New Oil reports breakthrough in processing algae for fuel without dewatering

October 22, 2010 |

In Louisiana, New Oil Resources announced that it has developed a process that uses hot, pressurized water to treat the biomass in a process commonly referred to as hydrothermal liquifaction or thermal depolymerization.

According to the research team, “algae can be processed without dewatering and all the carbon is converted to fuels, not just the fatty oils.”  The group said that immediate applications include processing municipal sewage sludge, processing waste streams from the ethanol industry and converting algae to fuel.

The Newoil process is reporting that 70% to 80% of the energy in the feedstock is being returned in the final products. The remaining 20% to 30% of the energy is used to run the process.

Dr. Gary Miller, lead engineer for New Oil Resources, said “Our process is similar to that used by several companies worldwide. We use hot water to depolymerize the cellulose, lignins, lipids and other polymers contained in the biomass. The difference between all these companies is what you do next. We impact the chemistry so that the depolymerized biomass turns into the products we want. Cellulosic material comes out of our process as oxygen free aliphatics containing five to eight carbon atoms and aromatics. This product is similar to the high octane gasoline produced in petroleum refineries”.

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