ABO 2013: UT Unveils Disruptive Biofuels Technology

Dr. Rhykka Connelly of the Center for Electromechanics and Dr. Halil Berberoglu of the Cockrell School of Engineering announced their patent-pending Solar Driven Hydrothermal Liquefaction (SD-HTL) process at the 7th annual Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) conference in Orlando, FL, Sept 30th- Oct 3rd.

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The HTL technology, first described in 1998, is modeled on the natural process of fossil crude oil formation by compacting and heating the Earth’s flora within the earth’s crust over the course of the millennia. Like the natural process, the HTL process applies heat and pressure to convert up to 65% of a feedstock’s organic fraction (lipids + carbohydrates + protein + nucleic acids) to biocrude, only much faster (within minutes). As widely reported at the ABO conference, this process is slightly energy favorable, even accounting for electrical inputs to drive the process.The UT SD-HTL platform provides the required electrical input with concentrated solar energy that is focused into a high energy beam. The energy provided by the solar concentrator is in excess of the energy needed to convert the biomass-to-biocrude. By coupling these two technologies in a novel way, UT has what many conference participants declared, “transformed the economics of producing biofuels from biomass”. Drs. Connelly and Berberoglu are following up with potential industrial sponsors to demonstrate the SD-HTL technology on a larger scale at the JJ Pickle Research Campus.



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MP4 version of the HTL process video can be viewed here.

WMV version of the HTL process video can be viewed here.

For more information please contact
Dr. Rhykka Connelly
512.232.1633
r.connelly@cem.utexas.edu

 
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