Biodiesel production from wet microalgae feedstock using sequential wet extraction/transesterification and direct transesterification processes.

Research paper by Ching-Lung CL Chen, Chien-Chang CC Huang, Kao-Chia KC Ho, Ping-Xuan PX Hsiao, Meng-Shan MS Wu, Jo-Shu JS Chang

Indexed on: 22 Jul '15Published on: 22 Jul '15Published in: Bioresource Technology


Although producing biodiesel from microalgae seems promising, there is still a lack of technology for the quick and cost-effective conversion of biodiesel from wet microalgae. This study was aimed to develop a novel microalgal biodiesel producing method, consisting of an open system of microwave disruption, partial dewatering (via combination of methanol treatment and low-speed centrifugation), oil extraction, and transesterification without the pre-removal of the co-solvent, using Chlamydomonas sp. JSC4 with 68.7 wt% water content as the feedstock. Direct transesterification with the disrupted wet microalgae was also conducted. The biomass content of the wet microalgae increased to 56.6 and 60.5 wt%, respectively, after microwave disruption and partial dewatering. About 96.2% oil recovery was achieved under the conditions of: extraction temperature, 45°C; hexane/methanol ratio, 3:1; extraction time, 80 min. Transesterification of the extracted oil reached 97.2% conversion within 15 min at 45°C and 6:1 solvent/methanol ratio with simultaneous Chlorophyll removal during the process. Nearly 100% biodiesel conversion was also obtained while conducting direct transesterification of the disrupted oil-bearing microalgal biomass.