​Advances in Thermal Hydrolysis

It was interesting to see thermal hydrolysis being researched at Washington State University being presented as a new and novel process (TPO, July 2023, Sustainable Operations, “Getting More from Digestion”). 

There are many thermal hydrolysis pretreatment (THP) processes on the market, most notably Cambi, but including other names such as PONDUS, Lystek, and Terranova. Cambi has been used extensively in Europe and now is used in many plants in the U.S. including Washington, D.C. I did not see what is new with this research.

Research on thermal pretreatment goes back many years. In the 1970s and 1980s Roger Haug with Los Angeles County and Perry McCarty published articles in the Water Pollution Control Federation research journal on pilot testing and full-scale testing on the benefits of high-temperature pretreatment ahead of anaerobic digestion.

Benefits were the same as described in the TPO article and can be derived from the current THP systems on the market. It seems it would have been quite beneficial for your reader operators to describe in an article like this the options which are already available and are proven processes. Thank you for your consistently good magazine.


Steve Reusser, Adjunct Professor

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Civil and Environmental Engineering


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