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Microalgae conversion to biogas: Thermal pretreatment contribution on net energy production
Passos, Fabiana Lopes del Rei; Ferrer Martí, Ivet
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament d'Enginyeria Hidràulica, Marítima i Ambiental; Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. GEMMA - Grup d'Enginyeria i Microbiologia del Medi Ambient
Microalgal biomass harvested from wastewater treatment high rate algal ponds may be valorised through anaerobic digestion producing biogas. However, microalgae anaerobic biodegradability is limited by their complex cell wall structure. Thus, pretreatment techniques are being investigated to improve microalgae methane yield. In the current study, thermal pretreatment at relatively low temperatures of 75-95 °C was effective at enhancing microalgae anaerobic biodegradability; increasing the methane yield by 70% in respect to nonpretreated biomass. Microscopic images showed how the pretreatment damaged microalgae cells, enhancing subsequent anaerobic digestion. Indeed, digestate images showed how after pretreatment only species with resistant cell walls, such as diatoms, continued to be present. Energy balances based on lab-scale reactors performance at 20 days HRT, shifted from neutral to positive (energy gain around 2.7 GJ/d) after thermal pretreatment. In contrast with electricity consuming pretreatment methods, such as microwave irradiation, thermal pretreatment of microalgae seems to be scalable. © 2014 American Chemical Society.
Àrees temàtiques de la UPC::Enginyeria civil::Enginyeria hidràulica, marítima i sanitària
Àrees temàtiques de la UPC::Energies::Recursos energètics renovables::Biogàs
Anaerobic biodegradability
High rate algal pond
Low temperatures
Microalgal biomass
Microscopic image
Pretreatment methods
Pretreatment technique
Thermal pre-treatment
Algues -- Biotecnologia

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