A major challenge for next decades is development of competitive renewable energy sources, highly needed to compensate fossil fuels reserves and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Among different possibilities, which are currently under investigation, there is the exploitation of unicellular algae for production of biofuels and biodiesel in particular. Microalgae have the ability of accumulating large amount of lipids within their cells which can be exploited as feedstock for the production of biodiesel. The lipid content of different species of microalgae can range from 30%-70% of their dry weight. In this project a microalgae with lipid content of 60.095% was used. This means that 26gms of oil was obtained from 42gms of microalgae sample from which 17.624gm of biodiesel (FAME) was found at the end of transesterification. Algae biofuels avoid some of the previous drawbacks associated with crop-based biofuels as the algae do not compete with food crops. The favorable growing conditions found in many developing countries has led to a great deal of speculation about their potentials for reducing oil imports, stimulating rural economies, and even tackling hunger and poverty. Strong research efforts are however still needed to fulfill this potential and optimize cultivation systems and biomass harvesting.
International Letters of Natural Sciences (Volume 32)
D. Zeru et al., "Low Cost Alternative Fuel from Biomass", International Letters of Natural Sciences, Vol. 32, pp. 1-10, 2015