Archivos de Biotecnología Industrial


Cost Effective Environmental Friendly Sustainable Bio-Refinery Approach for Biofuel Production from Algae

Manjushri Deodhar

Depletion of fossil fuel sources is great global problem. Furthermore continued consumption of fossil fuels has created serious environmental consequences of Global warming due to increased release of Green House Gases. Bio-fuels are one of the potential options to reduce world dependence on fossil fuels but bio fuels have their limitations. The majority of current commercially available biofuels are produced from Sugar cane, Corn starch, and oil crops such as soy beans or rape seeds. Although bio fuels are environmental friendly than fossil fuels there is some dispute that whether these crop based bio fuels should be used in place of fossil fuels. To produce bio fuels from algae could be an alternative approach that does not have an impact on agriculture. Unicellular microalgae have been proposed for long time as a potential renewable fuel source (Benemann et al. 1977, Oswald & Gorule 1960). Microalgae are estimated to have higher biomass productivity in terms of land area required for cultivation and predicted to have lower cost per yield. Algal feed stock can be utilized directly or processed in to liquid biofuels and gas by variety of biochemical conversions or thermochemical processes (Amin 2009, Brennan & Owende 2010) Culturing of the microalgae as an alternative feedstock for the bio fuel production has received a lot of attention in the recent years due to their fast growth rate and ability to accumulate the high quantities of lipids and carbohydrates inside their cells for biodiesel and bio ethanol production. This superior feedstock offers several benefits such as effective land utilization, CO2 sequestration, when coupled with the waste water treatment, and it does not trigger the food v/s fuel feud. In the last decade, there is a heavy capital investment in the algae production industry. Because of many practical reasons like a failure in the implementation of lab technologies on-field and failure in making the processes economically affordable, the companies were forced to shut down. (Lam and Lee, 2011).