Thermaquatica is commercializing a proprietary and patented technology for processing coal, biomass, tar sands, and oil shales to high value platform chemicals and liquid fuels. The method, known as Oxidative Hydrothermal Dissolution (OHD) is simple, using only hot (subcritical) liquid water and oxygen to break down macromolecular organic materials (such as biomass, agricultural waste, coal and other solid organics) into their constituent aromatic and aliphatic compounds. The OHD process can also be used for environmental remediation of organic-containing sites, such as oil sands tailings and coal waste ponds.
This modular, environmentally–friendly process produces very little CO2, giving the technology a low carbon footprint. OHD requires no pre-treatment of the feed, or additional catalysts, enzymes or solvents (other than water). The OHD bioliquor can be used as a fulvate-type biostimulant and soil enhancer, and high-value, platform biochemicals can also be recovered as saleable products through an add-on option to the main conversion process. The product suite depends on the choice of feedstock and the process conditions.
Thermaquatica’s goal is to use OHD technology to produce chemicals similar or identical to petroleum-derived products, using low-cost alternative raw materials such as biomass or coal. The resulting products can be sold as fine chemicals, used in manufacturing of biodegradable plastics and polymers, and/or converted to liquid fuels.
The OHD technology is described in more detail on the Technology tab from the menu above, and the process is also described in a short video clip in the Media section.