Nitrogen Migration and Transformation during Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Livestock Manures

Jianwen Lu, Hugang Li, Yuanhui Zhang, Zhidan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nitrogen flow and fate critically affects the hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of protein-rich feedstock such as livestock manure and algae. It also impacts the downstream process of HTL aqueous and oil products. Here, we reveal the migration and transformation pathways of nitrogen during HTL of typical livestock manures using combined gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) and Fourier transform-ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) analysis. Over 37% of nitrogen in the manure migrated to the aqueous phase in all HTL experimental trials, except for beef manure. GC-MS results indicated that the nitrogen compounds in the biocrude oil were mainly long chain amides, whereas in the aqueous phase the compounds were mainly small molecules of pyrazines, pyrroles, and pyridines. FT-ICR MS identified that N1O1, N2, and N2O1 species were dominant in the biocrude oil, while the nitrogen-containing compounds in the aqueous phase primarily took the form of N2O2 and N2O3. Five reaction pathways were proposed for the transformation of nitrogen during HTL. This study first characterized the transformation of nitrogenous compounds during HTL of livestock manures, which could be greatly beneficial to biocrude production, oil quality, and aqueous utilization in future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13570-13578
Number of pages9
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Biocrude oil
  • Hydrothermal liquefaction
  • Livestock manure
  • Nitrogen transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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