Argonne National Laboratory

Novel Processing of Waste Streams for Fuels and Co-products

The prospect of converting wastes like sludge from municipal wastewater treatment plants to valuable fuels is an exciting prospect and Argonne scientists are contributing to this technology through examination of anaerobic digestion of this sludge and other waste materials to produce pipeline-quality biogas and hydrocarbon precursors (lipids with hydrocarbon chains in the diesel and aviation fuel range). This biogas could be used as a substitute for natural gas or converted to fuels and chemicals and qualifies as a cellulosic biofuel under the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard. Biogas is competitive even in a depressed natural gas market. Other waste-to-energy research at Argonne includes analysis of processes to convert municipal solid waste to biofuels, examining the environmental impacts of the resulting fuel as compared to conventional fuels.