Process Intensification of Biofuel Production from Microalgae
A tremendous increase in population has also led to a significant increase in the demand for energy leading to search for alternatives which can match up with the current requirement quantitatively and also qualitatively as a green energy carrier. Fuels derived from algal biomass can be one of the potential alternatives, as microalgae possess higher nutrients, required lipids and CO2 uptake capacity and can be grown quickly on nonarable land throughout the year without their interference in food supply chain. The quantum of biodiesel produced from microalgae can be about 10–20 times higher than that obtained from terrestrial plants. Microalgae also help in reducing global warming by capturing CO2. The cost of production of biofuels from microalgae is the current setback which can be overcome by taking into consideration a biorefinery approach which can give multiple products with same expenditure as well as using some process intensification approaches. Process intensification plays a major role in reducing the cost and also can lead to use of less quantum of materials and lower operating temperatures. The present chapter will focus on analyzing the process intensification aspects applied to biofuels production from microalgae. The initial sections will cover the details of the types of microalgae and their harvesting techniques, followed by the discussion on the different approaches used to extract bio-oil from microalgae, and then the production of different biofuels. Intensification can be applied to both the extraction and the actual reaction for production of biofuels. The chapter will also focus on the mechanism of intensification using different approaches such as ultrasound, microwave, ultraviolet, and oscillatory baffled reactors. An overview of the literature will be presented so as to give guidelines about the possible reactor designs and operating parameters also highlighting the process intensification benefits that can be obtained. Overall, the work is expected to bring out critical analysis of the different approaches and the expected benefits due to the use of process intensification also enabling understanding of the reactor designs and operating parameters.
KeywordsMicroalgae Process intensification Biofuels Biorefinery Reactor designs
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