Azolla is a fresh-water fern that has proven to be highly useful in paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Speelman et al. (2009) reported a unique biomarker set for Azolla, which could be used as an indicator of its past occurrence. The presence of these biomarkers in Eocene sediments (~50 Ma) indicates a good preservation potential, but their suitability for more mature sediments is unclear. Hydrous pyrolysis, a method that simulates natural maturation, was used to 1) assess the thermal stability of these biomarkers, 2) identify any degradation products, and 3) provide a means to reconstruct the maturation temperature of the host sediments. Using hydrous pyrolysis, also the thermal hydrocarbon production of Azolla could be investigated, which is useful to evaluate Azolla’s potential as a biofuel. For comparison, anaerobic digestion experiments were carried out to determine the biological production of gas for Azolla. This master’s thesis therefore consists of two different reports, one on the thermal stability of the Azolla specific biomarkers, the other on the potential of Azolla as a biofuel source
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