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Bioresource technology

The role of co-solvents in improving the direct transesterification of wet microalgal biomass under supercritical condition.


PMID 26117240

Abstract

In this research, direct conversion of wet algal biomass into biodiesel using supercritical methanol was studied. In this process, microalgal lipids simultaneously was extracted and converted to biodiesel under high pressure and temperature conditions without using any catalyst. Several experiments have been performed to optimize the methanol amount and it has been revealed that the best performance was achieved by using methanol/wet biomass ratio of 8:1. The effect of using various co-solvents in increasing the efficiency of the supercritical process was investigated. It has been shown that hexane was the most effective co-solvent and its optimal ratio respect to wet biomass was 6:1. The results indicated that compare to conventional extraction plus transesterification reaction, fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) yield was slightly higher in the direct conversion process. Moreover, increasing the moisture content up to 80% has no significant effect on reducing the performance of this process.

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