MICROALGAE BIO-REFINERY: THE HIDDEN FUEL REAP

Autores: Man Kee Lam¹ ² , Uganeeswary Suparmaniam² , Jun Wei Lim ² ³

1 Senior Lecturer of Chemical Engineering Department, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, 32610 Seri Iskandar, Perak, Malaysia. Email: lam.mankee@utp.edu.my
2 Researcher of Centre for Biofuel and Biochemical Research (CBBR-HICoE), Institute of Self-Sustainable Building, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, 32610 Seri Iskandar, Perak, Malaysia.
3 Senior Lecturer of Fundamental and Applied Sciences Department, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, 32610 Seri Iskandar, Perak, Malaysia.

 

The speedy growth of human population in this era has increased global energy demand and it is expected to increase by 50% or more by 2030 (Shuba & Kifle, 2018) . While most of the humankind activities are largely dependent on primary natural source of energy – fossil fuel which is a non- renewable energy, source exhaustion has become a major concern worldwide. Extensive use of fóssil fuels for power generation and as transportation fuel have spurred uplift trend of environmental disorders and climate change, whose solution is a search for sources of green fuels (Milano et al., 2016) . Biomass, a renewable source of carbon-rich feedstock that is amendable to transform into biofuels have emerged as notable resource due to its abundance and vast distribution (Garcia-Moscoso, Obeid, Kumar, & Hatcher, 2013) . Unlike fóssil fuels, biofuels that generated from biomass are biodegradable, non-toxic and have lower greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions when burn in diesel engine (Demirbas & Fatih Demirbas, 2011). Owing to these enormous potentials of biomass for biofuel production, the International Energy Agency expects that biofuel will contribute 6% of the total fuel used by 2030. Since the cost of biofuel production mainly counts the commodity consumption, the availability of cheap feedstock has always been the target of biofuel developer to meet the global demand for affordable energy (Chen et al., 2013). Due to the limited availability of low-cost feedstocks and competition for food source, the feedstock options for biodiesel production have switched from food-based crops (first-generation) or known as conventional biodiesel to non-edible oil (second-generation) such as waste cooking oil and jatropha oil (Buckley, 2008). However, due to regular irrigation, heavy fertilization and high concentration of free fatty acid (FFA) in the non-edible oil, the search for a more sustainable feedstock continues and now focuses on microalgae (third-generation) (Chen et al., 2013) . Energy cells such as microalgae are able to capture solar energy and mitigate CO2 into valuable energy commodities such as lipids, carbohydrates and proteins. It is estimated that microalgae could produce about 50% of global oxygen by converting CO2 into organic biomass and therefore, microalgae-derived biofuel is anticipated to be a green way to obtain energy while decreasing the net release of CO2 into the atmosphere. Microalgae have a speedy growth potential and having oil content ranging from 20-50% dry weight of biomass with capability of all year round production and hence, it has better yield than the best oilseed crop – oil palm (Brennan & Owende, 2010). Besides, microalgae also can be cultivated on non arable land and can be coupled with wastewater remediation to reduce the burden on freshwater sources. Table 1 shows the comparison of various feedstock for first-generation, second-generation and third-generation of biofuels production.

 

Acesse: www.energybss.com/magazine pag 29