Click here for more information about Algenuity
Click here for more information about Liqofluxphenometrics515R1
Visit cricatalyst.com!Evodos Separation Technology

Research

Identifying a cheaper, greener biofuel processing catalyst

August 27, 2017
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

A photomicrograph of the palladium and bacteria catalyst. Image courtesy Lynne Macaskie

Many biofuels are costly to produce because the precursor product, bio-oil, must be processed before it is sent to the refinery to be turned into liquid fuel. In search of bringing that cost down, University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institute researcher B.K. Sharma and his co-authors have identified and tested a new processing method using a processing catalyst made from palladium metal and bacteria.

“Bio-oil forms from the same chemical reaction that forms petroleum,” Dr. Sharma said. “But what takes millions of years naturally in the ground takes only minutes in the lab using a process that is very similar to pressure cooking.”

Published in the journal Fuel, their findings point to a cheaper, more environmentally friendly and renewable catalyst for processing that uses common bacteria and the metal palladium, which can be recovered from waste sources such as discarded electronics, catalytic converters, street sweeper dust and processed sewage.

“The bio-oil produced in the lab from algae contains impurities like nitrogen and oxygen, but treating it with palladium as a catalyst during processing helps remove those impurities to meet clean-air requirements,” Dr. Sharma said.

“For the palladium to do its job, the bio-oil needs to flow past it during processing. Previous studies have shown that allowing the oil to flow through porous carbon particles infused with palladium is an effective method, but those carbon particles are not cheap,” he said. “Instead of using commercially produced carbon particles, we can use bacteria cell masses as a sort of biologic scaffolding for the palladium to hold on to. The oil can flow through the palladium-decorated bacteria masses as it does through the carbon particles.”

To test the effectiveness of the new method, Dr. Sharma and his co-authors performed a variety of chemical and physical analyses to determine if their new processing treatment produced a liquid fuel that is comparable in quality to one made using the commercially produced catalyst.

“We found our product to be as good or even slightly better,” Dr. Sharma said. “We were able to remove the oxygen and nitrogen impurities at a comparable rate, and yielded the same volume of product using our cheaper, greener catalyst as is observed using the more expensive commercial catalyst.”

Dr. BK Sharma of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center led this study.

The more costly commercial catalyst has the added benefit that it can be used over and over without extensive processing, whereas the research group’s palladium-on-bacteria catalyst will need to undergo processing to be reused.

“It is a minor caveat,” Dr. Sharma said. “The fact that we have shown the potential of making refinery-ready crude oil from algae bio-oil using a catalyst that can be prepared from low-grade recycled metals and green and economical bacterial biomass proves that this is a very promising advancement. In addition, this bio-catalyst would work equally well in petrochemical processing.”

The work was conducted in collaboration with professors Joe Wood and Lynne Macaskie from the University of Birmingham, funded through the Birmingham-Illinois Partnership for Discovery, Engagement and Education program. The Natural Environment Research Council, UK also supported this research.

The paper “Nanoparticles of Pd supported on bacterial biomass for hydroprocessing crude bio-oil” is available online and from the U. of I. News Bureau. DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2017.08.007

More Like This…

Copyright ©2010-2018 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

twittertopbarlinks_eventstopbarlinks_requesttopbarlinks_archives

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
Algatech has announced the opening of Algatech Inc., a New York City-based subsidiary created to serve the North American market. The company has appointed Ken Seguine to...
ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics Inc. have announced that, in joint research into advanced biofuels, they have modified an algal strain to more than double its oil conte...
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the selection of three projects to receive up to $8 million, aimed at reducing the costs of producing algal biofuels and...
Watertechonline.com reports that the All-Gas project in the El Torno treatment plant in Chiclana, in southwestern Spain, in the province of Cádiz, has started its demonst...
The Natural Algae Astaxanthin Association (NAXA), headquartered in Spring, Texas, has announced that Chile-based Atacama Bio is its newest executive member. Atacama Bio h...
Israeli-based Algatechnologies, Ltd. (Algatech) has become the major shareholder in Supreme Health New Zealand, Ltd. (Supreme) to supply the rapidly growing markets in Ch...
Israeli-based Algatechnologies, Ltd. (Algatech), is teaming up with the Italian R&D company, Sphera Encapsulation S.r.l (Sphera), to develop innovative functional ingredi...
Amy Thompson writes in Space.com that SpaceX successfully launched its 15th Space Station cargo-resupply mission on Friday, June 29; carrying a payload of experiments des...
Sophie Kevany writes in Decanter.com that a group of vineyards in France’s Bordeaux and Cognac regions are exploring whether algae can be used to prevent the fungal infec...
Algae and corals have been leaning on each other since dinosaurs roamed the earth, much longer than had been previously thought, according to new research led by scientis...
Cécile Barbière writes for Euractive.fr (translated by Rob Kirby) that, in large greenhouses formerly home to the tomatoes and cucumbers of the market gardening Groupe Ol...
The Swiss Algae Consortium Association (SWALG) was founded in May 2018 as a non-profit organization that serves as a platform for algae-related activities in Switzerland ...