Production and properties of algae oil biofuel and environmental benefits

Mohamed Y.E. Selim, Yousef Haik

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter aims at testing the feasibility of developing an innovative microalgae base technology that can concurrently produce biodiesel and protect the environment. The use of fossil fuel for transportation systems is costing the world billions of dollars each year and contributes to air pollution and the global warming. Microalgae have been recognized as one of the most promising source of biofuel. However, there is no local testing or commercial production of microalgal oil in many countries so far.In this work, it is hypothesized that an economically viable microalgae-based biodiesel production system could be established if innovative photobioreactors were used along with suitable microalgal species rich in oil content. It is proposed to combine the biodiesel production with wastewater treatment and CO2 reduction using microalgae. Such development will commence commercial feasibility projects. This technology is particularly useful in countries, where huge amounts of CO2 are released to environment and huge demand on useful applications of wastewater.In all countries, billions of dollars are spent each year for energy production. Many of the power plants consume diesel in the process of generating electricity and desalination of water. Most public transportation system uses diesel engines. It is well established that carbon dioxide emission from various transportation systems accounts for one third of the total carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, leading to global warming. The toxic exhausted gas from vehicles also causes hazardous effects on human health. Biodiesel, derived from vegetable oils or animal fats rather than petroleum, is an alternative fuel for diesel engines. It is renewable, non-toxic, and biodegradable. It can be used in existing diesel engines without modification, and can be blended in at any ratio with petroleum diesel. Currently, the major feedstock for biodiesel production is soybean oil. However, low oil production rates (e.g. 1 ̃ 3 barrels of oil per acre of land per year)coupled with high production costs (e.g. feedstock accounts for 70-80% of biodiesel production costs) have limited the expansion of soybean-based biodiesel to meet the growing demand by the society. Therefore, it is important to develop more economically viable sources of feedstock for biodiesel production. Microalgae are known to exhibit 10- to 20-fold higher growth rates than agricultural crop plants, and certain microalgal species can accumulate large amounts of lipids or oil (30-60% of dry weight).In this work we propose to develop a complete prototyped model for the production and testing of biodiesel. The model will consist of cultivation reactor to grow suitable microalgae species, photobioreactors with wastewater and or CO2 as feed to the algae, oil extraction from algae, chemical reactor to convert the extracted and finally test the produced biodiesel in a conventional diesel engine.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAlgae
Subtitle of host publicationEcology, Economic Uses and Environmental Impact
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9781620812808
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Biofuel
  • Diesel
  • Engine
  • Microalgae
  • Performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Production and properties of algae oil biofuel and environmental benefits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this