludge oil properties obtained at the optimal temperature of 575 °C were a HHV of 25.5 MJ/kg, a water-insoluble fraction of 18.7 wt %, a viscosity of 43.6 mPa s at 40 °C, a mean molecular weight of 392 g/mol, and metal concentrations lower than 0.14 wt % on a dry basis (db). Less optimal
oil properties with respect to industrial applications were observed for oil samples obtained at 475 and 625 °C. Char properties of the 575 °C sample were an ash content of 81 wt % and a HHV of 6.1 MJ/kg db. A total of 95% of the sewage sludge phosphorus content was recovered in the char. The solid waste amount (char compared to sludge) was reduced to 52% on a bulk volume basis at the pyrolysis temperature of 575 °C.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy & Fuels
Pages (from-to)1419-1427
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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