Sludge Pyrolysis: How Big a Future—

by Ronald B. Sieger, (A.M.ASCE), Resource Recovery and Energy Div., Brown and Caldwell, Walnut Creek, Calif.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1978, Vol. 48, Issue 5, Pg. 88-91

Document Type: Feature article


Pyrolysis is the destructive distillation of combustible elements by heat in the total absence of oxygen. Partial pyrolysis or starved air combustion is the gasification of a material in the presence of a controlled amount of oxygen. Recent studies show that sewage sludge partial pyrolysis is a cost effective solution to sludge disposal. In full scale tests, no identifiable air or water pollution problems were found. The energy inherent in sewage sludge can be recovered to provide an energy self-sufficient sludge disposal system. Perhaps the greatest potential of sludge pyrolysis would be in converting the many existing sludge incinerators to the pyrolysis mode, a move that could result in more energy-efficient systems.

Subject Headings: Sludge | Heat treatment | Combustion | Oxygen | Sewage | Air pollution | Water pollution | Energy recovery

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