Click here for more information about Algenuity
Click here for more information about LiqofluxPhenometrics Buy 3 Get 1 Free
Visit cricatalyst.com!Evodos Separation Technology

Research

Producing two biofuels from Isochrysis algae

January 29, 2015
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Greg O’Neil, right, of Western Washington University, and Chris Reddy, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, are exploring compounds in Isochrysis to synthesize fuel products. Credit: Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Greg O’Neil, right, of Western Washington University, and Chris Reddy, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, are exploring compounds in Isochrysis to synthesize fuel products. Credit: Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Researchers Greg O’Neil of Western Washington University and Chris Reddy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), have exploited an unusual and untapped class of chemical compounds in the microalgae Isochrysis to synthesize both biodiesel and jet fuel, in parallel. The new study was published in the journal Energy & Fuels.

“It’s far from a cost-competitive product at this stage,” says O’Neil, the study’s lead author, “but it’s an interesting new strategy for making renewable fuel from algae.”

For their study, O’Neil, Reddy, and colleagues targeted Isochrysis for two reasons: First, because growers have already demonstrated they can produce it in large batches to make fish food. Second, because it is among only a handful of algal species around the globe that produce fats called alkenones. These compounds are composed of long chains with 37 to 39 carbon atoms, which the researchers believe hold potential as a fuel source.

A new pathway to make biodiesel and jet fuel from different compounds in a single type of algae. Image: Eric S. Taylor, WHOI Graphics Services.

A new pathway to make biodiesel and jet fuel from different compounds in a single type of algae. Image: Eric S. Taylor, WHOI Graphics Services.

Alkenones are well known to oceanographers because they have a unique ability to change their structure in response to water temperature, providing oceanographers with a biomarker to extrapolate past sea surface temperatures. But biofuel prospectors were largely unaware of alkenones. “They didn’t know that Isochrysis makes these unusual compounds because they’re not oceanographers,” says Reddy, a marine chemist at WHOI.

Reddy and O’Neil began their collaboration first by making biodiesel from the FAMEs in Isochrysis. Then they had to devise a method to separate the FAMEs and alkenones in order to achieve a free-flowing fuel. The method added steps to the overall biodiesel process, but it supplied a superior quality biodiesel, as well as “an alkenone-rich…fraction as a potential secondary product stream,” the authors write.

“The alkenones themselves, with long chains of 37 to 39 carbons, are much too big to be used for jet fuel,” says O’Neil. But the researchers used a chemical reaction called olefin metathesis (which earned its developers the Nobel Prize in 2005). The process cleaved carbon-carbon double bonds in the alkenones, breaking the long chains into pieces with only 8 to 13 carbons. “Those are small enough to use for jet fuel,” O’Neil says.

The scientists believe that by producing two fuels – biodiesel and jet fuel ­– from a single algae, their findings hold some promise for future commercialization. They stress that this is a first step with many steps to come, but they are encouraged by the initial result.

Read More

More Like This…

HOME Algae Industry Jobs

Copyright ©2010-2015 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
Cody Nelson writes for MPRNews.org that a team of University of Minnesota-Duluth researchers wanted to know how shortening winters — and less ice cover on lakes — might i...
Paris-based Solabia Group (“Solabia”) has acquired Algatech Ltd., a global leader in the development, cultivation and commercialization of ingredients delivered from micr...
Liu Jia reports for the Chinese Academy of Sciences that a “magic soil” made out of modified clays has proven effective in fighting red tide along China’s coastal waters ...
French researchers have been exploring the potential of algae for boosting the immune systems of animals and reducing the use of antibiotics in livestock farming. Past st...
Laura Sanders reports in Sciencenews.org that using algae as local oxygen factories in the brain might one day lead to therapies for strokes or other damage from too litt...
Alexander Richter reports for Geothermal Energy News that, among the many examples offered during a recent conference in Pisa, Italy, on Perspectives and Impact of the Gr...
42 Technology has been appointed by LabXero, acoustic particle filtration technology company, to help develop pilot-scale biomanufacturing equipment that could significan...
San Diego, CA and Kailua-Kona, HI-based Cellana, Inc. has signed an Asset Purchase Agreement with Cyanotech Corporation for the sale of Cellana’s six-acre production and ...
Gerard de Souza reports for the Hindustan Times that researchers at the CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography Goa (India) have found a cleaner, cheaper method to grow b...
E.A. Crunden writes in thinkprogress.org that Florida’s first gubernatorial debate was dominated by environmental and climate issues, with an emphasis on the state’s alga...
Trade Arabia reports that the Oman Centre for Marine Biotechnology (OCMB) recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Swedish Algae Factory to support the domestic...
How did plants make the evolutionary jump from water to land? Scientists think that green algae are their water-living ancestors, but we are not sure how the transition t...