Continuous hydrothermal liquefaction of macroalgae in the presence of organic co-solvents

He, Yaya, Liang, Xiao, Jazrawi, Christopher, Montoya, Alejandro, Yuen, Alexander, Cole, Andrew J., Neveux, Nicolas, Paul, Nicholas A., de Nys, Rocky, Maschmeyer, Thomas, and Haynes, Brian S. (2016) Continuous hydrothermal liquefaction of macroalgae in the presence of organic co-solvents. Algal Research, 17. pp. 185-195.

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Abstract

This paper examines the use of organic co-solvent (n-heptane, toluene and anisole, up to 10 wt.%) in the hydrothermal liquefaction of macroalgal biomass as a means of achieving in situ fractionation of the biocrude product according to polarity. The filamentous freshwater macroalga Oedogonium was grown under nutrient-depleted conditions to achieve a low nitrogen content, 1.1 wt.% N. Its hydrothermal liquefaction in a continuous pilot plant reactor (300-350 degrees C, 3-5min and 2-5 wt.% loadings) yielded up to 25 wt.% (dry ash-free basis, daf) extractable biocrude. More severe conditions led to biocrudes in higher yields, with reduced oxygen and slightly increased nitrogen contents, and with lower viscosity. The presence of co-solvents had little effect on the total biocrude yield but gave rise to in situ separation of the biocrude into distinct fractions associated with the organic phase (designated solvent oil) and the aqueous phase (designated DCM oil). The amount of solvent oil produced exceeded the amount that could be extracted at room temperature, by that solvent, from the product mixture obtained in the absence of co-solvent. The relative proportions and properties of the solvent and DCM fractions varied with the polarity of the co-solvent. Anisole co-solvent dissolved nearly all the biocrude and the resulting viscous oil was similar to that obtained without co-solvent. On the other hand, solvent oil produced with n-heptane (similar to 7.4wt.% daf yield, or similar to 37% of the total biocrude) had significantly reduced levels of nitrogen (1.1wt.%) and oxygen (12.5 wt.%) and possessed relatively low viscosity. Toluene co-solvent HTL produced a solvent oil with intermediate yield and properties. Co-solvent HTL offers a simple and effective means of fractionating HTL biocrude on the basis of polarity. A non-polar co-solvent such as n-heptane produces an enhanced product fraction more suitable for hydrotreating than the mixed product obtained without co-solvent.

Item ID: 45490
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: nutrient-depleted macroalgae, hydrothermal liquefaction, continuous process scaling, organic co-solvent, biocrude fractionation
ISSN: 2211-9264
Funders: Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF), Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), High Energy Algal Fuels Program, MBD Energy, Advanced Manufacturing CRC (AMCRC)
Projects and Grants: SIEF RP03-028, ARENA 002369, AMCRC DP109602
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2016 07:36
FoR Codes: 03 CHEMICAL SCIENCES > 0305 Organic Chemistry > 030504 Organic Green Chemistry @ 100%
SEO Codes: 85 ENERGY > 8505 Renewable Energy > 850501 Biofuel (Biomass) Energy @ 100%
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