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Biodiesel production from microalgae through in situ supercritical transesterification

Grant number: 14/10064-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2014
Effective date (End): July 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering
Principal Investigator:Rubens Maciel Filho
Grantee:Luisa Fernanda Rios Pinto
Home Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia Química (FEQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/20630-4 - Biorefinery development integrated to a bioethanol sugar cane plant with zero CO2 emission: routes to convert renewable resources to bio-products and bio-electricity, AP.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):15/19935-5 - Study of the treating wastewater for bioenergy production using microalgae, BE.EP.PD


Currently, the development of several fuels and renewable energy sources, which are able to maintain or exceed the effectiveness of fossil hydrocarbons are extensively researched. Amoung them is the biodiesel, which is a biodegradable fuel derived from renewable source; it can be obtained from animal fats, vegetable oils or biomass. Microalgae, potentially, offer a number of advantages as a fat source, such as high photosynthetic rate. Compared to other oil sources and the processes currently researched, they are not economically viable, but the production rate has to improved. Two processes that influence the cost of biodiesel production from microalgae biomass is the process of lipid extraction and transesterification. These processes require high amounts of solvents and long reaction times. The transesterification reaction generally is carried out by acid catalysis, which requires catalyst removal order to purify the final product. This project proposes the study of the extraction and transesterification in supercritical conditions of biomass generated by the growth of microalgae Chorella vulgaris and Desmodesmus sp in fotobioreator. The transesterification process has advantages in supercritical conditions compared to the catalyzed transesterification since this process is more selective, higher conversions are obtained, by-products separation is easier and therefore a cleaner product is obtained. The objective of this proposal is to integrate these two processes and conduct an extraction and in situ transesterification in supercritical conditions using CO2 and ethanol, with the aim of reduce the production cost.

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
FERREIRA, G. F.; RIOS PINTO, L. F.; MACIEL FILHO, R.; FREGOLENTE, L. V. A review on lipid production from microalgae: Association between cultivation using waste streams and fatty acid profiles. RENEWABLE & SUSTAINABLE ENERGY REVIEWS, v. 109, p. 448-466, JUL 2019. Web of Science Citations: 0.
RIOS, L. F.; MARTINEZ, A.; KLEIN, B. C.; WOLF MACIEL, M. R.; MACIEL FILHO, R. Comparison of Growth and Lipid Accumulation at Three Different Growth Regimes with Desmodesmus sp.. WASTE AND BIOMASS VALORIZATION, v. 9, n. 3, p. 421-427, MAR 2018. Web of Science Citations: 1.

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