Hydrothermal liquefaction of biomass: A review of subcritical water technologies

Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

Abstract

This article reviews the hydrothermal liquefaction of biomass with the aim of describing the current status of the technology. Hydrothermal liquefaction is a medium-temperature, high-pressure thermochemical process, which produces a liquid product, often called bio-oil or bi-crude. During the hydrothermal liquefaction process, the macromolecules of the biomass are first hydrolyzed and/or degraded into smaller molecules. Many of the produced molecules are unstable and reactive and can recombine into larger ones. During this process, a substantial part of the oxygen in the biomass is removed by dehydration or decarboxylation. The chemical properties of bio-oil are highly dependent of the biomass substrate composition. Biomass constitutes of various components such as protein; carbohydrates, lignin and fat, and each of them produce distinct spectra of compounds during hydrothermal liquefaction. In spite of the potential for hydrothermal production of renewable fuels, only a few hydrothermal technologies have so far gone beyond lab- or bench-scale.
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This article reviews the hydrothermal liquefaction of biomass with the aim of describing the current status of the technology. Hydrothermal liquefaction is a medium-temperature, high-pressure thermochemical process, which produces a liquid product, often called bio-oil or bi-crude. During the hydrothermal liquefaction process, the macromolecules of the biomass are first hydrolyzed and/or degraded into smaller molecules. Many of the produced molecules are unstable and reactive and can recombine into larger ones. During this process, a substantial part of the oxygen in the biomass is removed by dehydration or decarboxylation. The chemical properties of bio-oil are highly dependent of the biomass substrate composition. Biomass constitutes of various components such as protein; carbohydrates, lignin and fat, and each of them produce distinct spectra of compounds during hydrothermal liquefaction. In spite of the potential for hydrothermal production of renewable fuels, only a few hydrothermal technologies have so far gone beyond lab- or bench-scale.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy
Volume36
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)2328-2342
Number of pages15
ISSN0360-5442
DOI
StatePublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

    Research areas

  • Hydrothermal liquefaction, Biomass conversion, Bio-oil
ID: 48418303