Comparison of biocrude oil production from self-settling and non-settling microalgae biomass produced in the Qatari desert environment
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The present study investigated the growth, harvesting, biocrude conversion, and recycling of the HTL aqueous phase for one self-settling (i.e., Chlorocystis sp.) and another non-settling (i.e., Picochlorum sp.) marine microalgae. Both the strains were grown simultaneously in 2 identical 25,000-L raceway ponds in the Qatari desert. The cell size of Picochlorum sp. was small (2–3 µm), and its biomass was harvested using a centrifuge. Cells of Chlorocystis sp. (6–9 µm) formed flocs that settled spontaneously in a sedimentation chamber. Harvested biomass of these two strains was then converted to biocrude oil, using a 500-mL Parr reactor. The biocrude yield of Picochlorum sp. and Chlorocystis sp. was 39.6 ± 1.15% and 34.8 ± 1.65%, respectively. The energy content of the biocrude oil was 32.78 and 33.38 MJ/kg for Chlorocystis sp. and Picochlorum sp., respectively. Both the strains were capable of efficiently utilizing more than 95% nitrogen of the HTL aqueous phase. Although lower biocrude yield was obtained from Chlorocystis sp., compared to Picochlorum sp., harvesting of Chlorocystis sp. would require much lower energy compared to Picochlorum sp. Therefore, a self-settling microalgae (e.g., Chlorocystis sp.) could potentially be a better candidate, over non-settling microalgae, for producing biofuel feedstock.
- Center for Sustainable Development Research [107 items ]