skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Development of Bio-Oil Commodity Fuel as a Refinery Feedstock from High Impact Algae Biomass

Abstract

A two-stage hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) process was developed to 1) reduce nitrogen levels in algal oil, 2) generate a nitrogen rich stream with limited inhibitors for recycle and algae cultivation, and 3) improve downstream catalytic hydrodenitrogenation and hydrodeoxygenation of the algal oil to refinery intermediates. In the first stage, low temperature HTL was conducted at 125, 175, and 225°C at holding times ranging from 1 to 30 min (time at reaction temperature). A consortium of three algal strains, namely Chlorella sorokiniana, Chlorella minutissima, and Scenedesmus bijuga were used to grow and harvest biomass in a raceway system – this consortium is called the UGA Raceway strain throughout the report. Subsequent analysis of the final harvested product indicated that only two strains predominated in the final harvest - Chlorella sorokiniana and Scenedesmus bijuga. Two additional strains representing a high protein (Spirulina platensis) and high lipid algae (Nannochloropsis) strains were also used in this study. These strains were purchased from suppliers. S. platensis biomass was provided by Earthrise Nutritionals LLC (Calipatria, CA) in dry powder form with defined properties, and was stored in airtight packages at 4°C prior to use. A Nannochloropsis paste from Reed Mariculture was purchased and used in themore » two-stage HTL/HDO experiments. The solids and liquids from this low temperature HTL pretreatment step were separated and analyzed, leading to the following conclusions. Overall, these results indicate that low temperature HTL (200-250°C) at short residence times (5-15 min) can be used to lyse algae cells and remove/separate protein and nitrogen before subsequent higher temperature HTL (for lipid and other polymer hydrolysis) and HDO. The significant reduction in nitrogen when coupled with low protein/high lipid algae cultivation methods at scale could significantly improve downstream catalytic HDO results. However, significant barriers and knowledge gaps exist that must be overcome and understood. The ability of the separated protein/nitrogen rich aqueous stream to support algae cultivation needs to be verified (and the kinetics of growth measured). The kinetics of algae hydrothermal liquefaction on a mechanistic basis needs to be measured and understood. A better understanding of Maillard reactions during algae HTL is needed. And the impact of Maillard reaction products and incompletely hydrolyzed cell wall components on catalyst deactivation during HDO needs to be understood. Finally, an inexpensive HDO process and associated catalyst capable of converting the algal oil to hydrocarbons needs to be developed.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [2]
  1. Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA (United States). Dept. of Biochemical Engineering
  2. Desert Research Inst. (DRI), Reno, NV (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
OSTI Identifier:
1344769
Report Number(s):
DE-EE0006201
DOE Contract Number:
EE0006201
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS

Citation Formats

Kastner, James, Mani, Sudhagar, Das, K. C., Hilten, Roger, and Jena, Umakanta. Development of Bio-Oil Commodity Fuel as a Refinery Feedstock from High Impact Algae Biomass. United States: N. p., 2014. Web. doi:10.2172/1344769.
Kastner, James, Mani, Sudhagar, Das, K. C., Hilten, Roger, & Jena, Umakanta. Development of Bio-Oil Commodity Fuel as a Refinery Feedstock from High Impact Algae Biomass. United States. doi:10.2172/1344769.
Kastner, James, Mani, Sudhagar, Das, K. C., Hilten, Roger, and Jena, Umakanta. 2014. "Development of Bio-Oil Commodity Fuel as a Refinery Feedstock from High Impact Algae Biomass". United States. doi:10.2172/1344769. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1344769.
@article{osti_1344769,
title = {Development of Bio-Oil Commodity Fuel as a Refinery Feedstock from High Impact Algae Biomass},
author = {Kastner, James and Mani, Sudhagar and Das, K. C. and Hilten, Roger and Jena, Umakanta},
abstractNote = {A two-stage hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) process was developed to 1) reduce nitrogen levels in algal oil, 2) generate a nitrogen rich stream with limited inhibitors for recycle and algae cultivation, and 3) improve downstream catalytic hydrodenitrogenation and hydrodeoxygenation of the algal oil to refinery intermediates. In the first stage, low temperature HTL was conducted at 125, 175, and 225°C at holding times ranging from 1 to 30 min (time at reaction temperature). A consortium of three algal strains, namely Chlorella sorokiniana, Chlorella minutissima, and Scenedesmus bijuga were used to grow and harvest biomass in a raceway system – this consortium is called the UGA Raceway strain throughout the report. Subsequent analysis of the final harvested product indicated that only two strains predominated in the final harvest - Chlorella sorokiniana and Scenedesmus bijuga. Two additional strains representing a high protein (Spirulina platensis) and high lipid algae (Nannochloropsis) strains were also used in this study. These strains were purchased from suppliers. S. platensis biomass was provided by Earthrise Nutritionals LLC (Calipatria, CA) in dry powder form with defined properties, and was stored in airtight packages at 4°C prior to use. A Nannochloropsis paste from Reed Mariculture was purchased and used in the two-stage HTL/HDO experiments. The solids and liquids from this low temperature HTL pretreatment step were separated and analyzed, leading to the following conclusions. Overall, these results indicate that low temperature HTL (200-250°C) at short residence times (5-15 min) can be used to lyse algae cells and remove/separate protein and nitrogen before subsequent higher temperature HTL (for lipid and other polymer hydrolysis) and HDO. The significant reduction in nitrogen when coupled with low protein/high lipid algae cultivation methods at scale could significantly improve downstream catalytic HDO results. However, significant barriers and knowledge gaps exist that must be overcome and understood. The ability of the separated protein/nitrogen rich aqueous stream to support algae cultivation needs to be verified (and the kinetics of growth measured). The kinetics of algae hydrothermal liquefaction on a mechanistic basis needs to be measured and understood. A better understanding of Maillard reactions during algae HTL is needed. And the impact of Maillard reaction products and incompletely hydrolyzed cell wall components on catalyst deactivation during HDO needs to be understood. Finally, an inexpensive HDO process and associated catalyst capable of converting the algal oil to hydrocarbons needs to be developed.},
doi = {10.2172/1344769},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2014,
month =
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share:
  • This report, Uniform-Format Solid Feedstock Supply System: A Commodity-Scale Design to Produce an Infrastructure-Compatible Bulk Solid from Lignocellulosic Biomass, prepared by Idaho National Laboratory (INL), acknowledges the need and provides supportive designs for an evolutionary progression from present day conventional bale-based supply systems to a uniform-format, bulk solid supply system that transitions incrementally as the industry launches and matures. These designs couple to and build from current state of technology and address science and engineering constraints that have been identified by rigorous sensitivity analyses as having the greatest impact on feedstock supply system efficiencies and costs.
  • DOE Award # EE0000393 was awarded to fund research into the development of beneficial uses of surplus algal biomass and the byproducts of biofuel production. At the time of award, Sapphire’s intended fuel production pathway was a fairly conventional extraction of lipids from biomass, resulting in a defatted residue which could be processed using anaerobic digestion. Over the lifetime of the award, we conducted extensive development work and arrived at the conclusion that anaerobic digestion presented significant technical challenges for this high-nitrogen, high-ash, and low carbon material. Over the same timeframe, Sapphire’s fuel production efforts came to focus on hydrothermalmore » liquefaction. As a result of this technology focus, the residue from fuel production became unsuitable for either anaerobic digestion (or animal feed uses). Finally, we came to appreciate the economic opportunity that the defatted biomass could represent in the animal feed space, as well as understanding the impact of seasonal production on a biofuels extraction plant, and sought to develop uses for surplus biomass produced in excess of the fuel production unit’s capacity.« less
  • The potential for producing biofuels from algae has generated much excitement based on projections of large oil yields with relatively little land use. However, numerous technical challenges remain for achieving market parity with conventional non-renewable liquid fuel sources. Among these challenges, the energy intensive requirements of traditional cell rupture, lipid extraction, and residuals fractioning of microalgae biomass have posed significant challenges to the nascent field of algal biotechnology. Our novel approach to address these problems was to employ low cost solution-state methods and biochemical engineering to eliminate the need for extensive hardware and energy intensive methods for cell rupture, carbohydratemore » and protein solubilization and hydrolysis, and fuel product recovery using consolidated bioprocessing strategies. The outcome of the biochemical deconstruction and conversion process consists of an emulsion of algal lipids and mixed alcohol products from carbohydrate and protein fermentation for co-extraction or in situ transesterification.« less
  • Ever since it was demonstrated that Jatropha seed oil could be converted into a world class biodiesel and could run in unmodified stationary and mobile diesel engines with simultaneous reduction in emissions, it caught the attention of the world. The capability to grow this crop on wastelands added to its attractiveness. However, the single biggest challenge came in the form of the availability of adequate feed stock in the form of the Jatropha fruit. Adequacy of feed stock can only be possible if large plantations are cultivated and produce enough fruit. The people, world over, jumped into Jatropha cultivation withoutmore » heeding to the need to first ensure quality germplasm and understand the agronomic requirements of the plants. As a result many plantations failed to give the required yield. CSIR-CSMCRI had been researching Jatropha and had an end-to-end approach, i.e., it developed the best technology to prepare biodiesel and also worked towards the practical problems that it envisaged to be important for raising Jatropha productivity. It focused only on cultivation on wastelands as this was the only practical strategy, given the limited arable land India has and the risk of food security for the burgeoning population. While working in this direction, the Institute zeroed-in on a few germplasm, which gave consistently higher seed yield over several years. These germplasm were clonally propagated in large numbers to be raised in experimental plantations at different geographical locations in India. Many agronomic practices were developed as a part of these different projects. It was at this juncture that General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy joined hands with CSIR-CSMCRI to further the work on Jatropha. A center of expertise for Jatropha was established and work was initiated to further refine the understanding regarding the best practices. Efforts were to be made to generate primary data, hitherto unavailable for wastelands, on which life cycle assessment studies were to be performed as a part of the project.« less