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Energies 2014, 7(1), 62-79; doi:10.3390/en7010062
Article

Analysis of Solid and Aqueous Phase Products from Hydrothermal Carbonization of Whole and Lipid-Extracted Algae

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Received: 30 October 2013 / Revised: 11 December 2013 / Accepted: 18 December 2013 / Published: 30 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Algae Fuel 2013)
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Abstract

Microalgae have tremendous potential as a feedstock for production of liquid biofuels, particularly biodiesel fuel via transesterification of algal lipids. However, biodiesel production results in significant amounts of algal residues, or “lipid extracted algae” (LEA). Suitable utilization of the LEA residue will improve the economics of algal biodiesel. In the present study, we evaluate the hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) of whole and lipid extracted algal (Spirulina maxima) feedstocks in order to produce a solid biofuel (hydrochar) and value-added co-products in the aqueous phase. HTC experiments were performed using a 2-L Parr reactor (batch type) at 175–215 °C with a 30-min holding time. Solid, aqueous and gaseous products were analyzed using various laboratory methods to evaluate the mass and carbon balances, and investigate the existence of high value chemicals in the aqueous phase. The HTC method is effective in creating an energy dense, solid hydrochar from both whole algae and LEA at lower temperatures as compared to lignocellulosic feedstocks, and is effective at reducing the ash content in the resulting hydrochar. However, under the treatment temperatures investigated, less than 1% of the starting dry algae mass was recovered as an identified high-value chemical in the aqueous phase.
Keywords: hydrothermal carbonization; HTC; algae; lipid extracted algae; LEA; bio-chemicals; ash hydrothermal carbonization; HTC; algae; lipid extracted algae; LEA; bio-chemicals; ash
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Broch, A.; Jena, U.; Hoekman, S.K.; Langford, J. Analysis of Solid and Aqueous Phase Products from Hydrothermal Carbonization of Whole and Lipid-Extracted Algae. Energies 2014, 7, 62-79.

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