Catalytic Bio-Oil Production by Hydrothermal Liquefaction of the Macroalgae Ulva Fasciata Using Iron Species from Different Sources

A. Rojas-Perez, C.B. Frias-Flores, G. Rodríguez-Narváez, M.L. Adrover-Castellano, H.L. Pabon-Colon, U. Jena, L.M. Díaz-Vázquez
University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras,
United States

Keywords: biomass, HTL, catalyst, iron sources, renewable energy, hydrothermal liquefaction


Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is a process that employs the use of water in its subcritical state to convert biomass into biofuels. This process can provide a sustainable and renewable energy source that can substitute current fossil fuels. This research focused on the use of iron species (nanoparticles (FeNPs), red mud (RM), and magnetite sand (MagS)) to study the change in the quality and yield of the bio-oil from the macro-algae Ulva Fasciata. To achieve this, Ulva Fasciata (15%) was submitted to the HTL process at 330°C, 300rpm and a reaction time of 15 min and the previously mentioned catalysts. After the system was cooled down the products were separated into solid, liquid and gaseous phases and characterized respectively using Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA), Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES), Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS), Fourier Transform Infrared Attenuated Total Reflectance (FTIR-ATR) and Elemental analysis (CHNS/O). The bio-oil yield obtained was 22.31±2.97%wt. without the catalyst, 21.75±2.75%wt. for RM, 20.30±0.38%wt. for FeNPs and 20.10±1.26%wt. for MagS. To determine the quality of the oil their constituents were studied. Although the bio-oil yield was not increased during the experiment, the GC-MS analysis shed light into the amount of nitrogenized, sulfonated and other energy relevant compounds present in the bio-oil that were used as the criteria to determine its quality.