Ashik Sathish and Ronald C. Sims
Microalgae are a source of renewable oil for liquid fuels. However, costs for dewatering/drying, extraction, and processing have limited commercial scale production of biodiesel from algal biomass. A wet lipid extraction procedure was developed that was capable of extracting 79% of transesterifiable lipids from wet algal biomass (84% moisture) via acid and base hydrolysis (90°C and ambient pressures), and 76% of those extracted lipids were isolated, by further processing, and converted to FAMEs. Furthermore, the procedure was capable of removing chlorophyll contamination of the algal lipid extract through precipitation. In addition, the procedure generated side streams that serve as feedstocks for microbial conversion to additional bioproducts. The capability of the procedure to extract lipids from wet algal biomass, to reduce/remove chlorophyll contamination, to potentially reduce organic solvent demand, and to generate feedstocks for high-value bioproducts presents opportunities to reduce costs of scaling up algal lipid extraction for biodiesel production.
Sathish, A. & Sims, R. C. Biodiesel from Mixed Culture Algae via a Wet Lipid Extraction Procedure. Bioresource Technology doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2012.05.118 (2012)
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