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Hydrothermal liquefaction -- the most promising path to a sustainable bio-oil production
Date:2/6/2013

ion of the biomass, e.g. the carbohydrate content.

The water phase emanating from the HTL process has low carbon contents and can either be recycled into the process or ultimately be purified to attain drinking water quality, which is the long-term goal. As such HTL replaces the burden of disposal with the benefit of recycling.

The HTL process has the following benefits:

  • Crude HTL oil has high heating values of approximately 35-39 MJ/kg on a dry ash free basis
  • The HTL process only consumes approximately 10-15% of the energy in the feedstock biomass, yielding an energy efficiency of 85-90%
  • Crude HTL oil has very low oxygen, sulphur and water content (compared to e.g. pyrolysis oil which typically contains approx. 50% water)
  • HTL oil recovers more than 70% of the feedstock carbon content (single pass)
  • HTL oil is storage stable, and has comparatively low upgrading requirements, due in part to a high fraction of middle distillates in the crude oil. It is much less upgrading intensive than e.g. pyrolysis oil, which needs immediate upgrading in order not to deteriorate.

The bio-oil from HTL can be used as-produced in heavy engines or it can be hydrogenated or thermally upgraded to obtain diesel-, gasoline- or jet-fuels by existing refinery technology. In this sense, HTL bio-oil is directly comparable to fossil crude oil. This is unique among liquid bio-fuels and means that it can directly enter the existing fuel distribution network for automotive transportation in any concentration, giving it full drop-in properties.

In Denmark, Aarhus University and Aalborg University are in partnership on HTL research at all levels. In Aarhus, Dept. of Chemistry focuses on fundamental understanding of the process and quick surveys of the effects of different feedstocks and catalysts along with subsequent upgrading. Dept. of Agro-Ecology develops energy crops while Dept. of Engineering works on pilot-scale HTL. The latter is
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Contact: Jacob Becker, Ph.D.
jbecker@chem.au.dk
(45) 20-65-68-62
Aarhus University
Source:Eurekalert  

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