Biofuels from microalgae have promising potential for a sustainable bioeconomy. Algal strains' oil content and biomass yield are the most influential cost drivers in the fourth generation biofuel (FGB) production. Genetic modification is the key to improving oil accumulation and biomass yield, consequently developing the bioeconomy. This paper discusses current practices, new insights, and emerging trends in genetic modification and their bioeconomic impact on FGB production. It was demonstrated that enhancing the oil and biomass yield could significantly improve the probability of economic success and the net present value of the FGB production process. The techno-economic and socioeconomic burden of using genetically modified (GM) strains and the preventive control strategies on the bioeconomy of FGB production is reviewed. It is shown that the fully lined open raceway pond could cost up to 25% more than unlined ponds. The cost of a plastic hoop air-supported greenhouse covering cultivation ponds is estimated to be US 60,000$ /ha. The competitiveness and profitability of large-scale cultivation of GM biomass are significantly locked to techno-economic and socioeconomic drivers. Nonetheless, it necessitates further research and careful long-term follow-up studies to understand the mechanism that affects these parameters the most.
The demands of energy sustainability drive efforts to bio-chemical conversion of biomass into biofuels through pretreatment, enzymatic hydrolysis, and microbial fermentation. Pretreatment leads to significant structural changes of the complex lignin polymer that affect yield and productivity of the enzymatic conversion of lignocellulosic biomass. Structural changes of lignin after pretreatment include functional groups, inter unit linkages and compositions. These changes influence non-productive adsorption of enzyme on lignin through hydrophobic interaction and electrostatic interaction as well as hydrogen bonding. This paper reviews the relationships between structural changes of lignin and enzymatic hydrolysis of pretreated lignocellulosic biomass. The formation of pseudo-lignin during dilute acid pretreatment is revealed, and their negative effect on enzymatic hydrolysis is discussed.
Discovering novel bacterial strains might be the link to unlocking the value in lignocellulosic bio-refinery as we strive to find alternative and cleaner sources of energy. Bacteria display promise in lignocellulolytic breakdown because of their innate ability to adapt and grow under both optimum and extreme conditions. This versatility of bacterial strains is being harnessed, with qualities like adapting to various temperature, aero tolerance, and nutrient availability driving the use of bacteria in bio-refinery studies. Their flexible nature holds exciting promise in biotechnology, but despite recent pointers to a greener edge in the pretreatment of lignocellulose biomass and lignocellulose-driven bioconversion to value-added products, the cost of adoption and subsequent scaling up industrially still pose challenges to their adoption. However, recent studies have seen the use of co-culture, co-digestion, and bioengineering to overcome identified setbacks to using bacterial strains to breakdown lignocellulose into its major polymers and then to useful products ranging from ethanol, enzymes, biodiesel, bioflocculants, and many others. In this review, research on bacteria involved in lignocellulose breakdown is reviewed and summarized to provide background for further research. Future perspectives are explored as bacteria have a role to play in the adoption of greener energy alternatives using lignocellulosic biomass.
Genetic engineering applications in the field of biofuel are rapidly expanding due to their potential to boost biomass productivity while lowering its cost and enhancing its quality. Recently, fourth-generation biofuel (FGB), which is biofuel obtained from genetically modified (GM) algae biomass, has gained considerable attention from academic and industrial communities. However, replacing fossil resources with FGB is still beset with many challenges. Most notably, technical aspects of genetic modification operations need to be more fully articulated and elaborated. However, relatively little attention has been paid to GM algal biomass. There is a limited number of reviews on the progress and challenges faced in the algal genetics of FGB. Therefore, the present review aims to fill this gap in the literature by recapitulating the findings of recent studies and achievements on safe and efficient genetic manipulation in the production of FGB. Then, the essential issues and parameters related to genome editing in algal strains are highlighted. Finally, the main challenges to FGB pertaining to the diffusion risk and regulatory frameworks are addressed. This review concluded that the technical and biosafety aspects of FGB, as well as the complexity and diversity of the related regulations, legitimacy concerns, and health and environmental risks, are among the most important challenges that require a strong commitment at the national/international levels to reach a global consensus.
Thermal co-processing of lignocellulosic and aquatic biomass, such as algae and shellfish waste, has shown synergistic effects in producing value-added energy products with higher process efficiency than the traditional method, highlighting the importance of scaling up to pilot-scale operations. This article discusses the design and operation of pilot-scale reactors for torrefaction, pyrolysis, and gasification, as well as the key parameters of co-processing biomass into targeted and improved quality products for use as fuel, agricultural application, and environmental remediation. Techno-economic analysis reveals that end product selling price, market dynamics, government policies, and biomass cost are crucial factors influencing the sustainability of thermal co-processing as a feasible approach to utilize the biomass. Because of its simplicity, pyrolysis allows greater energy recovery, while gasification has the highest net present value (profitability). Integration of liquefaction, hydrothermal, and fermentation pre-treatment technology has the potential to increase energy efficiency while reducing process residues.
The influence of sonoluminescence transesterification on biodiesel physicochemical properties was investigated and the results were compared to those of traditional mechanical stirring. This study was conducted to identify the mechanistic features of ultrasonication by coupling statistical analysis of the experiments into the simulation of cavitation bubble. Different combinations of operational variables were employed for alkali-catalysis transesterification of palm oil. The experimental results showed that transesterification with ultrasound irradiation could change the biodiesel density by about 0.3kg/m(3); the viscosity by 0.12mm(2)/s; the pour point by about 1-2°C and the flash point by 5°C compared to the traditional method. Furthermore, 93.84% of yield with alcohol to oil molar ratio of 6:1 could be achieved through ultrasound assisted transesterification within only 20min. However, only 89.09% of reaction yield was obtained by traditional macro mixing/heating under the same condition. Based on the simulated oscillation velocity value, the cavitation phenomenon significantly contributed to generation of fine micro emulsion and was able to overcome mass transfer restriction. It was found that the sonoluminescence bubbles reached the temperature of 758-713K, pressure of 235.5-159.55bar, oscillation velocity of 3.5-6.5cm/s, and equilibrium radius of 17.9-13.7 times greater than its initial size under the ambient temperature of 50-64°C at the moment of collapse. This showed that the sonoluminescence bubbles were in the condition in which the decomposition phenomena were activated and the reaction rate was accelerated together with a change in the biodiesel properties.
Biomass wastes produced from oil palm mills and plantations include empty fruit bunches (EFBs), shells, fibers, trunks, and oil palm fronds (OPF). EFBs and shells are partially utilized as boiler fuel while the rest of the biomass materials like OPF have not been utilized for energy generation. No previous study has been reported on gasification of oil palm fronds (OPF) biomass for the production of fuel gas. In this paper, the effect of moisture content of fuel and reactor temperature on downdraft gasification of OPF was experimentally investigated using a lab scale gasifier of capacity 50 kW. In addition, results obtained from equilibrium model of gasification that was developed for facilitating the prediction of syngas composition are compared with experimental data. Comparison of simulation results for predicting calorific value of syngas with the experimental results showed a satisfactory agreement with a mean error of 0.1 MJ/Nm³. For a biomass moisture content of 29%, the resulting calorific value for the syngas was found to be only 2.63 MJ/Nm³, as compared to nearly double (4.95 MJ/Nm³) for biomass moisture content of 22%. A calorific value as high as 5.57 MJ/Nm³ was recorded for higher oxidation zone temperature values.
Biodiesel from Jatropha curcas L. seed is conventionally produced via a two-step method: extraction of oil and subsequent esterification/transesterification to fatty acid methyl esters (FAME), commonly known as biodiesel. Contrarily, in this study, a single step in situ extraction, esterification and transesterification (collectively known as reactive extraction) of J. curcas L. seed to biodiesel, was investigated and optimized. Design of experiments (DOE) was used to study the effect of various process parameters on the yield of FAME. The process parameters studied include reaction temperature (30-60 degrees C), methanol to seed ratio (5-20 mL/g), catalyst loading (5-30 wt %), and reaction time (1-24 h). The optimum reaction condition was then obtained by using response surface methodology (RSM) coupled with central composite design (CCD). Results showed that an optimum biodiesel yield of 98.1% can be obtained under the following reaction conditions: reaction temperature of 60 degrees C, methanol to seed ratio of 10.5 mL/g, 21.8 wt % of H(2)SO(4), and reaction period of 10 h.
Due to its environment-friendly and replenishable characteristics, biodiesel has the potential to substitute fossil fuels as an alternative source of energy. Although biodiesel has many benefits to offer, manufacturing biodiesel on an industrial scale is uneconomical as a high cost of feedstock is required. A novel sulfonated and magnetic catalyst synthesised from a palm kernel shell (PMB-SO3H) was first introduced in this study for methyl ester or biodiesel production to reduce capital costs. The wasted palm kernel shell (PKS) biochar impregnated with ferrite Fe3O4 was synthesised with concentrated sulphuric acid through the sulfonation process. The SEM, EDX, FTIR, VSM and TGA characterization of the catalysts were presented. Then, the optimisation of biodiesel synthesis was catalysed by PMB-SO3H via the Response Surface Methodology (RSM). It was found that the maximum biodiesel yield of 90.2% was achieved under these optimum operating conditions: 65 °C, 102 min, methanol to oil ratio of 13:1 and the catalyst loading of 3.66 wt%. Overall, PMB-SO3H demonstrated acceptable catalysing capability on its first cycle, which subsequently showed a reduction of the reusability performance after 4 cycles. An important practical implication is that PMB-SO3H can be established as a promising heterogeneous catalyst by incorporating an iron layer which can substantially improve the catalyst separation performance in biodiesel production.
Anaerobic digestion (AD) of organic wastes is among the most promising approaches used for the simultaneous treatment of various waste streams, environment conservation, and renewable bioenergy generation (biomethane). Among the latest innovations investigated to enhance the overall performance of this process both qualitatively and quantitatively, the application of some nanoparticles (NPs) has attracted a great deal of attention. Typically, the NPs of potential benefit to the AD process could be divided into three groups: (i) zero-valent iron (ZVI) NPs, (ii) metallic and metal oxides NPs, and (iii) carbon-based NPs. The present review focuses on the latest findings reported on the application of these NPs in AD process and presents their various mechanisms of action leading to higher or lower biogas production rates. Among the NPs studies, ZVI NPs could be regarded as the most promising nanomaterials for enhancing biogas production through stabilizing the AD process as well as by stimulating the growth of beneficial microorganisms to the AD process and the enzymes involved. Future research should focus on various attributes of NPs when used as additives in biogas production, including facilitating mixing and pumping operations, enriching the population and diversity of beneficial microorganisms for AD, improving biogas release, and inducing the production and activity of AD-related enzymes. The higher volume of methane-enriched biogas would be translated into higher returns on investment and could therefore, result in further growth of the biogas production industry. Nevertheless, efforts should be devoted to decreasing the price of NPs so that the enhanced biogas and methane production (by over 90%, compared to control) would be more economically justified, facilitating the large-scale application of these compounds. In addition to economic considerations, environmental issues are also regarded as major constraints which should be addressed prior to widespread implementation of NP-augmented AD processes. More specifically, the fate of NPs augmented in AD process should be scrutinized to ensure maximal beneficial impacts while adverse environmental/health consequences are minimized.
Biodiesels and biolubricants are synthetic esters produced mainly via a transesterification of other esters from bio-based resources, such as plant-based oils or animal fats. Microwave heating has been used to enhance transesterification reaction by converting an electrical energy into a radiation, becoming part of the internal energy acquired by reactant molecules. This method leads to major energy savings and reduces the reaction time by at least 60% compared to a conventional heating via conduction and convection. However, the application of microwave heating technology alone still suffers from non-homogeneous electromagnetic field distribution, thermally unstable rising temperatures, and insufficient depth of microwave penetration, which reduces the mass transfer efficiency. The strategy of integrating multiple technologies for biodiesel and biolubricant production has gained a great deal of interest in applied chemistry. This review presents an advanced transesterification process that combines microwave heating with other technologies, namely an acoustic cavitation, a vacuum, ionic solvent, and a supercritical/subcritical approach to solve the limitations of the stand-alone microwave-assisted transesterification. The combined technologies allow for the improvement in the overall product yield and energy efficiency. This review provides insights into the broader prospects of microwave heating in the production of bio-based products.
Over the past decades, research efforts are being devoted into utilizing the biomass waste as a major source of green energy to maintain the economic, environmental, and social sustainability. Specifically, there is an emerging consensus on the significance of glycerol (an underutilised waste from biodiesel industry) as a cheap, non-toxic, and renewable source for valuable chemicals synthesis. There are numerous methods enacted to convert this glycerol waste to tartronic acid, mesoxalic acid, glyceraldehyde, dihydroxyacetone, oxalic acid and so on. Among these, the green electro-oxidation technique is one of the techniques that possesses potential for industrial application due to advantages such as non-toxicity process, fast response, and lower energy consumption. The current review covers the general understanding on commonly used techniques for alcohol (C1 & C2) conversion, with a specific insight on glycerol (C3) electro-oxidation (GOR). Since catalysts are the backbone of chemical reaction, they are responsible for the overall economy prospect of any processes. To this end, a comprehensive review on catalysts, which include noble metals, non-noble metals, and non-metals anchored over various supports are incorporated in this review. Moreover, a fundamental insight into the development of future electrocatalysts for glycerol oxidation along with products analysis is also presented.
A diesel engine running on diesel/biodiesel mixtures containing ethylene glycol diacetate (EGDA) was investigated from the exergoeconomic and exergoenvironmental viewpoints. Biodiesel was mixed with petrodiesel at 5% and 20% volume ratios, and the resultant mixtures were then doped with EGDA at 1-3% volume ratios. The exergetic sustainability indicators of the engine operating on the prepared fuel formulations were determined at varying engine loads. The indicators were selected to support decision-making on fuel composition and engine load following thermodynamic, economic, and environmental considerations. The engine load markedly affected all the studied exergetic parameters. The highest engine exergetic efficiency (39.5%) was obtained for petrodiesel doped with 1 v/v% EGDA at the engine load of 50%. The minimum value of the unit cost of brake power exergy (49.6 US$/GJ) was found for straight petrodiesel at full-load conditions, while the minimum value of the unit environmental impact of brake power exergy (29.9 mPts/GJ) was observed for petrodiesel mixed with 5 v/v% biodiesel at the engine load of 75%. Overall, adding EGDA to fuel mixtures did not favorably influence the outcomes of both exergetic methods due to its energy-intensive and cost-prohibitive production process. In conclusion, although petrodiesel fuel improvers such EGDA used in the present study could properly mitigate pollutant emissions, the adverse effects of such additives on thermodynamic parameters of diesel engines, particularly on exergoeconomic and exergoenvironmental indices, need to be taken into account, and necessary optimizations should be made before their real-world application.
The thermal degradation behaviour and kinetic parameter of non-catalytic and catalytic pyrolysis of rice husk (RH) using rice hull ash (RHA) as catalyst were investigated using thermogravimetric analysis at four different heating rates of 10, 20, 50 and 100 K/min. Four different iso conversional kinetic models such as Kissinger, Friedman, Kissinger-Akahira-Sunose (KAS) and Ozawa-Flynn-Wall (OFW) were applied in this study to calculate the activation energy (EA) and pre-exponential value (A) of the system. The EA of non-catalytic and catalytic pyrolysis was found to be in the range of 152-190 kJ/mol and 146-153 kJ/mol, respectively. The results showed that the catalytic pyrolysis of RH had resulted in a lower EA as compared to non-catalytic pyrolysis of RH and other biomass in literature. Furthermore, the high Gibb's free energy obtained in RH implied that it has the potential to serve as a source of bioenergy production.
A comprehensive exergoeconomic performance analysis of a municipal solid waste digestion plant integrated with a biogas genset was conducted throughout this study in order to highlight its bottlenecks for further improvements. Exergoeconomic performance parameters of each component of the plant were determined by solving exergy and cost balance equations based on Specific Exergy Costing (SPECO) approach. The analysis was conducted to reveal the cost structure of the plant based on actual operating information and economic data. The exergy unitary cost of two main products of the plant, i.e., bioelectricity and biofertilizer were determined at 26.27 and 2.27 USD/GJ, respectively. The genset showed the highest overall cost rate (101.27 USD/h) followed by digester (68.41 USD/h). Furthermore, the net bioelectricity amounted to 67.81% of the overall cost rate of the products, while this value was 32.19% for both liquid and dewatered digestates. According to the results obtained, efforts should mainly focus on enhancing the efficiency of the genset in order to boost the overall performance of the system exergoeconomically. In addition, minimizing the investment-related cost of the digester could also substantially enhance the exergoeconomic performance of the plant.
Oil and grease, carbohydrate, protein, and lignin are the main constituents of high strength wastewaters such as dairy wastewater, cheese whey wastewater, distillery wastewater, pulp and paper mill wastewater, and slaughterhouse wastewaters. These constituents have contributed to various operational problems faced by the high-rate anaerobic bioreactor (HRAB). During the hydrolysis stage of anaerobic digestion (AD), these constituents can be hydrolyzed. Since hydrolysis is known to be the rate-limiting step of AD, the overall AD can be enhanced by improving the hydrolysis stage. This can be done by introducing pretreatment that targets the degradation of these constituents. This review mainly focuses on the biological pretreatment on various high-strength wastewaters by using different types of enzymes namely lipase, amylase, protease, and ligninolytic enzymes which are responsible for catalyzing the degradation of oil and grease, carbohydrate, protein, and lignin respectively. This review provides a summary of enzymatic systems involved in enhancing the hydrolysis stage and consequently improve biogas production. The results show that the use of enzymes improves the biogas production in the range of 7 to 76%. Though these improvements are highly dependent on the operating conditions of pretreatment and the types of substrates. Therefore, the critical parameters that would affect the effectiveness of pretreatment are also discussed. This review paper will serve as a useful piece of information to those industries that face difficulties in treating their high-strength wastewaters for the appropriate process, equipment selection, and design of an anaerobic enzymatic system. However, more intensive studies on the optimum operating conditions of pretreatment in a larger-scale and synergistic effects between enzymes are necessary to make the enzymatic pretreatment economically feasible.
Interest in biodiesel research has escalated over the years due to dwindling fossil fuel reserves. The implementation of a carbon-based solid acid catalyst in biodiesel production eradicates the separation problems associated with homogeneous catalysis. However, its application in the glycerol-free interesterification process for biodiesel production is still rarely being studied in the literature. In this study, novel environmentally benign catalysts were prepared from oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB) derived activated carbon (AC) which is sustainable and low cost via direct sulfonation using concentrated sulfuric acid. The effects of synthesizing variables such as carbonization and sulfonation temperatures with different holding times towards the fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) yield in interesterification reaction with oleic acid and methyl acetate were investigated in detail. It was found that the optimum carbonization temperature and duration together with sulfonation temperature and duration were 600 °C, 3 h, 100 °C and 6 h, respectively. The catalyst possessed an amorphous structure with a high total acid density of 9.0 mmol NaOH g-1 due to the well-developed porous framework structure of the carbon support. Under these optimum conditions, the OPEFB derived solid acid catalyst recorded an excellent catalytic activity of 50.5% methyl oleate yield at 100 °C after 8 h with 50:1 methyl acetate to oleic acid molar ratio and 10 wt% catalyst dosage. The heterogeneous acid catalyst derived from OPEFB had shown promising properties that made them highly suitable for cost-effective and environmental-friendly glycerol-free biodiesel production.
Remediation by algae is a very effective strategy for avoiding the use of costly, environmentally harmful chemicals in wastewater treatment. Recently, industries based on biomass, especially the bioenergy sector, are getting increasing attention due to their environmental acceptability. However, their practical application is still limited due to the growing cost of raw materials such as algal biomass, harvesting and processing limitations. Potential use of algal biomass includes nutrients recovery, heavy metals removal, COD, BOD, coliforms, and other disease-causing pathogens reduction and production of bioenergy and valuable products. However, the production of algal biomass using the variable composition of different wastewater streams as a source of growing medium and the application of treated water for subsequent use in agriculture for irrigation has remained a challenging task. The present review highlights and discusses the potential role of algae in removing beneficial nutrients from different wastewater streams with complex chemical compositions as a biorefinery concept and subsequent use of produced algal biomass for bioenergy and bioactive compounds. Moreover, challenges in producing algal biomass using various wastewater streams and ways to alleviate the stress caused by the toxic and high concentrations of nutrients in the wastewater stream have been discussed in detail. The technology will be economically feasible and publicly accepted by reducing the cost of algal biomass production and reducing the loaded or attached concentration of micropollutants and pathogenic microorganisms. Algal strain improvement, consortium development, biofilm formation, building an advanced cultivation reactor system, biorefinery concept development, and life-cycle assessment are all possible options for attaining a sustainable solution for sustainable biofuel production. Furthermore, producing valuable compounds, including pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and pigment contents generated from algal biomass during biofuel production, could also help reduce the cost of wastewater management by microalgae.
Improper discard of oil palm trunk and empty fruit bunch renders massive greenhouse gases. Turning these palm wastes into solid biofuels could aid in carbon reduction. The embodied environmental impacts of the solid biofuel densification process are neglected in carbon emission quantification studies applying Greenhouse Gas Protocol while the significance of classifying the system's direct and indirect carbon emissions were overlooked in those utilising life cycle assessment. Despite the prospect of both methodologies to complement their limitations for carbon emissions quantification, no study integrates both methodologies to investigate direct and indirect emissions systematically from a life cycle perspective. An integrated framework of life cycle assessment and Greenhouse Gas Protocol is developed to quantify the direct and indirect carbon emissions of oil palm trunk and empty fruit bunch densification from cradle-to-gate for three pellet plants in Indonesia and Malaysia. The emissions are categorised into three emission scopes: Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, integrated with avoided emissions which are quantified via life cycle assessment. The pellet plants generate 534.7-732.3 kg CO2-eq/tonnepellet per hour, in which Scope 1 (i.e., direct emissions) is the major emission scope due to high emissions from wastewater production and drying fuel combustion. Washing equipment (169.2-439.0 kg CO2-eq/tonnepellet per hour) and burners (87.1-214.5 kg CO2-eq/tonnepellet per hour) are the hotspots found in the pellet plants. Producing empty fruit bunch pellets could reduce 62.0-74.1 % of emissions than landfilling the empty fruit bunch. Empty fruit bunch pellet and oil palm trunk pellet are recommended to co-fire with coal to phase down coal usage in achieving COP26 pledge. This study provides data-driven insights for quantifying carbon emissions through the integrated framework and could be a reference in future life cycle carbon footprint studies of the biomass densification process.
The efforts have been made to review phyllosilicate derived (clay-based) heterogeneous catalysts for biodiesel production via lignocellulose derived feedstocks. These catalysts have many practical and potential applications in green catalysis. Phyllosilicate derived heterogeneous catalysts (modified via any of these approaches like acid activated clays, ion exchanged clays and layered double hydroxides) exhibits excellent catalytic activity for producing cost effective and high yield biodiesel. The combination of different protocols (intercalated catalysts, ion exchanged catalysts, acidic activated clay catalysts, clay-supported catalysts, composites and hybrids, pillared interlayer clay catalysts, and hierarchically structured catalysts) was implemented so as to achieve the synergetic effects (acidic-basic) in resultant material (catalyst) for efficient conversion of lignocellulose derived feedstock (non-edible oils) to biodiesel. Utilisation of these Phyllosilicate derived catalysts will pave path for future researchers to investigate the cost-effective, accessible and improved approaches in synthesising novel catalysts that could be used for converting lignocellulosic biomass to eco-friendly biodiesel.