The reuse potential for the large annual production of spent coffee grounds (SCGs) is underexploited in most world regions. Hydrochars from SCGs produced via hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) have been recognized as a promising solid fuel alternative. To increase demand, optimization of the HTC and two post-treatment processes, washing and agglomeration, were studied to improve hydrochar in terms of energetic properties, minimizing unwanted substances, and better handling. HTC experiments at three scales (1–18.75 L) and varying process conditions (temperature T (160–250 °C), reaction time t (1–5 h), and solid content %So (6–20%) showed that the higher heating value (HHV) can be improved by up to 46%, and most potential emissions of trace elements from combustion reduced (up to 90%). The HTC outputs (solid yield—SY, HHV, energy yield—EY) were modeled and compared to published genetic programming (GP) models. Both model types predicted the three outputs with low error (<15%) and can be used for process optimization. The efficiency of water washing depended on the HTC process temperature and type of aromatics produced. The furanic compounds were removed (69–100%; 160 °C), while only 34% of the phenolic compounds (240 °C) were washed out. Agglomeration of both wet SCG and its hydrochar is feasible; however, the finer particles of washed hydrochar (240 °C) resulted in larger-sized spherical pellets (85% > 2000–4000 µm) compared to SCGs (only 4%).

Enhancing the Fuel Properties of Spent Coffee Grounds through Hydrothermal Carbonization: Output Prediction and Post-Treatment Approaches

Farru, Gianluigi
Secondo
;
2024-01-01

Abstract

The reuse potential for the large annual production of spent coffee grounds (SCGs) is underexploited in most world regions. Hydrochars from SCGs produced via hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) have been recognized as a promising solid fuel alternative. To increase demand, optimization of the HTC and two post-treatment processes, washing and agglomeration, were studied to improve hydrochar in terms of energetic properties, minimizing unwanted substances, and better handling. HTC experiments at three scales (1–18.75 L) and varying process conditions (temperature T (160–250 °C), reaction time t (1–5 h), and solid content %So (6–20%) showed that the higher heating value (HHV) can be improved by up to 46%, and most potential emissions of trace elements from combustion reduced (up to 90%). The HTC outputs (solid yield—SY, HHV, energy yield—EY) were modeled and compared to published genetic programming (GP) models. Both model types predicted the three outputs with low error (<15%) and can be used for process optimization. The efficiency of water washing depended on the HTC process temperature and type of aromatics produced. The furanic compounds were removed (69–100%; 160 °C), while only 34% of the phenolic compounds (240 °C) were washed out. Agglomeration of both wet SCG and its hydrochar is feasible; however, the finer particles of washed hydrochar (240 °C) resulted in larger-sized spherical pellets (85% > 2000–4000 µm) compared to SCGs (only 4%).
2024
spent coffee grounds; hydrothermal carbonization; energy yield; process output prediction; aromatic production; post-treatments; char washing; agglomeration
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/386483
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