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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: VEGETABLE OIL-BASED FUELS, ADDITIVES AND COPRODUCTS

Location: Bio-oils Research Unit

Title: Will biodiesel fuels derived from algae perform?

Author
item Knothe, Gerhard

Submitted to: Annual Meeting and Expo of the American Oil Chemists' Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 22, 2010
Publication Date: May 1, 2011
Citation: Knothe, G.H. 2011. Will biodiesel fuels derived from algae perform? {abstract} Annual Meeting and Expo of the American Oil Chemists' Society. p. 67.

Technical Abstract: The issue of sufficient supply and availability of feedstock is one of the major non-technical issues affecting the widespread commercialization of biodiesel. Another aspect is the food vs. fuel issue that biofuels should not be produced from edible feedstocks. In these connections, lipid-producing microorganisms, algae, have recently found considerable attention. Most research has been focused on production-related issues such as growth and harvesting of the algae as well as obtaining the oils. The fatty acid profiles of many algal oils have been reported. However, hardly any reports deal with fuel properties and performance of the corresponding biodiesel fuels. Therefore, the properties and performance must be estimated from the fatty acid profiles. As the fatty acid profiles of many algal oils contain significant amounts of saturated (palmitic acid probably being the most common fatty acid in algal oils) and polyunsaturated fatty acids, biodiesel fuels derived from them would likely exhibit problematic cold flow and oxidative stability behavior. Therefore, it appears advisable that research on algae-derived biodiesel fuels should also focus on producing oils with fatty acid profiles more suitable for this purpose.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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