Low temperature thermochemical conversion of wastes

THURSDAY 3 JUNE 2021 / 15:00 - 18:00 (UTC +1)
Nicole Berge, University of South Carolina (US)

This webinar will address basic concepts associated with low temperature thermochemical conversion processes, which are defined as processes occurring at temperatures below the critical point of water (374 oC). Low temperature thermochemical conversion processes have been gaining significant attention over the last few decades as means to sustainably convert biomass or wastes to value added products. In this webinar, an overview of low temperature thermochemical conversion processes will be provided, including the discussion of the following processes: hydrothermal carbonization, hydrothermal liquefaction, and torrefaction. Information associated with the operating conditions, conversion mechanisms, and products generated from these processes, in the specific context of wastes, will be covered.


  • Introduction to low temperature thermochemical conversion processes

  • History and motivation for using these processes

  • Critical feedstock properties

  • Role of water in wet processes

  • Description of low temperature thermochemical conversion processes
    - Hydrothermal liquefaction
    - Hydrothermal carbonization
    - Torrefaction

  • Barriers to implementation of these processes



Dr. Nicole Berge is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Carolina. She received her BS and MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of South Carolina in 1999 and 2001, respectively. She received her PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Central Florida in 2006. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of South Carolina, Dr. Berge worked as a postdoctoral associate at Tufts University. She is a co-leader of the IWWG task group on “Engineered Nanomaterials in Waste” and an IWWG board member. Dr. Berge's research focuses on improving our understanding of how physical, chemical, and biological processes can be manipulated to promote sustainable waste treatment techniques that lead to carbon sequestration, energy generation, and/or value-added product production. Specific areas of exploration include: the fate of disposed nanomaterials, pharmaceuticals, personal care products and endocrine disrupting compounds in bioreactor landfills; thermochemical conversion of municipal solid waste; increasing the energy yield from waste streams; resource recovery from waste streams; leachate treatment processes; and the development and subsequent evaluation of innovative groundwater remediation technologies.