Microalgal biofuels: Flexible bioenergies for sustainable development

aaaaaa11111Abstract – To confront energy shortage, global warming and climate changes, biofuels derived from biomass have received increasing attention from the industry, academia and governments. Of the potential sources of biofuels a most promising one is the simple photosynthetic microalgae, which can be grown in open ponds, photobioreactors and fermenters. The advantages to produce biofuels from microalgae include easy adaption to environmental conditions, high photosynthesis efficiency, high lipid content and noncompetition for farmlands. Nonetheless, the real hallmark of microalgae is the fact that these microscopic organisms can provide the biomass feedstock for the flexible production of several different types of renewable and sustainable biofuels such as biodiesel, bioethanol, biogas, biohydrogen among others via thermochemical and biochemical conversion processes. Amazingly, from a sustainability perspective the integrated algal biofuels production, where biodiesel, bioethanol and biogas are continuously produced from one biomass source, can evidently lead to an increase in the energetic productivity of the microalgal biomass, thus improving the economics of this algal biorefinery approach. Developments in several areas, such as genetic and metabolic engineering, are expected to further improve the costeffectiveness of the biofuels from microalgae in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Source: ScienceDirect, December 2, 2013
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