Biocrude oil produced from wastewater treatment sludge

Society produces a lot of waste and finding ways to manage and reuse it has been a robust industry for decades. Now Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, WA has developed a new process called hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) that breaks down the sewer sludge into chemical compounds with similar properties as crude oil.  The biocrude can then be refined just like the oil we pump out of the ground. The HTL process eliminates the need for drying the sewage before processing which has not proven to be cost-effective.  Even the liquids and small amount of solids left after the HTL process have been found to have uses in fertilization and other chemical products. Read more about PNNL’s biocrude technology at

Washington State research institutions are in the forefront of sustainable and green energy technologies. Washington State University, PNNL and the University of Washington, along with many green tech private companies are finding ways to use alternate materials and methods to create cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. You can also read a recent post about WSU’s current effort to analyze the market potential for biowaste fuels.

To learn more about green energy technology initiatives in Washington State contact

Photos courtesy of PNNL and WE&RF.