This paper emphasizes the engineering aspects of supercritical water oxidation (SCWO), including organic destruction, inorganic solubility, corrosion, catalysis, heat transfer, and treatability studies. The development program involving a 2.5 liter-per-minute SCWO pilot-plant is described. Also, design considerations for the commercial SCWO processing facility, including materials of construction, reactor design, heat recovery, control strategy, safety requirements, and process integration are discussed.

The University of Texas at Austin (UT) and Eco Waste Technologies (EWT), respectively, are involved in research and development of SCWO technology. This R&D effort has resulted in the design and construction of a commercial SCWO processing facility for the Texaco Chemical Company located in Austin, Texas. The facility will become operational in early 1994.

SCWO technology relies on the unique properties of supercritical water to create a useful and effective reaction medium. The SCWO system is capable of operating as a totally enclosed treatment facility, providing complete destruction, and meeting regulatory effluent requirements. As such, this technology is an environmentally attractive, safe and economic wastewater treatment and sludge disposal option.

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