Systematic characterization of biocrude and aqueous phase from hydrothermal carbonization of algal biomass

Sidra Jabeen, Xiangpeng Gao, Jun Ichiro Hayashi, Mohammednoor Altarawneh, Bogdan Z. Dlugogorski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This contribution evaluates the impacts of reaction conditions on the yields and properties of biocrude and aqueous phase from hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) of Chlorella vulgaris (solid loading: 10.0 wt%) at 180-220 °C for 15 and 60 min. The results indicate that increasing HTC temperature (THTC) from 180 to 220 °C enhances biocrude yield from 8.8 to 34.6 wt%, for the holding time (th) of 60 min, and from 4.9 to 26.0 wt% for 15 min. The carbon recovery and higher heating value (HHV) of biocrude elevate with increasing both THTC and th, with the highest values of 50.6% and 34.0 MJ/kg, respectively, observed at 220 °C and 60 min. Among inorganic species, Na, Fe, and Zn display reasonable retentions in the biocrude with a pronounced effect of THTC observed at 15 min. The yield of aqueous phase increases first when THTC rises from 180 to 200 °C but decreases with further increasing THTC to 220 °C due to the re-polymerization of water-soluble organics into biocrude and/or the formation of gaseous products. The aqueous phase experiences a reduction of total organic carbon with increasing reaction severity because of the transfer of carbon to biocrude and/or gases. The aqueous phase is rich in organic nitrogen, dihydrogen phosphate, acetate, and potassium, which are required for its recycling as cultivation media. The concentrations of heavy metals (Fe, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni and Zn) in the aqueous phase are all below 9 mg/kg under the studied HTC conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107953
JournalJournal of Environmental Chemical Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Algal biomass
  • Aqueous phase
  • Biocrude
  • Hydrothermal carbonization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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