Biofuels are viewed as promising alternatives to conventional fossil fuels because they have the potential to eliminate major environmental problems created by fossil fuels. Among the still developing biofuel technologies, biodiesel production from algae offers a greater prospect for large-scale practical use, as algae are capable of producing much more yield than other biofuels. While research on algae-based biofuel is still in its developing stage, extensive work on laboratory- and pilot-scale algae harvesting systems with promising prospects has been reported. This paper presented a discussion of the literature review on recent advances in algae separation, harvesting and drying for biofuel production. The review and discussion focus on destabilization of algae, algae harvesting technologies and algae drying processes. Challenges and prospects of algae harvesting are also outlined.
The world energy crisis and increased greenhouse gas emissions have driven the search for alternative and environmentally friendly renewable energy sources. According to life cycle analysis, microalgae biofuel is identified as one of the major renewable energy sources for sustainable development, with potential to replace the fossil-based fuels. Microalgae biofuel was devoid of the major drawbacks associated with oil crops and lignocelluloses-based biofuels. Algae-based biofuels are technically and economically viable and cost competitive, require no additional lands, require minimal water use, and mitigate atmospheric CO2. However, commercial production of microalgae biodiesel is still not feasible due to the low biomass concentration and costly downstream processes. The viability of microalgae biodiesel production can be achieved by designing advanced photobioreactors, developing low cost technologies for biomass harvesting, drying, and oil extraction. Commercial production can also be accomplished by improving the genetic engineering strategies to control environmental stress conditions and by engineering metabolic pathways for high lipid production. In addition, new emerging technologies such as algal-bacterial interactions for enhancement of microalgae growth and lipid production are also explored. This review focuses mainly on the problems encountered in the commercial production of microalgae biofuels and the possible techniques to overcome these difficulties.
Microalgae have caught the world's attention for its potential to solve one of the world's most pressing issues-sustainable green energy. Compared to biofuels supplied by oil palm, rapeseed, soybean and sugar cane, microalgae alone can be manipulated to generate larger amounts of biodiesel, bioethanol, biohydrogen and biomass in a shorter time. Apart from higher productivity, microalgae can also grow using brackish water on non-arable land, greatly reducing the competition with food and cash crops. Hence, numerous efforts have been put into the commercialisation of microalgae-derived biofuel by both the government and private bodies. This paper serves to review conventional and novel methods for microalgae culture and biomass harvest, as well as recent developments in techniques for microalgal biofuel production.
Nannochloropsis sp. wet biomass was directly transesterified under microwave (MW) irradiation in the presence of methanol and various alkali and acid catalyst. Two different types of direct transesterification (DT) were used; one step and two step transesterification. The biodiesel yield obtained from the MWDT was compared with that obtained using conventional method (lipid extraction followed by transesterification) and water bath heating DT method. Findings revealed that MWDT efficiencies were higher compared to water bath heating DT by at least 14.34% and can achieve a maximum of 43.37% with proper selection of catalysts. The use of combined catalyst (NaOH and H2SO4) increased the yield obtained by 2.3-folds (water bath heating DT) and 2.87-folds (MWDT) compared with the one step single alkaline catalyst respectively. The property of biodiesel produced by MWDT has high lubricating property, good cetane number and short carbon chain FAME's compared with water bath heating DT.
Astaxanthin, a carotenoid pigment found in several aquatic organisms, is responsible for the red colour of salmon, trout and crustaceans. In this study, astaxanthin production from freshwater microalga Chlorella sorokiniana and marine microalga Tetraselmis sp. was investigated. Cell growth and astaxanthin production were determined spectrophotometrically at 620 and 480 nm, respectively. Astaxanthin was extracted using acetone and measured subsequent to biomass removal. Aerated conditions favoured astaxanthin production in C. sorokiniana, whereas Tetraselmis sp. was best cultured under unaerated conditions. C. sorokiniana produced more astaxanthin with the highest yield reached at 7.83 mg/l in 6.0 mM in nitrate containing medium compared to Tetraselmis sp. which recorded the highest yield of only 1.96 mg/l in 1.5 mM nitrate containing medium. Production in C. sorokiniana started at the early exponential phase, indicating that astaxanthin may be a growth-associated product in this microalga. Further optimization of astaxanthin production was performed using C. sorokiniana through a 2(3) full factorial experimental design, and a yield of 8.39 mg/l was achieved. Overall, the study has shown that both microalgae are capable of producing astaxanthin. Additionally, this research has highlighted C. sorokiniana as a potential astaxanthin producer that could serve as a natural astaxanthin source in the current market.
The extensive amount of available information on global warming suggests that this issue has become prevalent worldwide. Majority of countries have issued laws and policies in response to this concern by requiring their industrial sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as CO2. Thus, introducing new and more effective treatment methods, such as biological techniques, is crucial to control the emission of greenhouse gases. Many studies have demonstrated CO2 fixation using photo-bioreactors and raceway ponds, but a comprehensive review is yet to be published on biological CO2 fixation. A comprehensive review of CO2 fixation through biological process is presented in this paper as biological processes are ideal to control both organic and inorganic pollutants. This process can also cover the classification of methods, functional mechanisms, designs, and their operational parameters, which are crucial for efficient CO2 fixation. This review also suggests the bio-trickling filter process as an appropriate approach in CO2 fixation to assist in creating a pollution-free environment. Finally, this paper introduces optimum designs, growth rate models, and CO2 fixation of microalgae, functions, and operations in biological CO2 fixation.
Microalgal bacterial flocs can be a promising approach for microalgae harvesting and wastewater treatment. The present study provides an insight on the bioflocs formation to enhance harvesting of Chlorella vulgaris and the removal of nutrients from seafood wastewater effluent. The results showed that the untreated seafood wastewater was the optimal culture medium for the cultivation and bioflocculation of C. vulgaris, with the flocculating activity of 92.0 ± 6.0%, total suspended solids removal of 93.0 ± 5.5%, and nutrient removal of 88.0 ± 2.2%. The bioflocs collected under this optimal condition contained dry matter of 107.2 ± 5.6 g·L-1 and chlorophyll content of 25.5 ± 0.2 mg·L-1. The results were promising when compared to those obtained from the auto-flocculation process that induced by the addition of calcium chloride and pH adjustment. Additionally, bacteria present in the wastewater aided to promote the formation of bioflocculation process.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) using biological process is one of the promising approaches for CO2 capture and storage. Recently, biological sequestration using microalgae has gained many interest due to its capability to utilize CO2 as carbon source and biomass produced can be used as a feedstock for other value added product for instance biofuel and chemicals. In this study, the CO2 biofixation by two microalgae species, Chlorella sp. and Tetraselmis suecica was investigated using different elevated CO2 concentration. The effect of CO2 concentration on microalgae growth kinetic, biofixation and its chemical composition were determined using 0.04, 5, 15 and 30% CO2. The variation of initial pH value and its relationship on CO2 concentration toward cultivation medium was also investigated. The present study indicated that both microalgae displayed different tolerance toward CO2 concentration. The maximum biomass production and biofixation for Chlorella sp. of 0.64gL-1 and 96.89mgL-1d-1 was obtained when the cultivation was carried out using 5 and 15% CO2, respectively. In contrast, the maximum biomass production and CO2 biofixation for T. suecica of 0.72gL-1 and 111.26mgL-1d-1 were obtained from cultivation using 15 and 5% CO2. The pH value for the cultivation medium using CO2 was between 7.5 and 9, which is favorable for microalgal growth. The potential of biomass obtained from the cultivation as a biorefinery feedstock was also evaluated. An anaerobic fermentation of the microalgae biomass by bacteria Clostridium saccharoperbutylacenaticum N1-4 produced various type of value added product such as organic acid and solvent. Approximately 0.27 and 0.90gL-1 of organic acid, which corresponding to acetic and butyric acid were produced from the fermentation of Chlorella sp. and T. suecica biomass. Overall, this study suggests that Chlorella sp. and T. suecica are efficient microorganism that can be used for CO2 biofixation and as a feedstock for chemical production.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6n-3) plays a vital role in the enhancement of human health, particularly for cognitive, neurological, and visual functions. Marine microalgae, such as members of the genus Aurantiochytrium, are rich in DHA and represent a promising source of omega-3 fatty acids. In this study, levels of glucose, yeast extract, sodium glutamate and sea salt were optimized for enhanced lipid and DHA production by a Malaysian isolate of thraustochytrid, Aurantiochytrium sp. SW1, using response surface methodology (RSM). The optimized medium contained 60 g/L glucose, 2 g/L yeast extract, 24 g/L sodium glutamate and 6 g/L sea salt. This combination produced 17.8 g/L biomass containing 53.9% lipid (9.6 g/L) which contained 44.07% DHA (4.23 g/L). The optimized medium was used in a scale-up run, where a 5 L bench-top bioreactor was employed to verify the applicability of the medium at larger scale. This produced 24.46 g/L biomass containing 38.43% lipid (9.4 g/L), of which 47.87% was DHA (4.5 g/L). The total amount of DHA produced was 25% higher than that produced in the original medium prior to optimization. This result suggests that Aurantiochytrium sp. SW1 could be developed for industrial application as a commercial DHA-producing microorganism.
Culturing of microalgae as an alternative feedstock for biofuel production has received a lot of attention in recent years due to their fast growth rate and ability to accumulate high quantity of lipid and carbohydrate inside their cells for biodiesel and bioethanol production, respectively. In addition, this superior feedstock offers several environmental benefits, such as effective land utilization, CO(2) sequestration, self-purification if coupled with wastewater treatment and does not trigger food versus fuel feud. Despite having all these 'theoretical' advantages, review on problems and issues related to energy balance in microalgae biofuel are not clearly addressed until now. Base on the maturity of current technology, the true potential of microalgae biofuel towards energy security and its feasibility for commercialization are still questionable. Thus, this review is aimed to depict the practical problems that are facing the microalgae biofuel industry, covering upstream to downstream activities by accessing the latest research reports and critical data analysis. Apart from that, several interlink solutions to the problems will be suggested with the purpose to bring current microalgae biofuel research into a new dimension and consequently, to revolutionize the entire microalgae biofuel industry towards long-term sustainability.
A facile chemical reduction approach is adopted for the synthesis of iron tungstate (FeWO4)/ceria (CeO2)-decorated reduced graphene oxide (rGO) nanocomposite. Surface morphological studies of rGO/FeWO4/CeO2 composite reveal the formation of hierarchical FeWO4 flower-like microstructures on rGO sheets, in which the CeO2 nanoparticles are decorated over the FeWO4 microstructures. The distinct anodic peaks observed for the cyclic voltammograms of studied electrodes under light/dark regimes validate the electroactive proteins present in the microalgae. With the cumulative endeavors of three-dimensional FeWO4 microstructures, phase effect between rGO sheet and FeWO4/CeO2, highly exposed surface area, and light harvesting property of CeO2 nanoparticles, the relevant rGO/FeWO4/CeO2 nanocomposite demonstrates high power and stable biophotovoltaic energy generation compared with those of previous reports. Thus, these findings construct a distinct horizon to tailor a ternary nanocomposite with high electrochemical activity for the construction of cost-efficient and environmentally benign fuel cells.
Microalgae have received much interest as a biofuel feedstock in response to the uprising energy crisis, climate change and depletion of natural sources. Development of microalgal biofuels from microalgae does not satisfy the economic feasibility of overwhelming capital investments and operations. Hence, high-value co-products have been produced through the extraction of a fraction of algae to improve the economics of a microalgae biorefinery. Examples of these high-value products are pigments, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins and anti-oxidants, with applications in cosmetics, nutritional and pharmaceuticals industries. To promote the sustainability of this process, an innovative microalgae biorefinery structure is implemented through the production of multiple products in the form of high value products and biofuel. This review presents the current challenges in the extraction of high value products from microalgae and its integration in the biorefinery. The economic potential assessment of microalgae biorefinery was evaluated to highlight the feasibility of the process.
An aqueous two-phase system (ATPS) with ionic liquids (ILs) was used for the isolate of C-phycocyanin (CPC) from Spirulina platensis microalga. Various imidazolium ILs and potassium salts were studied. The effect of ILs-ATPS on the extraction efficiency of CPC was also studied. The experimental parameters like pH, loading volume, algae concentration, temperature, and alkyl chain length of IL were well-covered in this report. The experimental results showed that the extraction efficiency, the partition coefficient, and the separation factor for CPC were 99%, 36.6, and 5.8, respectively, for an optimal pH value of 7 and a temperature of 308 K. The order of extraction efficiency for CPC using IL-ATPS was: 1-octyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide (C8MIM-Br) > 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide (C6MIM-Br) > 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide (C4MIM-Br). The isolation process followed the pseudo second-order kinetic model and the thermodynamic results were obviously spontaneous.
The world at large is facing a new threat with the emergence of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Though imperceptible by the naked eye, the medical, sociological and economical implications caused by this newly discovered virus have been and will continue to be a great impediment to our lives. This health threat has already caused over two million deaths worldwide in the span of a year and its mortality rate is projected to continue rising. In this review, the potential of algae in combating the spread of COVID-19 is investigated since algal compounds have been tested against viruses and algal anti-inflammatory compounds have the potential to treat the severe symptoms of COVID-19. The possible utilization of algae in producing value-added products such as serological test kits, vaccines, and supplements that would either mitigate or hinder the continued health risks caused by the virus is prominent. Many of the characteristics in algae can provide insights on the development of microalgae to fight against SARS-CoV-2 or other viruses and contribute in manufacturing various green and high-value products.
The unceasing rise of greenhouse gas emission has led to global warming and climate change. Global concern on this phenomenon has put forward the microalgal-based CO2 sequestration aiming to sequester carbon back to the biosphere, ultimately reducing greenhouse effects. Microalgae have recently gained enormous attention worldwide, to be the valuable feedstock for renewable energy production, due to their high growth rates, high lipid productivities and the ability to sequester carbon. The photosynthetic process of microalgae uses atmospheric CO2 and CO2 from flue gases, to synthesize nutrients for their growth. In this review article, we will primarily discuss the efficiency of CO2 biosequestration by microalgae species, factors influencing microalgal biomass productions, microalgal cultivation systems, the potential and limitations of using flue gas for microalgal cultivation as well as the bio-refinery approach of microalgal biomass.
Microalgae are the major photosynthesizers on earth and produce important pigments that include chlorophyll a, b and c, β-carotene, astaxanthin, xanthophylls, and phycobiliproteins. Presently, synthetic colorants are used in food, cosmetic, nutraceutical, and pharmaceutical industries. However, due to problems associated with the harmful effects of synthetic colorants, exploitation of microalgal pigments as a source of natural colors becomes an attractive option. There are various factors such as nutrient availability, salinity, pH, temperature, light wavelength, and light intensity that affect pigment production in microalgae. This paper reviews the availability and characteristics of microalgal pigments, factors affecting pigment production, and the application of pigments produced from microalgae. The potential of microalgal pigments as a source of natural colors is enormous as an alternative to synthetic coloring agents, which has limited applications due to regulatory practice for health reasons.
Biodiesel with improved yield was produced from microalgae biomass under simultaneous cooling and microwave heating (SCMH). Nannochloropsis sp. and Tetraselmis sp. which were known to contain higher lipid species were used. The yield obtained using this novel technique was compared with the conventional heating (CH) and microwave heating (MWH) as the control method. The results revealed that the yields obtained using the novel SCMH were higher; Nannochloropsis sp. (83.33%) and Tetraselmis sp. (77.14%) than the control methods. Maximum yields were obtained using SCMH when the microwave was set at 50°C, 800W, 16h of reaction with simultaneous cooling at 15°C; and water content and lipid to methanol ratio in reaction mixture was kept to 0 and 1:12 respectively. GC analysis depicted that the biodiesel produced from this technique has lower carbon components (<19 C) and has both reasonable CN and IV reflecting good ignition and lubricating properties.
Effective optimization of microalgae-to-bioethanol process systems hinges on an in-depth characterization of key process parameters relevant to the overall bioprocess engineering. One of the such important variables is the biomass particle size distribution and the effects on saccharification levels and bioethanol titres. This study examined the effects of three different microalgal biomass particle size ranges, 35 μm ≤ x ≤ 90 μm, 125 μm ≤ x ≤ 180 μm, and 295 μm ≤ x ≤ 425 μm, on the degree of enzymatic hydrolysis and bioethanol production. Two scenarios were investigated: single enzyme hydrolysis (cellulase) and double enzyme hydrolysis (cellulase and cellobiase). The glucose yield from biomass in the smallest particle size range (35 μm ≤ x ≤ 90 μm) was the highest, 134.73 mg glucose/g algae, while the yield from biomass in the larger particle size range (295 μm ≤ x ≤ 425 μm) was 75.45 mg glucose/g algae. A similar trend was observed for bioethanol yield, with the highest yield of 0.47 g EtOH/g glucose obtained from biomass in the smallest particle size range. The results have shown that the microalgal biomass particle size has a significant effect on enzymatic hydrolysis and bioethanol yield.
Wavelength of light is a crucial factor which renders microalgae as the potential biodiesel. In this study, Tetraselmis sp. and Nannochloropsis sp. as famous targets were selected. The effect of different light wavelengths on growth rate and lipid production was studied. Microalgae were cultivated for 14 days as under blue, red, red-blue LED and white fluorescent light. The growth rate of microalgae was analyzed by spectrophotometer and cell counting while oil production under improved Nile red method. Optical density result showed the microalgae exhibited better growth curve under blue wavelength. Besides, Tetraselmis sp. and Nannochloropsis sp. under blue wavelength showed the higher growth rate (1.47 and 1.64 day(-1)) and oil production (102.954 and 702.366 a.u.). Gas chromatography analysis also showed that palmitic acid and stearic acid which were compulsory components for biodiesel contribute around 49-51% of total FAME from Nannochloropsis sp. and 81-83% of total FAME from Tetraselmis sp.