Zhou, Zhou, Zhang, Fang, Wang, Speight, Wang, Doherty, Cullen, Ostrikov, Bazaka (2019) High-Performance Plasma-Enabled Biorefining of Microalgae to Value-Added Products ChemSusChem 12(22) 4976-4985


Conversion of renewable biomass by time- and energy-efficient techniques remains an important challenge. Herein, plasma catalytic liquefaction (PCL) is employed to achieve rapid liquefaction of microalgae under mild conditions. The choice of the catalyst affects both the liquefaction efficiency and the yield of products. The acid catalyst is more effective and gave a liquid yield of 73.95 wt % in 3 min, as opposed to 69.80 wt % obtained with the basic catalyst in 7 min. Analyses of the thus-formed products and the processing environment reveal that the enhanced PCL performance is 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 can 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.