Conference Dates

June 16-21, 2019


Nitrogen (N) in the bio-crude obtained from hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of protein-containing biomass not only reduces the heating value of fuels, but also increases cost for upgrading to meet the existing fuel standards. Considerable work so far had been focused on N-containing heterocycles formed via Maillard reactions. However, limited information is available on the influence of lipids, as the amides formation could compete with the Maillard reactions, further affecting the fate of N. The objective of this work is therefore to identify the influence of lipids on the nitrogen distribution in the different product phases, with a particular focus on the reaction of N-containing compounds, trying to achieve deeper understanding about reaction mechanism of HTL.

In this study, we tested a set of model compounds (lactose as model carbohydrate, lysine as model protein, palmitic acid as model component of a lipid) to conduct HTL. The model compounds were treated individually and in mixtures at 250 - 350 °C for batch reaction times of 20 min. We investigated the N-distribution in the different HTL-products, mainly focusing on the bio-crude. At 300 °C, only 4.9 wt.% of N distribution (defined as the amount of N in the product relative to that in the feedstocks) is found from HTL of single lysine, while 43.6 wt.% of that is obtained from HTL of the ternary mixture. This is most likely because the higher yield (54.1wt.%) of bio-crude produced from mixture. Specific N-containing compounds in the bio-crude were quantified. With addition of lipids, less yields of typical Maillard reaction products like pyrazines and caprolactam, generated from HTL of carbohydrates and proteins, were obtained, while amides are revealed with significant yield of 2.1 wt.%, indicating that in the presence of lipids, amide formation competes with the generation of Maillard reaction products. These results provide valuable insights for the transformation of nitrogen as well as the reaction pathways of complex systems such as sewage sludge, micro algae, food waste and on the like.

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