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Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Algae

Project Lead: Peter Valdez and Julia Faeth

The goal of the research is to enable the molecular engineering of microalgal biocrude by elucidating the reaction pathways and rates of hydrothermal liquefaction. This is accomplished by determining an empirically derived kinetic model for the hydrothermal liquefaction of microalgae. This investigation will improve the understanding of how feedstock characteristics and processing conditions affect product yields, elemental and molecular composition, viscosity, and heating value of the liquefaction products. From the foundation of this model, we hypothesize that it be possible to predict and control the products of hydrothermal liquefaction, based on feedstock composition and reaction conditions. This will accelerate the selection of suitable microalgae feedstocks and circumvent endless experimentation to evaluate feedstocks for producing biocrude.

Biocrude from Nannochloropsis sp.

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