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Biogas from microalgae: an overview emphasizing pretreatment methods and their energy return on investment (EROI)

  • Aline de Luna Marques
  • Ofélia de Queiroz Fernandes Araújo
  • Magali Christe Cammarota
Review
  • 29 Downloads

Abstract

Studies have reported enhancements in methane yield from pretreatment methods that benefit the anaerobic digestion (AD) of microalgae. However, energy return on investment (EROI), i.e., methane production enhancement achieved over energy input, may be unfavorable. Aiming to quantify EROI of AD microalgae pretreatment, about 180 experiments applied to 30 microalgae biomasses were compiled through an extensive literature survey, classified into 4 pretreatments (physical, enzymatic, chemical, and hybrid), and analyzed. Most of these pretreatments enhanced methane yield, especially the enzymatic alternative. EROI was evaluated for the most efficient pretreatments. Only in one thermal pretreatment the energy resulting from the increase in methane production exceeded the energy demanded by the biomass pretreatment (EROI 6.8) and other two thermal pretreatments presented EROI 1. The other pretreatments presented EROI < 1, concluding that none of the evaluated methods was energy-efficient. Feasibility of pretreatment requires advancements in low energy-demanding strategies and outstanding biomass densification.

Keywords

Microalgae Pretreatment Anaerobic digestion Biogas Energy balance EROI 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by grants from the Brazilian National Council for Research and Development (CNPq), and Carlos Chagas Filho Foundation for Research Support in the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ), which are acknowledged by the authors.

Supporting information

Supplementary Table 1—Results of solubilization and methane yield after different pretreatments of biomass.

Supplementary Figures 1 to 5—Correlations solubilization- methane yield for thermal, ultrasound, alkaline, enzymatic, and combined pretreatments of whole microalgae biomass.

Supplementary material

10529_2018_2629_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1474 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ChemistryFederal University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

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