(758a) Renewable Transportation Fuel Production from Algal Biocrude Oil Converted Via Hydrothermal Liquefaction

Authors: 
Wu, Z., University of Illinois
Zhang, Y., University of Illinois
The goal of this project is to understand the properties of biocrude oil converted from Spirulina (SP), which can thrive in wastewater. Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is a promising technology to convert wet biowaste into biocrude oil. Under high temperature and high pressure, HTL technology uses water in biomass as an excellent solvent and catalyst to break down and reform organic materials into biocrude oil products. Our previous study showed that the biocrude oil converted from wet biowaste via HTL contains comparable heating values (HHV) to that of petroleum crude oil. However, due to the lack of up-scaled production and proper separation of HTL biocrode oil, the application of HTL biocrude oil is limited.

In this study, the biocrude oil converted from Spirulina is separated into different fractions by the distillation process. The preliminary distillation test shows that 35-40 wt.% of HTL algal biocrude oil can be distilled at about 175 °C, indicating that the HTL algal biofuel is promising to be used as transportation fuels including kerosene and diesel. In addition, compared to other types of HTL biocrude oil, it is noticed that 25 wt.% and 10 wt.% of the biocrude oil converted from swine manure and food processing waste is respectively distilled at around 175 °C. This also suggests that the HTL algal biocrude contains compounds with lower boiling points.

Detailed physicochemical characterizations, such as acidity, viscosity, boiling point distribution, and chemical composition are examined by the viscometer, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), CHN Analyzer, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The physicochemical properties of the distillates are also compared to those of petroleum transportation fuel, such as jet fuel and diesel, and those of HTL biocrude oil converted from other biomass, such as swine manure and food processing waste.