Catalytic pyrolysis of microalgae to high-quality liquid bio-fuels

Igor V. Babych, M. van der Hulst, Leonardus Lefferts, J.A. Moulijn, Kulathuiyer Seshan, P. O'Connor

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The pyrolytic conversion of chlorella algae to liquid fuel precursor in presence of a catalyst (Na2CO3) has been studied. Thermal decomposition studies of the algae samples were performed using TGA coupled with MS. Liquid oil samples were collected from pyrolysis experiments in a fixed-bed reactor and characterized for water content and heating value. The oil composition was analyzed by GC-MS. Pretreatment of chlorella with Na2CO3 influences the primary conversion of chlorella by shifting the decomposition temperature to a lower value. In the presence of Na2CO3, gas yield increased and liquid yield decreased when compared with non-catalytic pyrolysis at the same temperatures. However, pyrolysis oil from catalytic runs carries higher heating value and lower acidity. Lower content of acids in the bio-oil, higher aromatics, combined with higher heating value show promise for production of high-quality bio-oil from algae via catalytic pyrolysis, resulting in energy recovery in bio-oil of 40%.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3199-3207
Number of pages9
JournalBiomass & bioenergy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • IR-104389
  • METIS-280211


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