Challenges and opportunities of hydrothermal carbonisation in the UK; Case study in Chirnside

Eloise Bevan, Jile Fu, Mauro Luberti, Ying Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The latest research and development in hydrothermal carbonisation (HTC) processes are reviewed and the feasibility of application to small towns in the UK is assessed. The HTC process designed in this report is theoretically evaluated for the biodegradable municipal waste and sewage waste produced by the small town of Chirnside, in the Scottish Borders. Calculation of mass and energy balances of the process are carried out alongside the evaluation of challenges and environmental, social and economic opportunities presented. The hypothetical HTC plant is capable of processing 267.14 t per year of food waste and 105.12 t per year of faecal sludge produced by Chirnsides estimated 2250 residents in 2041. The plant would be capable of producing 99.08 t per year of hydrochar with an estimated total energy content of 540.26 MWh per year. When used in a Biomass Combined Heat and Power Plant, the hydrochar would be capable of supplying Chirnsides residents with 0.71% and 3.43% of its domestic thermal energy demand and domestic electrical energy demand in 2041, respectively. Both the expected opportunities and challenges for the application of HTC are discussed, shedding light on the associated research in regards to this sustainable technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34870-34897
Number of pages28
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number55
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2021


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