Journal of Pure and Applied MicrobiologyVol. 9 No. 1

Production of Biodiesel from Algae

Ihsanullah1,3*, Sumaira Shah2, Muhammad Ayaz3, Iftikhar Ahmed3, Murad Ali3, Naveed Ahmad4 and Irshad Ahmad5

1Department of Chemical Engineering, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia. 2School of Chemical & Materials Engineering (SCME), National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. 3Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar, 2500 Pakistan. 4Department of Chemical and Material Engineering, Northern Border University, Arar, 1321, Saudi Arabia. 5Department of Biology, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia.

Received on 06 September 2014 and accepted on 10 November 2014



Biodiesel has gained much attention in recent years due to its eco-friendly nature, non-toxic characteristics, biodegradability and lower net carbon cycle compared to conventional diesel fuels. In the current study, potential algal specie Spirogyra were collected from different districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan and employed as a feedstock for biodiesel production. In the first step, oil from algae specie was extracted using n-Hexane and Di-ethyl Ether as solvents, while in the second stage; extracted oil was converted into biodiesel via transestrification reaction. The effects of solvent to oil ratio, size of algal biomass and contact time were studied on the percentage yield of oil extracted. The maximum extracted oil was 0.09 fraction of biomass, by using a blend of both solvents at solvent to biomass ratio of 3.5, algal biomass size of 0.4 mm and contact time of 24 hours. While in transestrification reaction, effects of molar ratio, temperature, reaction time and amount of catalyst (Sodium Hydroxide) were evaluated on the amount of biodiesel produced. Almost 95% conversion of extracted oil into biodiesel was achieved after 25 minutes of contact time at 60 oC with catalyst amount of 0.5% weight of oil and oil to methanol ratio of 8.

Keywords : Biodiesel; renewable energy; algae; transestrification; spirogyra; biomass.