Last November, a new research project entitled, “Utilization of sewage sludge to design, produce and characterize carbon-based materials through hydrothermal processing and computational modeling” was signed between MIT and Ferrovial.
Over the next 18 months, both organizations will study the possibility of applying the Hydrothermal Carbonization (HTC) process to sewage sludge in order to evaluate it and extract such valuable byproducts as Asphalt or Bitumen, Activated charcoal, or Bio-Crude. It can therefore be classified as part of the Circular Economy strategy in which both organizations are involved.
The HTC process aims to simulate a process that takes thousands of years in nature in just a few minutes by applying high temperatures and pressure in a liquid medium.
Among the most important highlights of this study is the creation and evaluation of a Molecular Model that will allow us to learn more about optimal operational conditions for maximizing the transformation of sludge into the byproduct that offers the greatest added value and potential market. The generation of bituminous products similar to the asphalt used in highway construction, for example, could generate important synergies at Ferrovial.
Last week, Javier Arrieta, head of the R+D+i Department at Cadagua visited Professor Markus Buehler’s team of researchers at MIT to conduct follow-up to the first trials and advances of the project.
At the end of 2010, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Ferrovial signed a collaboration agreement involving research geared toward developing the infrastructure of the future.