The production of Biodiesel from Algae using flocculation and Nanoparticles

10 February 2023, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Although fossil fuels propelled society to our current level of technology, the future of energy lies in renewable resources, beginning with vehicles. Despite accounting for only 5% of total vehicles in the US, medium to heavy-duty trucks that run on diesel fuel account for an astounding 23% of annual CO2 emissions in the transportation sector. The full implementation of greener biodiesel is frequently regarded as an impractical method of pollution reduction because the production of such biodiesel competes directly with the agricultural industry for available arable land. (“Optimizing Nannochloropsis Growing Conditions for ...”) Energy-dense algae are better biodiesel feedstocks because they avoid many of the issues that current biodiesel feedstocks do, and their potential can be used to propel the biodiesel industry into the future of sustainable energy. Because of its high productivity and lipid content, Nannochloropsis is a promising algae genus. The research shows how to quantify the constituent fatty acid type and composition in order to optimize the growing medium composition for increased biodiesel quality while maintaining high productivity (GC). The algae are grown in three 2.5 L glass jugs with three different nitrate and phosphate concentrations. Throughout the trials, a growing "1/2" medium is used. A flocculating solution of aluminum sulfate and vacuum filtration are used to harvest the algae. In situ transesterification is used to maximize fatty acid conversion into fatty acid methyl esters, which are then analyzed using GC. After 32 days of growth, the algae grown in low, medium, and high nutrient concentrations had average absorbance values (a measure of biomass concentration) at 750 nm of 0.91, 0.99, and 1.18, respectively. In a low nutrient concentration, the maximum monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) concentration of 62.68 percent of total fatty acids was achieved, corresponding to high-quality biodiesel. This study resulted in a scientific breakthrough by maximizing both the quality of biodiesel produced, which is superior to any currently available biodiesel, and the quantity, with a productivity that is more than one hundred times that of current biodiesel feedstocks. The research also discusses nano-technology application that concluded nanomaterials could stimulate microorganism metabolism, implying that including nanomaterials in cultivation could boost microalgae lipid production. Furthermore, the use of nanomaterials could improve the efficiency of lipid extraction while causing no harm to the microalgae., as well as the research needs and future directions for sustainable microalgal biofuel production. Since we did not have access to the materials needed, the information gathered in this study was culled from a variety of sources.


Renewable fuels


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