Olive mill wastewater: From a pollutant to green fuels, agricultural and water source and bio-fertilizer – Hydrothermal carbonization

Ahmed Amine Azzaz*, Mejdi Jeguirim, Vasiliki Kinigopoulou, Charalampos Doulgeris, Mary Lorène Goddard, Salah Jellali, Camelia Matei Ghimbeu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) is considered as a promising technique for wastes conversion into carbon rich materials for various energetic, environmental and agricultural applications. In this work, the HTC of olive mill wastewater (OMWW) was investigated at different temperatures (180–220 °C) and both, the solid (i.e., hydrochars) and the final process liquid derived from the thermal conversion process were deeply analyzed. Results showed that the solid yield was affected by the temperature, i.e., decrease from 57% to 25% for temperatures of 180 °C and 220 °C, respectively. Furthermore, the hydrochars presented an increasing fixed carbon percentage with the increase of the carbonization temperature, suggesting that decarboxylation is the main reaction driving the HTC process. The decrease in the O/C ratio promoted an increase of the high heating value (HHV) by 32% for hydrochar prepared at 220 °C. The process liquids were sampled and their organic contents were analyzed using GC–MS technique. Acids, alcohols, phenols and sugar derivatives were detected and their concentrations varied with carbonization temperatures. The assessment of the physico-chemical properties of the generated HTC by-products suggested the possible application of the hydrochars for energetic insights while the liquid fraction could be practical for in agricultural field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number139314
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2020


  • Biofuels
  • Characterization
  • HHV
  • Hydrochars
  • Hydrothermal carbonization
  • Mineral content
  • Olive mill wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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