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Title (Primary) Holistic exploitation of pulsed electric field (PEF)-treated and lipid extracted microalgae Auxenochlorella protothecoides, utilizing anaerobic digestion (AD)
Author Straessner, R.; Nikolausz, M.; Silve, A.; Nazarova, N.; Wuestner, R.; Papachristou, I.; Akaberi, S.; Leber, K.; Mueller, G.; Frey, W.
Journal Algal Research
Year 2023
Department UMB
Volume 69
Page From art. 102950
Language englisch
Topic T7 Bioeconomy
Abstract

This study proposes a cascade processing of the lipid-rich microalgae Auxenochlorella protothecoides. Freshly harvested biomass is pre-concentrated to 100 g/kgsusp and then pretreated using pulsed electric fields (PEF). PEF-treatment, which affects permeability of cells membrane, induces a spontaneous release of microalgal ingredients into the surrounding medium, mostly carbohydrates and micronutrients, which can be recovered. After separation of this aqueous fraction, lipid extraction is performed on the remaining wet pellet using an ethanol-hexane blend. After recovery of those different valuables, it was considered, to convert the rest biomass (cell envelope and most of the other remaining hard- or non-extractable components), to storable energy. Anaerobic digestion (AD) of the remains to biogas was considered to be a promising solution. AD-processes have the charm that unprocessed wet microalgal biomass, as well as wet organic biomass residues from previous extraction steps can be utilized directly without further purification or drying steps. The obtained biogas can then be upgraded to methane for an energetic use.

PEF-treated algal biomass showed a 10 % increased methane outcome (467 mLnorm/gVS) compared to the untreated sample. PEF-treated microalgae, subjected to extraction of the aqueous fraction, demonstrated a 23 % increase in methane yield (558 mLnorm/gVS), compared to control. Finally, the biomass, PEF-treated and subjected to extraction of water fraction and lipids, still achieved 41 % of methane potential (205 mLnorm/gVS) during the AD process, compared to the untreated control.

Our study demonstrates the feasibility of cascade processing using PEF-treatment. Moreover, all the study was developed keeping in mind industrial requirements. In particular, our downstream approach did not require any drying, the pretreatment required low amount of energy, i.e. 1.5 MJ/kgCDW and the majority of the biomass was valorized. Since all techniques used, especially PEF-pretreatment, can be up-scaled, we believe this approach has great potential for implementation in industry.

Persistent UFZ Identifier https://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=20939&ufzPublicationIdentifier=26032
Straessner, R., Nikolausz, M., Silve, A., Nazarova, N., Wuestner, R., Papachristou, I., Akaberi, S., Leber, K., Mueller, G., Frey, W. (2023):
Holistic exploitation of pulsed electric field (PEF)-treated and lipid extracted microalgae Auxenochlorella protothecoides, utilizing anaerobic digestion (AD)
Algal Res. 69 , art. 102950