Thermal hydrolysis

What is thermal hydrolysis?

Cambi’s thermal hydrolysis processes are at the heart of advanced treatment of sewage sludge and bio-degradable waste, whether planning new or upgrading existing wastewater treatment, food waste or co-digestion projects. Conventional problems are reduced, and the material itself becomes a truly valuable resource. Through Cambi’s well tested processes, material and energy recovery is lifted to a whole new level, while minimizing the amount of end-product & maximizing its quality. The results are reduced operational costs and problems turned into products.

Why change?

Today’s conventional wastewater treatment come with plenty of unresolved issues and problems:

  • Space constraints
  • Poor and variable biogas production
  • Smelly end-product with low stability
  • Large volumes of dewatered digestate of poor quality
  • Operational instability and digester foaming
  • High costs for transport, landfilling, drying and/or incineration
  • Not fulfilling regulatory requirements regarding end-product quality
  • High carbon footprint and poor energy efficiency

Why advanced treatment of organic waste?

In modern WWTPs, sludge treatment and disposal can account > 50% of operating costs. Today’s leading utilities therefore have a holistic view of water, wastewater and sludge treatment, where they:

  • reuse of treated wastewater reduces the need for potable water
  • remove pathogens from treated wastewater and sludge
  • dramatically cut energy use, operating costs & carbon emissions through advanced sludge treatment, helping them finance improved wastewater treatment
  • often consider incineration and drying, further increasing treatment costs
  • recover nutrients from return liquors from dewatering of digestate, and treat it with energy-efficient new technologies
  • maximize energy production and product recovery

Why Cambi's thermal hydrolysis processes?

Through more than 20 years of addressing these challenges, Cambi has:

  • Unmatched track record, treating sludge & food-waste from >60 mill. p.e. on 5 continents
  • Unparalleled process stability and availability
  • Double disintegration technology: thermal hydrolysis + high pressure-drop (steam explosion), maximizing biogas production and digester loading
  • Continuous process with multiple Sequencing Batch Hydrolysis Reactors (SBHR)
  • Low pressure feeding, with long pump lifetimes and minimized electricity consumption
  • Highly energy-efficient process, with internal recycling of steam
  • Efficient, integrated & enclosed odour treatment
  • Standardized and modular design: fast installation and quick access to spare parts



Advanced Anaerobic Digestion, using sludge conditioning processes to speed up and improve the AD process, improve dewatering and quality of digestate


Sludge or biodegradable waste having been processed by Anarobic Digestion


Thermal Hydrolysis (Process), for pressure-cooking of organic material to improve AD


Waste / Surplus activated sludge


Anaerobic Digestion


Sludge or biodegradable waste having been processed by Anaerobic Digestion

Activated Sludge

Common biological treatment process for wastewater


Organic waste materials that are not sewage sludge. Usually referring to food waste from households, restaurants, grocery stores, etc.

Food waste

Food discarded or lost uneaten. The causes of food waste or loss are numerous, and occur at the stages of production, processing, retailing and consumption.