Hydrothermal processing of a green seaweed Ulva sp. for the production of monosaccharides, polyhydroxyalkanoates, and hydrochar

Efraim Steinbruch, Dusan Drabik, Michael Epstein, Supratim Ghosh, Meghanath S. Prabhu, Michael Gozin, Abraham Kribus, Alexander Golberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In the fermentation and bioenergy industry, terrestrial biomass is usually fractionated and the collected components, such as starch, are processed separately. Such a separation has not been reported for seaweeds. In this work, the direct hydrothermal processing of the whole green seaweed Ulva sp. biomass is compared to processing of separated starch and cellulose, to find the preferable route for monosaccharide, hydrochar, and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) production. Glucose was the major released monosaccharide. A significant share of the glucose yield comes from the starch fraction. The highest hydrochar yield with the lowest ash content was obtained from the separated cellulose fraction. The highest PHA yield was obtained using a whole Ulva sp. hydrolysate fermentation with Haloferax mediterranei. Economic analysis shows the advantage of direct Ulva sp. biomass fermentation to PHA. The co-production of glucose and hydrochar does not add significant economic benefits to the process under plausible prices of the two outputs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number124263
JournalBioresource Technology
Volume318
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Biofuel
  • Biorefinery
  • Cellulose
  • Economic analysis
  • Glucose
  • Hydrochar
  • Marine starch
  • Polyhydroxyalkanoates
  • Seaweed
  • Subcritical hydrolysis
  • Ulva sp.

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