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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: Production and properties of biodiesel from algal oils

Author
item Knothe, Gerhard

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: January 2, 2011
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Citation: Knothe, G.H. 2013. Production and properties of biodiesel from algal oils. In: Borowitzka, M.A., Moheimani, N.R., editors. Algae for Biofuels and Energy, Developments in Applied Phycology, Vol. 5. New York, NY: Springer. p. 207-221.

Technical Abstract: Biodiesel is an alternative to petroleum-based conventional diesel fuel (petrodiesel). A major issue facing biodiesel is sufficient supply of feedstock to replace significant amounts of petrodiesel. This issue has caused a search for sources of triacylglycerol-based oils with high production potential. Algae have been identified as such a potential source and, therefore, have been generating considerable interest. This article compiles the fatty acid profile of numerous algal oils and evaluates the production and likely fuel properties of biodiesel derived from them, as related comprehensive research is not, or only hardly available, as algae research has largely dealt with enhancing production levels. Production is usually accomplished by acid-catalyzed transesterification due to the high free fatty acid content of the algal oils. Palmitic acid is probably the most common component of the fatty acid profile of algal oils, together with polyunsaturated fatty acids of various chain lengths and unsaturation levels. Therefore, it appears likely that further development of algae will need to address fuel properties including technical issues, such as cold flow and oxidative stability, which also face biodiesel derived from conventional vegetable oils.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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