Aquatic biomass refinery: Co-production of bioenergy and high value biochemical from aquatic biomass native to Abu Dhabi

  • Rashed Farzanah

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Macro algae has been shown to be a significant source of carbohydrates, protein, lipids as well as other high value chemicals (secondary metabolites), However, compared to micro algae, little research has been done on its potential for biofuel production.. In this research, 8 macro algae species from Abu Dhabi islands were sampled over a two year period. . Three species of macro algae were selected for further analysis to determine their biofuel potential. Ulva sp., Padina boergesenii, and Colpomenia sinuosa were selected based on two parameters; they were the most abundant species found around Abu Dhabi shoreline and they all contain significant amounts of carbohydrate. Composition analysis as well as elemental analysis was carried out for Ulva Sp, Padina boergeseni, and Colpomenia sinuosa . A significant amount of glucan was found in all three species ranging from 7.3% in Ulva sp., and 8.05% in Padina boergeseni to 9.5% in Colpomenia sinuosa. The total amount of carbohydrate was 20% for Ulva Sp., and 13% for both Padina boergeseni and Colpomenia sinuosa. Based on elemental analysis the theoretical biogas potential was calculated at 411 ml/gVS for Ulva sp., 368 ml/gVS for Padina boergeseni, 388 ml/gVS for Colpomenia sinuosa. Enzymatic hydrolysis of the 3 macro algae species showed low cellulose to glucose convertibility, suggesting the need for biomass pretreatment prior to enzymatic hydrolysis. Anaerobic digestion of the three macro algae samples digesting with sludge from a local waste water treatment plant was carried out at two different loadings; 0.2% and 0.5%. The results show a high methane yield for all three sampled species at 0.2 and 0.5% VS, with Ulva Sp yielding much higher methane production compared to Padina boergeseni and Colpomenia sinuosa. Biogas production for Ulva. sp. was carried out at 1%, 3%, and 5% VS loading. These results showed that the highest specific methane production for Ulva sp. was observed for samples with 1% VS reaching 223 ml g VS-1 after 27 days.
Date of Award2014
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorMette H. Thomsen (Supervisor)


  • Biomass Chemicals; Plant Biomass; Biomass Energy; Biotechnology.

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