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Investigation of thermochemical upgrading and conversion techniques to produce biofuel from microalgal biomass, Chlorella Vulgaris

De Klerk, Gerard (2018) Investigation of thermochemical upgrading and conversion techniques to produce biofuel from microalgal biomass, Chlorella Vulgaris. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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There are several potential biomasses in practice today which can be used to produce biofuel, microalga is an innovative sort of biomass which has the capability to yield high-quality biofuel. Current and past research conducted on biomass fuel production has primarily been focused on specifically understanding and improving cultivation and harvesting methods of biomasses. Due to this, there has been minimal research conducted on biomass to bio-oil conversions schemes, making this fairly understudied in the biofuel world today. In this report, all the relevant information regarding the conversion of biomass to bio-oil, improving of bio-oil properties and advances of microalgal growth is highlighted. The report also has detailed research on both the upgrading and conversion schemes in order to establish the best system and condition for biomass to biofuel conversion. The report is split into two stages, the first stage focuses on the conversion of biomass to bio-oil. The second stage focuses on upgrading the produced bio-oil from stage one, this is necessary in order to make the bio-oil produced suitable for conventional engines.

The results obtained in this report showed promise for future endeavours, with the Hydrothermal Liquefaction products returning yields between 30 and 40% bio-crude, which is comparably high to other literature. Similarly, the emulsification process was a success, with beneficial thermochemical changes highlighted at both 20% and 40% bio-crude/biodiesel samples. The final biofuel samples had a higher heating value ranging from 43 to 45 MJ/kg, which are equal to other fossil-based fuels. Therefore, acknowledging the results obtained in this report from previous literature reports, it can be concluded that HTL and Emulsification are both schemes which have great potential in the production of biofuel.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
United Nations SDGs: Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Supervisor(s): Gao, Xiangpeng and Senanayake, Gamini
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