Biodiesel is a renewable energy source produced from triglycerides and fatty acids present in naturally occurring fats and oils. In Brazil the use of the biodiesel is authorized at 3% proportion which creates a domestic market of approximately 800 million liters per year for this fuel, making possible to save more than US$ 160 million per year as a consequence from the trade reduction in petrofuels. By 2013, it will be mandatory blends with 5% biodiesel (B5), increasing the demand for this biofuel. Such growth, however, demands an evolution in the process system to turn the final product more efficient, environmental favorable at more competitive costs. It has been identified that the cost of raw materials (this refers to fats and oils) accounts for more than 70% of the biodiesel production cost. For biodiesel to play an active role in our energy needs, it requires to be produced at a much lower price while still meeting the Brazilian fuel standards as set up by National Agency of the Petroleum (ANP). Seeking to contribute for this development, the objective of this project is to use low cost lipid raw materials, particularly from micro-organisms (e.g. algae), as lipid source for biodiesel production by ethyl route. The target is to perform transesterification enzymatic reactions using the oil extracted from micro algae to obtain ethyl esters (biodiesel) having physico-chemical properties suitable for use as diesel fuel and can be used in cycle diesel motors without any modification. The main aspects that will be investigated are: selection of lipid highly producing micro algae strains, cultivation and oil extraction from the selected algae, fatty acids characterization, and finally, the evaluation of the oil extracted as starting material for biodiesel synthesis. This approach will allow minimizing the socioeconomic effects and the related environmental concerning. The proposed project incorporates the main research line in the Laboratory of Biocatalysis from Engineering School of Lorena and will contribute to create a national skill for replacing lipid from oleaginous sources (agriculture) by micro algae sources as potential raw material. In this context, the initiatives of this project are essential and can be contributed to obtain data that, at the moment, is scarce in Brazil, allowing in near future to evaluate the feasibility of the global process.
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