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Supercritical water oxidation to be used to treat sewage in Third World countries

June 27, 2013

Technology developed at the University of Missouri-Columbia may someday improve sanitation in third world countries. Professor Bill Jacoby and his Carbon Recycling Center received funding from the Mizzou Advantage Sustainable Energy initiative.

Story and photo by:  Jan Wiese-Fales

University of Missouri Professor William “Bill” Jacoby’s Carbon Recycling Center has been examining the use of supercritical water to process biomass and other wastes. A collaborative project, the research is led by Marc Deshusses, professor of environmental engineering at Duke University, who turned to Jacoby’s lab when he was looking for a suitable collaborator for his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded project, “Neighborhood-Scale Treatment of Fecal Sludge by Supercritical Water Oxidation.”

“We had published five or six papers on supercritical water gasification,” said Jacoby, who holds joint appointments in biological and chemical engineering at MU. “Marc was searching for technical help in a similar area, and he came across our published work.”

The project is part of the Gates Foundation’s water, sanitation, and hygiene strategy, which, among other things, aims to develop new technologies for sanitation in countries where no wastewater treatment facilities exist. Developed technologies need to be effective in communities with limited water supply and no existing sanitation infrastructure. 

In addition to providing their supercritical water oxidation expertise, the MU arm of the research project is tasked with design, fabrication, and operation of a process development unit to determine design parameters for a larger prototype unit, which will be built at Duke.  See more…

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