Production of biodiesel: Possibilities and challenges

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314 Citations (Scopus)


Biodiesel, defined as monoalkyl fatty acid ester (preferentially methyl and ethyl esters), represents a promising alternative fuel for use in compression-ignition (diesel) engines. Biodiesel fuel comes from renewable sources as it is plant- not petroleum-derived and as such it is biodegradable and less toxic. In addition, relative to conventional diesel, its combustion products have reduced levels of particulates, carbon oxides, sulphur oxides and, under some conditions, nitrogen oxides. Enzymatic production of biodiesel has been proposed to overcome the drawbacks of the conventional chemically catalyzed processes. The main obstacle facing full exploitation of the enzyme, lipase, potential is its cost. Therefore, reuse of lipase is essential from the economic point of view, which can be achieved by using the lipase in immobilized form. In addition, immobilized lipase displays improved stability and activity. Common immobilization techniques include attachment to solid supports and entrapment within the matrix of a polymer. This article presents a comparison between conventional processes and enzymatic processes and different possible feedstocks for biodiesel production. In addition, possible ways to overcome the problems facing the use of lipase are described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalBiofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007


  • Alcohols
  • Biodiesel
  • Immobilization
  • Lipase
  • Transesterification
  • Vegetable oils

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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