Co-production of bio-oil and propylene through the hydrothermal liquefaction of polyhydroxybutyrate producing cyanobacteria

Jonathan Wagner, Rachel Bransgrove, Tracey A. Beacham, Michael J. Allen, Katharina Meixner, Bernhard Drosg, Valeska P. Ting, Christopher J. Chuck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) producing cyanobacteria was converted through hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) into propylene and a bio-oil suitable for advanced biofuel production. HTL of model compounds demonstrated that in contrast to proteins and carbohydrates, no synergistic effects were detected when converting PHB in the presence of algae. Subsequently, Synechocystis cf. salina, which had accumulated 7.5 wt% PHB was converted via HTL (15% dry weight loading, 340°C). The reaction gave an overall propylene yield of 2.6%, higher than that obtained from the model compounds, in addition to a bio-oil with a low nitrogen content of 4.6%. No propylene was recovered from the alternative non-PHB producing cyanobacterial strains screened, suggesting that PHB is the source of propylene. PHB producing microorganisms could therefore be used as a feedstock for a biorefinery to produce polypropylene and advanced biofuels, with the level of propylene being proportional to the accumulated amount of PHB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-174
Number of pages9
JournalBioresource Technology
Volume207
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes

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