Catalytic hydrothermal gasification of algae for hydrogen production: Composition of reaction products and potential for nutrient recycling

Jude A. Onwudili*, Amanda R. Lea-Langton, Andrew B. Ross, Paul T. Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Chlorella vulgaris, Spirulina platensis and Saccharina latissima were processed under supercritical water gasification conditions at 500°C, 36MPa in an Inconel batch reactor for 30min in the presence/absence of NaOH and/or Ni-Al2O3. Hydrogen gas yields were more than two times higher in the presence of NaOH than in its absence and tar yields were reduced by up to 71%. Saccharina, a carbohydrate-rich macro-alga, gave the highest hydrogen gas yields of 15.1mol/kg. The tars from all three algae contained aromatic compounds, including phenols, alkyl benzenes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as well as heterocyclic nitrogen compounds. Tars from Chlorella and Spirulina contained high yields of pyridines, pyrroles, indoles and pyrimidines. Up to 97% TOC removal were achieved in the process waters from the gasification of the algae. Analyses for specific nutrients in the process waters indicated that the process waters from Saccharina could potentially be used for microalgae cultivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-80
Number of pages9
JournalBioresource Technology
Volume127
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

Keywords

  • Algae
  • Catalysis
  • Hydrogen
  • Hydrothermal gasification
  • Nutrient recycling

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