Algae-based biomethane fuel purification and carbon sequestration: an integrated approach

The Supergen Bioenergy Hub funded project “Algae-based biomethane fuel purification and carbon
sequestration: an integrated approach” aims to develop and assess an innovative process for the simultaneous production of high purity biomethane as a potential natural gas vehicle (NGV) fuel, together with the sequestration of remaining biomass and biogas carbon into algal co-product and biochar. The proposed system combines AD of biomass with an algae-based CO2 extraction and recovery process to yield fuel-grade biomethane and algal biomass, which can either be recycled to increase AD gas yields or sold as a separate higher value product. Hydrothermal carbonisation (HTC) is used to dry and stabilise the AD digestate into solid biochar for long-term carbon storage, whilst residual nutrients are recovered and used for further algae cultivation.

The outcomes from the proposed project have the potential to have numerous important impacts on the UK’s anaerobic digestion industry and the wider bioenergy sector. This process would make the AD technology more economically competitive by introducing additional value streams and help to lower the barriers for the installation
of new AD systems, changing the marketability of biomass and helping to realise the predicted growth potential. An additional benefit of using algae to sequester carbon is the potential to recycle this additional biomass as a feedstock for more biogas production which would result in additional profit. This increased profitability would decrease the price of the process, opening opportunities for investment in new plants.

The project has published a paper which you can read here.

Tanja Radu

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