Microwave-assisted pyrolysis of microalgae for biofuel production

Zhenyi Du, Yecong Li, Xiaoquan Wang, Yiqin Wan, Qin Chen, Chenguang Wang, Xiangyang Lin, Yuhuan Liu, Paul Chen, Roger Ruan

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274 Scopus citations


The pyrolysis of Chlorella sp. was carried out in a microwave oven with char as microwave reception enhancer. The results indicated that the maximum bio-oil yield of 28.6% was achieved under the microwave power of 750. W. The bio-oil properties were characterized with elemental, GC-MS, GPC, FTIR, and thermogravimetric analysis. The algal bio-oil had a density of 0.98. kg/L, a viscosity of 61.2 cSt, and a higher heating value (HHV) of 30.7. MJ/kg. The GC-MS results showed that the bio-oils were mainly composed of aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, phenols, long chain fatty acids and nitrogenated compounds, among which aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons (account for 22.18% of the total GC-MS spectrum area) are highly desirable compounds as those in crude oil, gasoline and diesel. The results in this study indicate that fast growing algae are a promising source of feedstock for advanced renewable fuel production via microwave-assisted pyrolysis (MAP).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4890-4896
Number of pages7
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to DOT/Sun Grant, USDA/DOE, and University of Minnesota IREE and Center for Biorefining, as well as China MOST International Cooperation Fund 2009DFA61680, for their financial support for this work. Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which receives partial support from NSF through the MRSEC program.


  • Bio-oil
  • Chlorella sp.
  • Microalgae
  • Microwave-assisted pyrolysis


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