Zhou, Zhou, Zhang, Fang, Wang, Speight, Wang, Doherty, Cullen, Ostrikov, Bazaka (2019) High-Performance Plasma-Enabled Biorefinery of Microalgae into Value-added Products ChemSusChem ()


Fast conversion of renewable biomass using time- and energy-efficient techniques remains an important challenge. Here, plasma catalytic liquefaction (PCL) was successfully employed to achieve rapid liquefaction of microalgae under mild conditions. The choice of the catalyst affected both liquefaction efficiency and the yield of products obtained. The acid catalyst was more effective giving a liquid yield of 73.95 wt.% in 3 min, compared to 69.80 wt.% obtained with the base catalyst in 7 min. Analyses of thus-formed products and the processing environment revealed that the enhanced performance of PCL was linked to the rapid increase in temperature under the effect of plasma-induced electric fields, and the generation of large quantities of reactive species. Moreover, the obtained solid residue could be simply upgraded to a carbon product suitable for supercapacitor applications. Therefore, the proposed strategy may provide a new avenue for fast and comprehensive utilization of biomass under benign conditions. © 2019 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.