Hydrothermal catalytic processing of pretreated algal oil: A catalyst screening study

Xiujun Bai, Peigao Duan, Yuping Xu, Aiyun Zhang, Phillip E. Savage

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127 Citations (SciVal)


We herein report on the catalytic processing of pretreated algal oil that was produced from the hydrothermal liquefaction of Chlorella pyrenoidosa. The activities of 5% Pt/C, 5% Pd/C, 5% Ru/C, 5% Pt/C (sulfided), Mo2C, MoS2, alumina, CoMo/γ-Al2O3 (sulfided), Ni/SiO2-Al2O3, HZSM-5, activated carbon, and Raney-Ni for hydrothermal hydrodeoxygenation and hydrodenitrogenation of the pretreated algal oil at 400 C were determined. Ru/C showed the best performance for deoxygenation and Raney-Ni was the most suitable catalyst for denitrogenation. The upgraded oil from the Ru/C catalyzed reaction contained the highest hydrocarbon content, the highest fraction of material boiling below 400 C, and the highest higher heating value (45.1 MJ/kg). All of the metal catalysts produced freely flowing upgraded oil. The combination of Ru/C and Raney Ni, which showed very good deoxygenation and denitrogenation of the oil, produced upgraded oil that retained 86% of the heating value in the original pretreated oil. This upgraded oil was also produced in a higher yield (77.2 wt.%) and with lower gas (9.4 wt.%), coke (15.6 wt.%) and water-soluble products yields (2.1 wt.%) than from either catalyst alone. These results indicate that a two-step biocrude treatment strategy (noncatalytic treatment followed by catalytic upgrading) and a two-component catalyst bed in the second step represents an intriguing option for the hydrothermal catalytic upgrading of algal biocrude.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-149
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Mar 15 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Organic Chemistry


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