394824 Biofuels: Conversion of Microalgae to Diesel

Monday, November 17, 2014
Galleria Exhibit Hall (Hilton Atlanta)
Vincent Raimondi, Chemical Engineering and Material Science, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ

Microalgae have the potential to become a major global renewable fuels source, beneficially

utilizing sunlight, CO2 and nutrients to rapidly grow long chain lipids which can be extracted

from the algae biomass. Typically, the extracted algae oil contains about 12wt% oxygen which

can be removed via hydrodeoxygenation to produce straight-chain hydrocarbons, mimicking

green diesel. The conventional catalyst for hydrotreatment in petroleum refining is the sulfided

NiMo catalyst, however, crude oil contains an insignificant amount of oxygen (<0.5%), so its

effectiveness for algae oil has not been established. In this project, precious metal-based

catalysts are being evaluated in a microreactor for hydrotreatment of algae oil extracted from

Nannochloropsis Salina. A performance study will be conducted to elucidate the effects of

various operating conditions, such as temperature, pressure, liquid hourly-space velocity

(LHSV), weight hourly-space velocity (WHSV) and H2/oil ratio on hydrocarbon yield, product

selectivity and residual oxygen content.

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