Improved methane production and energy recovery of post-hydrothermal liquefaction waste water via integration of zeolite adsorption and anaerobic digestion

Ruirui Li, Dianlei Liu, Yifeng Zhang, Na Duan*, Jialiang Zhou, Zhidan Liu, Yuanhui Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

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Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is a promising technology for converting organic wastes into bio-crude oil, with organic-rich post-hydrothermal liquefaction wastewater (PHWW) as by-product. In this study, zeolite adsorption and anaerobic digestion (AD) were integrated to improve the methane production and energy recovery of PHWW from Chlorella 1067. A statistical design for maximum toxicants removal by zeolite was applied before AD process. Zeolite could mitigate the inhibition associated to compounds such as ammonia, N-heterocyclic compounds, etc. in PHWW and thereby shortening the lag phase and increasing methane production by 32–117% compared with that without zeolite adsorption. Zeolite adsorption also increased energy recovery efficiency (up to 70.5%) for this integrated system. Integration of HTL and AD brought higher energetic return from feedstock via oil and biomethane production, which may offer insight into industrial application of microalgae biomass in the circular economy. In addition, carbon and nitrogen flow for the integrated process was determined.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue numberPart 1
Pages (from-to)61-69
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Post-hydrothermal liquefaction wastewater
  • Zeolite
  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Energy recovery
  • Microalgae

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