Dalla biomassa algale al biogas

A Fast Track From Algae Biomass to Biogas

© Applied Science University of Zurich ZHAW – Dominik Refardt, 2013

24.02.14 – Could microalgae fuel the future? Researchers are fine-tuning a technology that transforms wet algal biomass into a biogas that is compatible with today’s natural gas infrastructure.

Microalgae derived biogas is becoming an increasingly promising alternative to fossil fuels. Over the past years, researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and EPFL have been developing SunCHem, a resource and energy efficient process, to cultivate microalgae and convert them into synthetic natural gas, a biofuel that is fully compatible with today’s expanding gas grid. In an article published in late January 2014, they present one of the first continuous biomass to biogas conversion technologies. The article appeared online in the journal Catalysis Today.

While it takes nature millions of years to transform biomass into natural gas, it takes the SunCHem process less than an hour to produce biogas. The secret behind this feat is a process called hydrothermal gasification. First, algae-rich water is heated under pressure to a supercritical liquid state, to almost 400 degrees Celsius. In this supercritical state, the water effectively dissolves the organic matter contained in the biomass, while inorganic salts become less soluble and can be recovered as a nutrient concentrate. By gasifying the remaining solution in the presence of a catalyst, it is then split into water, CO2, and the methane rich biogas.

Read more on: http://actu.epfl.ch/news/a-fast-track-from-algae-biomass-to-biogas/
Author:Jan Overney
Source: Mediacom

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