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Bioresour Technol. 2011 Feb;102(3):2595-604. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2010.10.010. Epub 2010 Oct 14.

Bioenergy potential of Ulva lactuca: biomass yield, methane production and combustion.

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Aarhus University, National Environmental Research Institute, Silkeborg, Denmark.


The biomass production potential at temperate latitudes (56°N), and the quality of the biomass for energy production (anaerobic digestion to methane and direct combustion) were investigated for the green macroalgae, Ulva lactuca. The algae were cultivated in a land based facility demonstrating a production potential of 45T (TS) ha(-1) y(-1). Biogas production from fresh and macerated U. lactuca yielded up to 271 ml CH(4) g(-1) VS, which is in the range of the methane production from cattle manure and land based energy crops, such as grass-clover. Drying of the biomass resulted in a 5-9-fold increase in weight specific methane production compared to wet biomass. Ash and alkali contents are the main challenges in the use of U. lactuca for direct combustion. Application of a bio-refinery concept could increase the economical value of the U. lactuca biomass as well as improve its suitability for production of bioenergy.

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