Characterization of Liquid Outlet Byproduct Streams from the Lipid to Hydrocarbon (LTH) Biofuel Production Process

Olga Mameeva, Michael Chae and David C. Bressler.
Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

A new, non-catalyzed conversion technology (LTH) to produce renewable hydrocarbons through pyrolytic conversion of fatty acids was successfully established in the Biorefining Conversions and Fermentation Laboratory, University of Alberta. This technology has been licensed to Forge Hydrocarbons and is the foundation for establishing a 20 L/hour pilot plant at the City of Edmonton’s Advanced Energy Research Facility.

The aim of this research is to characterize liquid byproduct streams generated through application of our LTH technology on different fat-containing feedstocks (i.e. oleic acid, brown grease, yellow grease and biosolids). These byproduct streams will be used for subsequent fermentation experiments using oleaginous algae or yeast. In the LTH process, the liquid by-products received after hydrolysis or pyrolysis are generally acidic and contain a wide range of hydrocarbons, volatiles, polycyclic aromatics, glycols, alcohols etc. These streams have high biochemical oxygen demand and chemical oxygen demand. After the analysis of the liquid byproduct streams we can concluded that the main carbon-containing compounds that can be used for fermentation by oleaginous microorganisms are volatile free acids. Moreover, the composition of byproduct streams from the LTH process depends on feedstocks and operation conditions of pilot plant.