Biorefinery Approach to the Use of Macroalgae as Feedstock for Biofuels
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding › Chapter › Academic › peer-review
Macroalgae (also called seaweeds) have gained attention in recent years as feedstock for the production of fuels and chemicals. This is due to their advantages over traditional terrestrial feedstocks for biorefinery: higher productivity cultivation (amount of biomass produced per unit of surface area) than terrestrial crops, no competition for arable land, lower fresh water consumption during cultivation, and no requirement for fertilizer (van den Burg et al. 2013). In addition, macroalgae have a distinctive chemical composition that differs from lignocelluloses and terrestrial crops, and some 104species are rich in carbohydrates, proteins, fatty acids, and/or bioactive components that make them very suitable for biorefinery (Kraan 2013, van den Burg et al., 2013). For the production of fuels, the most studied routes are the biological conversion of sugars into liquid fuels such as ethanol or butanol, the thermochemical conversion of macroalgae biomass into liquid fuel by hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL), the chemo-catalytic conversion of sugars into furans, and the anaerobic digestion of biomass into methane. Various reviews of the use of macroalgae for biofuels have appeared in recent years, including Chen et al. 2015, Jiang et al. 2016, Milledge et al. 2014, Suutari et al. 2015, Wei et al. 2013. Chen et al. (2015) concluded that biodiesel production from macroalgae seems less attractive than that from microalgae, given the low content of lipids in macroalgae. Therefore, biodiesel from macroalgal lipids was left outside the scope of this chapter.