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Biodiesel via in Situ Wet Microalgae Biotransformation: Zwitter-Type Ionic Liquid Supported Extraction and Transesterification

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journal contribution
posted on 16.12.2016, 00:00 by Gerald Bauer, Serena Lima, Jean Chenevard, Marc Sugnaux, Fabian Fischer
The production of biodiesel derived from microalgae is among the most forthcoming technologies that provide an ecologic alternative to fossil fuels. Herein, a method was developed that enables the direct extraction and conversion of algal oil to biodiesel without prior isolation. The reaction occurs in aqueous media catalyzed by immobilized Candida antarctica lipase B (Novozyme 435). Zwitter-type ionic liquids were used as cocatalyst to improve the selectivity and reactivity of the enzyme. In a model reaction with sunflower oil, 64% biodiesel was obtained. Applying this method to a slurry of whole-cell Chlorella zofingiensis in water resulted in 74.8% of lipid extraction, with 27.7% biotransformation products and up to 16% biodiesel. Factors that reduced the lipase activity with whole-cell algae were subsequently probed and discussed. This “in situ” method shows an improvement to existing methods, since it integrates the oil extraction and conversion into an one-pot procedure in aqueous conditions. The extraction is nondisruptive, and is a model for a greener algae to biodiesel process.