Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Sludge to Activated-Carbon Product Development (ST7653-1)

City College of New York


New York City generates about 150,000 dry tons of biosolids per year, equivalent to about 50% of the total biosolids produced in NYS. In NYC the biosolids are dewatered or pelletized and shipped great distances for land application. Pyrolysis, under certain conditions, has produced char with greater absorptive capacity for hydrogen sulfide than some commercially available activated carbon, but little is known about the factors that enhance absorption. The CUNY research team has experience with absorption phenomena, and is supported by the NYCDEP, Synagro and VTEC to find alternate uses for biosolids.

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Project Description

Develop new activated-carbon absorbent/catalysts from sewage sludge that are effective in removing hydrogen sulfide. Objectives include learning the relationship between pyrolysis parameters and surface chemical and physical features that enhance performance, determining the pollutant removal mechanism, and optimizing energy requirements. The project is consistent with Environmental R&D product development, and wastewater treatment program areas.


One benefit is development of a useful product from sewage sludge. The increased porosity of the sludge-derived activated carbon can reduce power and energy demand for pollution control, as well as increase the efficiency of removing acidic and non-acidic compounds in odor control technology used at wastewater treatment plants. Product sale is the prospective metric.

Project Results

Although the performance of the pyrolyzed sludge product could be improved with respect to hydrogen sulfide and VOC removal, there was little interest in further commercial development. The New York Organic Fertilizer Company, (NYOFCO), provided sludge pellets, but was not interested in pursuing the emissions control market.


City College of New York
535 East 80th Street
New York, NY 10075

Principle Investigator

Teresa Bandosz

Universities Involved

City College of New York


Project Type:

Research Study

Technologies Types:

Industrial Products

NYSERDA Contact Information

Barry Liebowitz


R&D -Transport & Power Systems

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST7653-1

Last Updated: 6/28/2013