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Bioresour Technol. 2006 Apr;97(6):841-6. Epub 2005 Jun 4.

Biodiesel production from heterotrophic microalgal oil.

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Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, PR China.


The present study introduced an integrated method for the production of biodiesel from microalgal oil. Heterotrophic growth of Chlorella protothecoides resulted in the accumulation of high lipid content (55%) in cells. Large amount of microalgal oil was efficiently extracted from these heterotrophic cells by using n-hexane. Biodiesel comparable to conventional diesel was obtained from heterotrophic microalgal oil by acidic transesterification. The best process combination was 100% catalyst quantity (based on oil weight) with 56:1 molar ratio of methanol to oil at temperature of 30 degrees C, which reduced product specific gravity from an initial value of 0.912 to a final value of 0.8637 in about 4h of reaction time. The results suggested that the new process, which combined bioengineering and transesterification, was a feasible and effective method for the production of high quality biodiesel from microalgal oil.

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