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Production of Biocrude Oil from Microalgae via Thermochemical Liquefaction Process

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Bioenergy Engineering, 11-14 October 2009, Bellevue, Washington  BIO-098024.(doi:10.13031/2013.28878)
Authors:   Umakanta Jena, Keshav C Das
Keywords:   Biofuel, Thermochemical liquefaction, Biocrude oil, microalgae, biomass, Bioenergy

The current research is inline with enhancing the national energy security through production of biocrude oil from microalgae in an environmental friendly conversion process. Thermochemical liquefaction experiments have been conducted to study the feasibility of biocrude oil production from spirulina platensis, identify the optimum operating conditions, and investigate the possibility of production of other value added products. The independent parameters of the experiment were temperature, organic solid concentration, reaction time and catalytic conditions. Yield of bio-crude, product distribution and the conversion efficiency were monitored. Results have shown that about 30-48% of biocrude oil could be produced from algal biomass. The bio-crude thus obtained was reportedly having fuel properties close to that of the petroleum based heavy oil and had an energy value of 30-36 MJ/kg (42 MJ/kg for petroleum crude oil). Qualitative analyses of bio-crude oil have shown higher carbon compounds (C8-C17), phenolic compounds, carboxylic acids, amines, and aromatic compounds as the major components of bio-oil. The distribution of various products were 30-48% bio-oil, 20-40% gas, 3-8% solid residue and the balance consisted of value added products such as formate, acetate and ethanol dissolved in the aqueous phase. The outputs of the research will be beneficial in providing information in developing microalgae based biofuel technology.

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