Skip to main content

PRODUCTION OF LIQUID HYDROCARBONS FROM AUTOTROPHIC BIOMASS BY LOW TEMPERATURE AUTOCATALYTIC CONVERSION.

Objective


Biomass with relatively high lipid and protein content can be converted, in high yields at moderate temperature (250 to 380 C), to oil which is similar in composition to petroleum. Especially suitable for this low temperature conversion is biomass of microbial origin (eg sewage sludge from biological waste water treatment and algae). 60% of the organic carbon is converted into oil and approximately 30% to coal. Net energy return therefore is very high. The oil produced can be used without further purification as diesel or heating fuel.
THE LOW TEMPERATURE CONVERSION PROCESS IS A FEASIBLE ROUTE TO GENERATE OIL FROM ALGAE. EXPERIMENTS WITH DIFFERENT ALGAE SPECIES HAVE DEMONSTRATED THAT 20% YIELDS OF OIL CAN BE OBTAINED. THE OIL HAS THE QUALITY OF DIESEL FUEL, AND CAN BE USED FOR THIS. BESIDES OIL COAL IS PRODUCED, WHICH IS SUFFICIENT TO PROVIDE THE NECESSARY ENERGY FOR DRYING OF THE BIOMASS AND THE PROCESS ENERGY. THE NET ENERGY RETURN OF THE LOW TEMPERATURE CONVERSION PROCESS IS BETTER THAN 65%.
THEREFORE THIS PROCESS SEEMS TO BE SUPERIOR TO OTHER PROPOSALS TO GENERATE ENERGY FROM BIOMASS. ANAEROBIC OR AEROBIC DIGESTION ONLY SHOWS ENERGY RETURNS OF 10-25%, INCLUDING ALCOHOL FERMENTATION. PYROLYSIS ONLY DELIVERS ENERGY RETURN OF 30%.
THE COMPOSITION OF THE OILS OBTAINED SHOW THAT THEY CONTAIN SUBSTANCES, VALUABLE AS RAW MATERIALS FOR CHEMICAL INDUSTRY, LIKE OLEFINS AND ALICYCLIC HYDROCARBONS. ADVANTAGES OF GENERATING OIL FROM BIOMASS IN COMPARISON TO METHANE PRODUCTION BY MICROBIAL DIGESTION OR PYROLYSIS IS THE EASY STORAGE OF THE LIQUID FUEL.
FOR THE CONVERSION DIFFERENT OVENS HAVE BEEN DESIGNED, CONSTRUCTED AND USED. ESPECIALLY SUITABLE ARE FLUIDIZED BED AND ROTATORY FURNACES.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

THE UNIVERSITY OF TUEBINGEN
Address
Wilhelmstrasse 5
72074 Tuebingen
Germany

Participants (3)

Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)
Italy
Address

501 Firenze
Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH)
Germany
Address

Aachen
UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
United Kingdom
Address

London