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Catalytic pyrolysis of Tetraselmis and Isochrysis microalgae by nickel ceria based catalysts for hydrocarbon production

Aysu, Tevfik, Abd Rahman, Nur Adilah, Sanna, Aimaro
Energy 2016 v.103 pp. 205-214
Isochrysis, Tetraselmis, biofuels, catalysts, energy, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, microalgae, nickel, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, oxygen, pyrolysis
The catalytic pyrolysis of Tetraselmis sp. and Isochrysis sp. was carried out over ceria based catalysts in a fixed bed reactor. There was a clear effect of the catalysts on the product yields and quality, with the catalysts able to recover a large fraction of the starting microalgae energy (67–77%) in the bio-oils. Bio-oil yield was found to be higher in presence of Ni–Ce/Al2O3 and Ni–Ce/ZrO2 (26 wt.%). The produced bio-oils had HHVs (higher heating values) of 34–35 MJ/kg and suffered strong deoxygenation, with O level decreased from 40–41% in the starting microalgae to 9–15%. Also, 15–20% N removal was obtained using the ceria based catalysts. The oxygen contents in the bio-oils were remarkably lower than those previously obtained using ZSM-5 (25%) and other species without catalyst (17–24%). ¹H NMR and GC–MS analysis showed that the bio-oils were enriched in aliphatics and depleted in N-compounds and water using the ceria based catalysts.