A Norwegian research group has been able to achieve bio-oil yields of 79% from a common kelp.
Other researchers working with the same species have yields closer to 20%. The secret is to heat the kelp very quickly and bring it to the right temperature within seconds.
The sea has long been a source of Norway’s riches, whether from cod, farmed salmon or oil. Now one NTNU researcher hopes to add seaweed to this list as he refines a way to produce “biocrude” from common kelp.
“What we are trying to do is to mimic natural processes to produce oil,” said Khanh-Quang Tran, an associate professor in NTNU’s Department of Energy and Process Engineering. “However, while petroleum oil is produced naturally on a geologic time scale, we can do it in minutes.”
Tran conducted preliminary studies using sugar kelp (Laminaria saccharina), which grows naturally along the Norwegian coast. His results have just been published in the academic journal Algal Research.
Using small quartz tube “reactors” – which look like tiny sealed straws – Tran heated the reactor containing a slurry made from the kelp biomass and water to 350 degrees C at a very high rate of 585 degrees C per minute.
The technique, called fast hydrothermal liquefaction, gave him a bio-oil yield of 79%. That means that 79 % of the kelp biomass in the reactors was converted to bio-oil. A similar study in the UK using the same species of kelp yielded just 19%. The secret, Tran said, is the rapid heating.
Falling short on biofuel production
Biofuel has long been seen as a promising way to help shift humankind towards a more sustainable and climate friendly lifestyle. The logic is simple: petroleum-like fuels made from crops or substances take up CO2 as they grow and release that same CO2 when they are burned, so they are essentially carbon-neutral.
In its report “Tracking Clean Energy Progress 2014”, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says that biofuel production worldwide was 113 billion litres in 2013, and could reach 140 billion litres by 2018.
That may sound like a lot – but the IEA says biofuel production will need to grow 22-fold by 2025 to produce the amount of biofuel the world will need to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2oC.
The problem is the biomass feedstock. It’s relatively easy to turn corn or sugar beets into ethanol that we can pump right into our petrol tanks. But using food biomass for fuel is more and more problematic as the world’s population climbs towards 8 billion and beyond.
To get around this problem, biofuel is now produced from non-food biomass including agricultural residues, land-based energy crops such as fast-growing trees and grasses, and aquatic crops such as seaweed and microalgae.
All of these feedstocks have their challenges, especially those that are land based. At least part of the issue is the fact that crops for biofuel could potentially displace crops for food.
However, seaweed offers all of the advantages of a biofuel feedstock with the additional benefit of growing, not surprisingly, in the sea.
The Latest on: Seaweed biofuel
via Google News
The Latest on: Seaweed biofuel
- Dutch seaweed-based fuel powers car to 80 kph in Danish trialon November 14, 2019 at 2:58 am
Researchers in Denmark have achieved speeds of up to 80 kph using a car powered by Dutch biofuel made from seaweed. The seaweed fuel was produced by scientists at the TNO research centre in Petten and ...
- Seaweed is a viable biofuelon October 26, 2019 at 5:00 pm
The two Skerries Community College students set about investigating the properties of the seaweed to see if it had the potential to become the raw material for a new kind of biofuel. Like all the ...
- Fertiliser scheme could solve Mexico's seaweed problemon October 17, 2019 at 9:16 am
University of Exeter scientists are working on plans to collect Sargassum seaweed and use a process called "hydrothermal liquefaction" to create biofuel and high-quality, low-cost fertiliser. The ...
- More Seaweed to Tackle Climate Change and Feed the Worldon October 9, 2019 at 10:50 pm
Any farmed seaweed not consumed by ocean creatures or harvested for ... increased seafood catches, fertilizers, medicines, biofuels, and beauty products, and as an additive to livestock feed. In ...
- Commercial Seaweed Market Growing at 7.5% CAGR to be Worth Over USD 92 Billion by 2025: Global Market Insights, Inc.on September 25, 2019 at 5:00 pm
SELBYVILLE, Delaware, Sept. 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Based on forms, this commercial seaweed market report conducted by Global Market Insights, Inc., covers dry and wet types. Wet commercial seaweeds ...
- First Seaweed-Based Biofuel Plant Goes Ahead In Chileon September 18, 2019 at 11:33 am
The ugly swarms of algae that plague Chile's beaches may be an alternative energy blessing in disguise. Chilean economic development corporation (CORFO) announced an investment of 7 million US dollars ...
- Nodality’s Personalized Medicine Recipe, Relypsa Pockets $70M, Big Oil Likes Seaweed Biofuel, & More Bay Area Life Sciences Newson September 16, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Seaweed isn’t usually the first place biofuel companies look to get their raw materials ... please send it along to me at [email protected] or Xconomy San Francisco editor Wade Roush at ...
- Seaweed Biofuel Maker, Bio Architecture Lab, Snags Partnership With Norway’s Statoilon September 14, 2019 at 5:00 pm
While Statoil isn’t as well known in the U.S. as, say, Exxon Mobil, it is a “perfect” partner for a seaweed biofuel company because of its experience in offshore oil drilling, Trunfio says. “We’re a ...
via Bing News