Hydrothermal Carbonization

Sebastian Benden

project report

Over the next few decades we will increasingly struggle with the consequences of industrialization. Our energy needs are growing continuously, while fossil fuels are becoming less abundant and will run out eventually. Furthermore, we will be confronted with the ecological impact of our fossil fuel consumption. Therefore, it is essential to find alternative sources of energy. Hydrothermal carbonization is a novel and innovative way of converting biomass into fuels. This method could be part of an answer to our energy supply challenges until our energy needs can be met by fully emission free sources of energy in the more distant future. This makes hydrothermal carbonization an important topic that has large potential impact on our society.

In this work, I have demonstrated hydrothermal carbonization using the simple equipment that is available in our secondary school's lab. I have been able to resolve all safety issues and I have studied this process by carbonizing various kinds of biomass under different conditions. I will use the results of my study to identify ways of improving the recipe for hydrothermal carbonization in order to improve this process and its potential impact.

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