As resources for petroleum-based fuel become increasingly scarce, third generation biofuels, which utilize algae as a renewable feedstock, offer a promising solution. The problem hindering widespread marketability, however, is that current biodiesel production processes are expensive and lipid yields are inconsistent. Our research worked to make algae cultivation more feasible by focusing on both the growth of algae and its conversion to crude biodiesel. To decrease the cost of cultivation, a modified Bold’s Basal medium was created using low cost chemicals. This treatment was compared to commercial Alga-gro© and a water control. Chlorella, a fast growing microalgae with high lipid content, was then introduced to all three conditions and cell growth was monitored for 35 days. After harvesting the cells, the non-polar lipids were extracted using a 2:1 chloroform-methanol ratio, which showed yields (18.01%) consistent with previous work. Samples next underwent a transesterification reaction upon which IR spectroscopy was used to detect the presence of fatty acid methyl esters (FAME).
Marr, Zoe; Steward, Colleen; and Gikonyo, Barnabas
"Investigation into Cost Effective Cultivation and Biofuel Production from Chlorella Algal Species,"
Proceedings of GREAT Day: Vol. 2017, Article 7.
Available at: https://knightscholar.geneseo.edu/proceedings-of-great-day/vol2017/iss1/7