Thermal cracking products and bio-oil production from microalgae Desmodesmus sp.

Li Gang, Xiang Shunan, Ji Fang, Zhou Yuguang, Huang Zhigang


Qualitative and quantitative analyses of thermal cracking products from Desmodesmus sp. were performed based on pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS) at different temperature regimes (350°C-750°C). After further analysis of a series of total ions chromatogram (TIC) and summarized, thermal cracking products of Desmodesmus sp. at different temperature regimes can be obtained, which mainly comprised of aliphatic hydrocarbons, nitrogen compounds, aromatic hydrocarbons, fatty acids, ketones, alcohols, aldehydes and furan compounds. Compared to bio-oil production at 650°C (32.07%), Desmodesmus sp. pyrolyzed at 750°C could produce the highest bio-oil content of 42.25%. However, higher temperature could lead to the formation of contaminants (nitrogen compounds and PAHs) more easily. Therefore, considering the higher content of bio-oil conversion and less pollutants generation, the optimum temperature for Desmodesmus sp. thermal cracking conversion was about 650°C.
Keywords: microalgae, Desmodesmus sp., thermal cracking, bio-oil production, pyrolysis
DOI: 10.25165/j.ijabe.20171004.3348

Citation: Li G, Xiang S N, Ji F, Zhou Y G, Huang Z G. Thermal cracking products and bio-oil production from microalgae Desmodesmus sp. Int J Agric & Biol Eng, 2017; 10(4): 198–206.


microalgae, Desmodesmus sp., thermal cracking, bio-oil production, pyrolysis


Li G, Ji F, Zhou Y, Dong R. Life cycle assessment of pyrolysis process of Desmodesmus sp. Int J Agric & Biol Eng, 2015; 8(5): 105–112.

Minowa T, Yokoyama S, Kishimoto M. Oil production from algal cells of Dunaliella tertiolecta by direct thermochemical liquefaction. Fuel, 1995; 74(12): 1735–1738.

Demirbas A. Biomass resource facilities and biomass conversion processing for fuels and chemicals. Energy Convers Manag, 2001; 42: 1357–1378.

Li G, Zhou Y, Ji F, Liu Y, Adhikari B, Tian L, et al. Yield and characteristics of pyrolysis products obtained from Schizochytrium limacinum under different temperature regimes. Energies, 2013; 6: 3339–3352.

Rajagopal D, Zilberman D. Review of environmental, economic and policy aspects of biofuels. Policy Research Working Paper, No. wps 4341, 2007: 1–107.

Demirbas A. Progress and recent trends in biofuels. Progress in Energy and Combustion Science, 2007; 33(1): 1–18.

Ginzburg B Z. Liquid fuel (oil) from halophilic algae: A renewable source of non-polluting energy. Renewable Energy, 1993; 3(2-3): 249–252.

Zhou D, Zhang L, Zhang S C. Hydrothermal liquefaction of macroalgae Entermorpha prolifera to bio-oil. Energy Fuels, 2010; 24(7): 4054–4061.

Ross A. B, Biller P, Kubacki M L, Li H, Lea-Langton A, Jones J M. Hydrothermal processing of microalgae using alkali and organic acids. Fuel, 2010; 89(9): 2234–2243.

Bligh E, Dyer W J. A rapid method of total lipid extraction and purification. Can J Biochem Physiol, 1959; 37(8): 911–917.

Rao Q, Labuza T P. Effect of moisture content on selected physicochemical properties of two commercial hen egg white powers. Food Chem, 2012; 132(1): 373–384.

Mahinpey N, Murugan P, Mani T, Raina R. Analysis of bio-oil, biogas, and biochar from pressurized pyrolysis of wheat straw using a tubular reactor. Energy Fuels, 2009; 23(5): 2736–2742.

Friedl A, Padouvas E, Rotter H, Varmuza K. Prediction of heating values of biomass fuel from elemental composition. Anal Chim Acta, 2005; 544(1): 191–198.

Harman-Ware A E, Morgan T, Wilson M, Crocker M, Zhang J, Liu K L, et al. Microalgae as a renewable fuel source: Fast pyrolysis of Scenedesmus sp. Renew. Energy, 2013; 60: 625–632.

Greenhalf C E, Nowakowski D J, Bridgwater A V, Titiloye J, Yates N, Riche A, et al. Thermochemical characterisation of straws and high yielding perennial grasses. Ind Crop

Prod, 2012; 26: 449–459.

Li G, Dong R, Fu N, Zhou Y, Li D, Chen X. Characterization of pyrolysis products obtained from Desmodesmus sp. cultivated in anaerobic digested effluents (DADE). International Journal of Food Engineering, 2015; 11(6): 825–832.

Li G, Dong R, Fu N, Zhou Y, Li D, Chen X. Temperature-oriented pyrolysis on the decomposition characteristic of Chlorella pyrenoidosa. International Journal of Food Engineering, 2016; 12(3): 295–301.

Li R, Zhong Z, Jin B, Zheng A. Selection of temperature for bio-oil production from pyrolysis of algae from lake blooms. Energy Fuels, 2012; 26(5): 2996–3002.

Thangalazhy-Gopakumar S, Adhikari S, Chattanathan S A, Gupta R B. Catalytic pyrolysis of green algae for hydrocarbon production using H+ZSM-5 catalyst. Bioresour Technol, 2012; 118: 150–157.

Maddi B, Viamajala S, Varanasi S. Comparative study of pyrolysis of algal biomass from natural lake blooms with lignocellulosic biomass. Bioresour Technol, 2011; 102(23): 11018–11026.

Wang L, Li Y, Chen P, Min M, Chen Y, Zhu J, et al. Anaerobic digested dairy manure as a nutrient supplement for cultivation of oil-rich green microalgae Chlorella sp. Bioresour Technol, 2010; 101: 2623–2628.

Duan P, Savage P E. Catalytic treatment of crude algal bio-oil in supercritical water: optimization studies. Energy Environ Sci, 2011; 4(4): 1447–1456.

Full Text: PDF

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.