Chemistry and Physics Faculty Articles

Title

Algal Biofuels

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-2013

Publication Title

Photosynthesis Research

Keywords

Photosynthesis, Microalgae, Bioenergy, Biofuel, Biohydrogen, Biodiesel, Biomass, Photobioreactor

ISSN

0166-8595

Volume

117

Issue/No.

1

First Page

207

Last Page

219

Abstract

The world is facing energy crisis and environmental issues due to the depletion of fossil fuels and increasing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. Growing microalgae can contribute to practical solutions for these global problems because they can harvest solar energy and capture CO2 by converting it into biofuel using photosynthesis. Microalgae are robust organisms capable of rapid growth under a variety of conditions including in open ponds or closed photobioreactors. Their reduced biomass compounds can be used as the feedstock for mass production of a variety of biofuels. As another advantage, their ability to accumulate or secrete biofuels can be controlled by changing their growth conditions or metabolic engineering. This review is aimed to highlight different forms of biofuels produced by microalgae and the approaches taken to improve their biofuel productivity. The costs for industrial-scale production of algal biofuels in open ponds or closed photobioreactors are analyzed. Different strategies for photoproduction of hydrogen by the hydrogenase enzyme of green algae are discussed. Algae are also good sources of biodiesel since some species can make large quantities of lipids as their biomass. The lipid contents for some of the best oil-producing strains of algae in optimized growth conditions are reviewed. The potential of microalgae for producing petroleum related chemicals or ready-make fuels such as bioethanol, triterpenic hydrocarbons, isobutyraldehyde, isobutanol, and isoprene from their biomass are also presented.

Comments

©Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

DOI

10.1007/s11120-013-9828-z

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Peer Reviewed

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