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Energy aspects of microalgal biodiesel production

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA

Topical Section: Energy Policy and Economics

Algal biodiesel production will play a significant role in sustaining future transportation fuel supplies. A large number of researchers around the world are investigating into making this process sustainable by increasing the energy gains and by optimizing resource-utilization efficiencies. Although, research is being pursued aggressively in all aspects of algal biodiesel production from microalgal cell cultivation, cell harvesting, and extraction and transesterification steps to the final product separation and purification, there is a large disparity in the data presented in recent reports making it difficult to assess the real potential of microalgae as a future energy source. This article discusses some of the key issues in energy consumption in the process of algal biodiesel production and identifies the areas for improvement to make this process energy-positive and sustainable.
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