One-pot algal biodiesel production in supercritical carbon dioxide

Abstract 147

Lindsay Soh [1],
Julie Zimmerman [1],[2].

To advance the realization of algae as a feedstock for biodiesel, process technologies and closed-loop biomass use must be optimized.

Life-cycle analysis (LCA) of the biodiesel production process highlights the potential significant impact of a more effective single-step lipid extraction and transesterification process.

This work investigates the fundamental science necessary to achieve a one-pot approach that both extracts and transesterifies lipid from algae using supercritical carbon dioxide/methanol (scCO2/MeOH) and heterogeneous catalysts. A variety of both basic and acidic heterogeneous catalysts have been surveyed for their effectiveness at transesterification of triglyceride (TAG) to fatty acid methyl esters (FAME).

Further the enhanced solubility of FAME over reaction intermediates, TAG, and glycerol, has been shown to provide a driving force for the reaction.

This research offers the foundations for a simple one-pot system wherein biodiesel can be directly, selectively, and sustainably produced from algae for further application in an algae biorefinery.

(1) Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, United States
(2) School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, United States