Reactor for Continuous Hydrothermal Treatment of Wet Biomass

Case ID:



Since the dawn of modern dairy farming, two problems have plagued the industry: excess of manure, and lack of energy. A dairy of 800 cows can produce something close to 48 tons of manure per day, and without having a farm attached to the dairy, that manure has nowhere to go. That same dairy requires close to $80,000 worth of energy to process milk from those same cows. This invention is a design for a reactor that uses a new method of hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) to make biogas that can be completed in under five minutes, unlike the current conversion method (Anaerobic Digestion) that can take twenty to sixty days and leaves a huge footprint.



The conversion of biomass to biogas involves treating the wet waste with hot, compressed water. This is accomplished with the invented reactor, which consists of a feed chamber, a high pressure pump, a vertical reaction chamber with an immersion heater, a cooling chamber, and finally, a receiving tank. The reactor size and slurry feed allows for control of reaction time. 



  • This method is on average 10,000 times faster than anaerobic digestion which means a smaller reactor.
  • Wastewater and manure are handled together for flexible operation.
  • Thermochemical operation means robust operation and sterile effluent.
  • This makes it cheap to transfer dairy manure to energy, saving dairy farmers money


Patent & Publications:






Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Shannon Sheehan
Manager, Technology Commercialization
University of Nevada, Reno
Charles Coronella
Mohammad Reza
Reza (Alireza) Shekarriz