Publication | Peer reviewed papers | Thermische Vergasung und Gasreinigung

Bubbling fluidized bed co-combustion and co-gasification of sewage sludge with agricultural residues with a focus on the fate of phosphorus

Published 1 February 2024

Citation: Hannl TK, Skoglund N, Priščák J, Öhman M, Kuba M. Bubbling fluidized bed co-combustion and co-gasification of sewage sludge with agricultural residues with a focus on the fate of phosphoru. Fuel. 1 February 2024. 357:129822


In this work, the fate of the ash-forming elements during bubbling fluidized bed combustion and gasification of P-rich sewage sludge (SS) and mixtures with either Si-K-rich wheat straw (WS) or K-Ca-rich sunflower husks (SH) were investigated. The focus of the study was assessing the feasibility of using fuel blends in fluidized bed systems and potential P recovery from the resulting ashes. The used fuels were pure SS and mixtures including 90 wt.% WS (WSS) and 85 wt.% SH (SHS). The analyzed operating conditions were combustion (930–960 °C, λ: 1.2–1.5) and gasification (780–810 °C, λ: 0.4–0.7) in a 5 kW bench-scale reactor. Residual ash and char fractions were collected from different parts of the 5 kW bubbling fluidized bed (bed, cyclone, filter) and analyzed by CHN, SEM/EDS, XRD, and ICP-AES.

The conversion of the fuel mixtures achieved a steady state under the used process conditions except for the combustion of WSS, which led to the formation of large bed agglomerates with the bed material. The morphology of ash samples after combustion showed that SS fuel pellets mostly maintained their integrity during the experiment. In contrast, the ash and char particles from fuel mixtures were fragmented, and larger quantities were found in the cyclone, the filter, or on interior reactor surfaces. The fate of P was dominated by crystalline Ca-dominated whitlockites in all ash fractions, partially including K for the fuel mixtures SHS and WSS. 76–81 % of ingoing P was found in the bed residue after combustion and gasification of the SS-fuel. After conversion of the fuel mixtures SHS and WSS, the share was lower at 22–48 %, with larger shares of P in the entrained fractions (25–34 %). The quantity of identified crystalline compounds was lower after gasification than combustion, likely due to the limited interaction of ash-forming elements in the residual CHN matrix. Altogether, the results show that fuel mixtures of sewage sludge with agricultural residues could expand the fuel feedstock and enable P recovery. This may be used in the fuel and process design of upscaled fluidized bed processes or systems employing both combustion and gasification.

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