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Selection of an energetically more feasible route for hydrocarbon extraction from microalgae - Milking of B. braunii as a case study

Chaudry, S.ORCID: 0000-0003-1508-8626, Bahri, P.A.ORCID: 0000-0003-4661-5644 and Moheimani, N.R.ORCID: 0000-0003-2310-4147 (2016) Selection of an energetically more feasible route for hydrocarbon extraction from microalgae - Milking of B. braunii as a case study. Computer Aided Chemical Engineering, 38 . pp. 1545-1550.

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The high energy consumption is one of the major constraints of sustainable production of fuel from microalgae. Dewatering and harvesting of microalgae are the most energy consuming steps in algal fuel production process. The selection of the technology for the dewatering or bypassing the dewatering stage will not only affect the energy consumption of this stage but also that of the downstream extraction process along with the oil yield. The optimum route is a bargain between the energy consumption and the yield of the process which ultimately define the net energy gain of the process. Superstructure optimization provides a framework for identifying the optimum process routes in process design. However, solving the superstructure for optimum solution poses a complicated problem especially in custom modelling environment suitable for non-traditional processes such as processing of microalgae. A systematic methodology has been developed to select the optimum route from the superstructure modelled in Aspen Custom Modeler.

As a case study, the developed methodology has been applied on the process of repeated non-destructive production of hydrocarbons (milking) from a specific species of microalgae - Botryococcus braunii. Milking of B. braunii for the production of algal hydrocarbons has the potential of producing energetically feasible fuel from microalgae due to efficient use of algal biomass. However, the selection of the suitable technologies and their combination (route) is a critical factor for determining the applicability and feasibility of this process. In this study, the suitable technologies and optimum route have been identified for the milking of B. braunii process using the methodology developed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2016 Elsevier B.V.
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