Sustainable resource recovery and process improvement in anaerobic digesters using hydrochar: a circular bio‐economic perspective

Sadish Oumabady, Sangeetha P. Ramasamy, S. Paul Sebastian, Rajinikanth Rajagopal, Parthiba K. Obulisamy, Rory Doherty, Sree Nanukuttan, Satish K. Bhardwaj, Deepak Kumaresan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) is a promising technology for waste valorisation and nutrient recovery to achieve sustainability. HTC converts organic waste into hydrochar, a carbon-rich solid with numerous surface functionalities that can be used for energy and wastewater treatment. In this review, we highlight the potential of hydrochar-based technology for improving the performance of anaerobic digestion (AD) systems and downstream applications of nutrient-laden hydrochar. We identify knowledge gaps in hydrochar production, performance in AD systems and nutrient recovery, including the need for larger-scale production facilities, multielement adsorption studies, and computational modelling. Techno-economic analysis and life cycle assessment of hydrochar applications are critical to evaluating the commercial viability of this technology. Overall, hydrochar-based technology offers a sustainable solution for waste management and resource recovery, with potential socioeconomic benefits for developing economies. The deployment of hydrochar-based technology will directly address key issues highlighted in the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals such as Clean water and sanitation (SDG 6); Zero hunger (SDG 2); and Climate action (SDG 13) thereby contributing to a more sustainable future.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sustainable Agriculture and Environment
Early online date25 Jul 2023
Publication statusEarly online date - 25 Jul 2023


  • anaerobic digestion
  • hydrochar
  • hydrothermal carbonization
  • nutrient recovery
  • soil amelioration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science
  • Ecology

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