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Microwave-enhanced pyrolysis of natural algae from water blooms

Zhang, Rui, Li, Linling, Tong, Dongmei, Hu, Changwei
Bioresource technology 2016 v.212 pp. 311-317
activated carbon, algae, biofuels, carbon dioxide, catalysts, decarboxylation, energy, hydrocarbons, long chain fatty acids, metals, microwave treatment, particle size, pyrolysis
Microwave-enhanced pyrolysis (MEP) of natural algae under different reaction conditions was carried out. The optimal conditions for bio-oil production were the following: algae particle size of 20-5 mesh, microwave power of 600W, and 10% of activated carbon as microwave absorber and catalyst. The maximum liquid yield obtained under N2, 10% H2/Ar, and CO2 atmosphere was 49.1%, 51.7%, and 54.3% respectively. The energy yield of bio-products was 216.7%, 236.9% and 208.7% respectively. More long chain fatty acids were converted into hydrocarbons by hydrodeoxygenation under 10% H2/Ar atmosphere assisted by microwave over activated carbon containing small amounts of metals. Under CO2 atmosphere, carboxylic acids (66.6%) were the main products in bio-oil because the existence of CO2 vastly inhibited the decarboxylation. The MEP of algae was quick and efficient for bio-oil production, which provided a way to not only ameliorate the environment but also obtain fuel or chemicals at the same time.