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  Auwal Aliya

Postgraduate Student
 
       
 

Catalytic conversion of microalgae for biofuel production

 

Microalgae are aquatic biomass that grows naturally in salt and fresh water. Cultivation of microalgae has gained a lot of attention due to its high growth yield, cultivation in saline and fresh water and carbon dioxide efficiency. These algal cultivation properties make it one of the most sustainable sources of biomass when compared to terrestrial biomass such as forest biomass and cultivated crops.

Biomass conversion processes are classified into three major groups, biochemical, thermo chemical and chemical separation.  My research focuses on pyrolysis and catalytic cracking of microalgae which has an added advantage over other thermochemical conversion processes, such as gasification, direct combustion and liquefaction. Pyrolysis and catalytic cracking has an established simple process that occurs at relatively mild conditions.

This research will investigate the effect of temperature and catalysts on the yield and physico-chemical properties of the biofuel product (bio-oil, biochar and biogas) on pyrolysis and catalytic cracking of microalgae (Chlorella vulgaris and Nannochloropsis oculata). The experiment will be carried out in a fixed bed reactor in a helium flow with a rapid cooling of condensable volatiles in a dewar flask containing dry ice as shown in Figure 1.

 

Thermogravimetric studies of samples used in pyrolysis and catalytic cracking as well as the bio-oil products will be carried out using a simultaneous thermogravimetric analyser (TGA-DSC) to determine the pyrolytic characteristic and thermogravimetric parameters.

 

Fig 1 - Schematic diagram of experimental set-up

(1. Air bottle 2. Helium Bottle 3. Flow meter 4. Rotameter 5 & 6.1/8 check valves 7 & 8. One way valves 9. 1/8 Union tee10. Reactor 11. Sample boat 12. Furnace13. Connection joint 14. Thermocouple 15. Coiled condensing trap 16. De-ionized)

 

For more details please contact Prof. Adam Harvey or Dr Jonathan Lee.

 

 

 

 

 Last modified: 04-Aug-2017