Energy, exergy, and environmental analyses of renewable hydrogen production through plasma gasification of microalgal biomass

Po Chih Kuo, Biju Illathukandy, Wei Wu, Jo Shu Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, an energy, exergy, and environmental (3E) analyses of a plasma-assisted hydrogen production process from microalgae is investigated. Four different microalgal biomass fuels, namely, raw microalgae (RM) and three torrefied microalgal fuels (TM200, TM250, and TM300), are used as the feedstock for steam plasma gasification to generate syngas and hydrogen. The effects of steam-to-biomass (S/B) ratio on the syngas and hydrogen yields, and energy and exergy efficiencies of plasma gasification (ηEn,PG, ηEx,PG) and hydrogen production (ηEn,H2, ηEx,H2) are taken into account. Results show that the optimal S/B ratios of RM, TM200, TM250, and TM300 are 0.354, 0.443, 0.593, and 0.760 respectively, occurring at the carbon boundary points (CBPs), where the maximum values of ηEn,PG, ηEx,PG, ηEn,H2, and ηEx,H2 are also achieved. At CBPs, torrefied microalgae as feedstock lower the ηEn,PG, ηEx,PG, ηEn,H2, and ηEx,H2 because of their improved calorific value after undergoing torrefaction, and the increased plasma energy demand compared to the RM. However, beyond CBPs the torrefied feedstock displays better performance. A comparative life cycle analysis indicates that TM300 exhibits the highest greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and the lowest net energy ratio (NER), due to the indirect emissions associated with electricity consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120025
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Pollution
  • Energy(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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