As a part of my masters research, I designed and constructed a hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) system to convert a continuous flow of biomass slurry into a crude oil. It is one of the only continuous HTL systems in the country. The system converts biomass into biocrude using high temperatures and pressures that cause the breakdown and reformation of hydrocarbons. The conversion is optimized by achieving specific heating rates, set point temperatures and residence times. This design allows for precise control of these parameters. The system was purchased by a small company for demonstration and initial testing.
I created a MATLAB model to simulate the pressures, heating rates and temperatures in the system in order to select the proper equipment and dimensions of the system. I then used a SolidWorks model to generate drawings and a bill of materials for construction.