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Comprehensive Multiphase NMRA Powerful Tool to Understand and Monitor Molecular Processes during Biofuel Production

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journal contribution
posted on 17.11.2020, 23:29 by Paris Ning, Daniel Lane, Ronald Soong, Daniel Schmidig, Thomas Frei, Peter De Castro, Ivan Kovacevic, Stephan Graf, Sebastian Wegner, Falko Busse, Jochem Struppe, Michael Fey, Henry Stronks, Martine Monette, Myrna J. Simpson, André J. Simpson
Considered as a promising source of sustainable energy, biofuel produced from algae holds many advantages. However, to truly understand the production process and assess the potential for further optimization, a novel analytical technique is needed. Comprehensive multiphase (CMP)-NMR is introduced as a potentially powerful tool for the biofuel industry. CMP-NMR combines all aspects of solution and solid-state NMR into a single probe, permitting the detection and differentiation of liquids, gels, and solids in intact multiphase samples. Here, algal biomass is subjected to subcritical water extraction, where the effects of feedstock species, reaction temperatures, and the presence of a catalyst are investigated. The distribution of organic components (i.e., lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins) across phases (liquid, gel, and solid) under various reaction conditions provides the understanding required to further optimize both targeted and nontargeted extraction processes. This provides the basis to not only increase the efficiency of the main fuel-related products but also understand the useful “byproducts”, such as animal feed from the protein-rich solid residue. The goal of this study is to act as a proof-of-concept, demonstrating the considerable potential of CMP-NMR to monitor and understand biofuel-related processes at the molecular level.