Nutrient Recovery from Algae Residues Using Mild Oxidative Treatment

Jacob Kruger, Tobias Hull, Kameron Adams, Earl Christensen, Tao Dong, Nick Nagle, Philip Pienkos

Research output: NRELPoster


Algal biorefining to fuels and chemicals frequently requires both fuel production and nutrient recycle pathways. Mild Oxidative Treatment (MOT) is a promising wet oxidation route that simultaneously converts nitrogen and carbon in algae hydrolysate and extracted residues into ammonia and carboxylic acids (up to C5), respectively. The latter can be converted to sustainable aviation fuel by ketonization, condensation, and hydrodeoxygenation. We show that for a Scenedesmus algae under certain oxidation conditions, the nitrogen in the residues can be converted quantitatively to ammonia and recovered by cation exchange, while almost half of the carbon can be converted to carboxylic acids, mainly acetic acid. At the same time, we also show that soluble phosphorus in the form of phosphate can be selectively recovered by anion exchange, leaving a clean aqueous carboxylic acid stream for upgrading to fuels.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePresented at the Symposium on Biomaterials, Fuels and Chemicals (SBFC), 1-4 May 2022, New Orleans. Louisiana

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-2800-82819


  • algae
  • mild oxidative treatment
  • nutrient recycle
  • wet oxidation


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