Value-added use of food waste char


The aim of this research is to investigate into pretreatment of char derived from hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of food waste and use the treated char as an adsorbent material. Evaluation of adsorption performance of the HTL-char will be perfromed to determine whether the char derived from food waste hydrothermal liquefaction can be used as a heavy metal adsorbent, and to determine the effect of pretreatment (acid washing, activation etc.) steps on the final adsorption performance.
HTL-char treatment will be performed in two steps: i) acid washing of char using a strong acid (example, nitric acid) and removing the inorganics, minerals from char, and ii) activating the treated char by heating char to 800 °C with a heating rate of 10 °C/min in an inert or carbon dioxide atmosphere in a tube furnace. The HTL-char and treated char will be characterized for surface area, functional properties and will be tested for adsorption in a batch experiment.

Completion Objectives:


  • Review literature on composition/characteristics HTL-char generated from verities of organic materials
  • Characterize and conduct experimentation including char treatment and adsorption behavior.
  • Work with a graduate level student in preparing and/or modifying an experimental safety procedure (ESP) for the above research
  • Prepare a final report on experimental results and recommendations for the future use of food waste char as a high-value product

Faculty Advisor:

  • Jena

Required Competencies

  • Sophomore or higher

Student Researcher:

  • TBD

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