Thermochemical biofuel production in hydrothermal media: A review of sub- and supercritical water technologies
Journal article, 2008

Hydrothermal technologies are broadly defined as chemical and physical transformations in high-temperature (200–600° C), high-pressure (5–40 MPa) liquid or supercritical water. This thermochemical means of reforming biomass may have energetic advantages, since, when water is heated at high pressures a phase change to steam is avoided which avoids large enthalpic energy penalties. Biological chemicals undergo a range of reactions, including dehydration and decarboxylation reactions, which are influenced by the emperature, pressure, concentration, and presence of homogeneous or heterogeneous catalysts. Several biomass hydrothermal conversion processes are in development or demonstration. Liquefaction processes are generally lower temperature (200–400° C) reactions which produce liquid products, often called ‘‘bio-oil’’ or ‘‘bio-crude’’. Gasification processes generally take place at higher temperatures (400–700° C) and can produce methane or hydrogen gases in high yields.


Andrew A. Peterson

Paul Scherrer Institut

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Frederic Vogel

Paul Scherrer Institut

Morgan Fröling

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chemical Environmental Science

Russell P Lachance

University of Hawaii

Jefferson W. Tester

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Energy and Environmental Sciences

1754-5692 (ISSN)

Vol. 1 1 32-65

Subject Categories

Energy Engineering

Chemical Process Engineering

Other Environmental Engineering

Chemical Sciences



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