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Making biocrude and nutrients from algae

By Paul Grad |

The hydrothermal liquefaction of algae has been the subject of many studies because algae exhibit high photosynthetic activity and growth rate compared to other biomass, leading to increased CO2 absorption. The algae can grow in a wide variety of water resources and have a high moisture content that is suitable for use in the process of hydrothermal liquefaction. Most of the previous studies have been carried out in a batch reactor. Now, researchers from Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok; www.chula.ac.th) and the PTT Research and Technology Institute (Wangnoi, both Thailand; www.pttplc.com) have studied the biocrude oil yield and nutrient recovery from Coelastrum algae by a two-step hydrothermal liquefaction process using a semi-continuous reactor. The semi-continuous system is said to avoid thermal decomposition of the product while improving the flexibility in the process. The study was carried out using design of experiments (DoE), based on a response surface methodology and 2k factorial design, to study the influence of the operating temperature, pressure and water flowrate. It also compared the product distribution obtained from the two-step process with that obtained from the one-step process. The best conditions for biocrude…
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