Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is a promising biomass conversion method that can be incorporated into a biorefinery paradigm for simultaneous production of fuels, aqueous fertilisers and potential remediation of municipal or mariculture effluents. HTL of aquatic crops, such as marine macro- or microalgae, has significant potential for the UK owing to its extensive coastline. As such, macroalgae present a particularly promising feedstock for future UK biofuel production. This study aimed to bridge the gaps between previous accounts of macroalgal HTL by carrying out a more comprehensive screen of a number of species from all three major macroalgae classes, and examining the correlations between biomass biochemical composition and HTL reactivity. HTL was used to process thirteen South West UK macroalgae species from all three major classes (Chlorophyceae, Heterokontophyceae and Rhodophyceae) to produce bio-crude oil, a bio-char, gas and aqueous phase products. Chlorophyceae of the genus Ulva generated the highest bio-crude yields (up to 29.9 % for U. lactuca). Aqueous phase phosphate concentrations of up to 236 mg L-1 were observed, obtained from the Rhodophyta, S. chordalis. Across the 13 samples, a correlation between increasing biomass lipids and increasing bio-crude yield was observed, as well as an increase in biomass nitrogen generally contributing to bio-crude nitrogen content. A broader range of macroalgae species has been examined than in any study previously and, by processing using identical conditions across all feedstocks, has enabled a more cohesive assessment of the effects of biochemical composition.
- Hydrothermal liquefaction
- Department of Chemical Engineering - Professor
- Reaction and Catalysis Engineering research unit (RaCE)
- Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies (CSCT)
- Water Innovation and Research Centre (WIRC)
- Centre for Integrated Bioprocessing Research (CIBR)
Person: Research & Teaching