Scientists have developed a cheap method for the production of biofuels from algae

Current methods of biofuel production in large volumes is economically disadvantageous. The production spent too much energy. Therefore, experts in this field have searched for more efficient and less costly production methods. Experts from the University of Utah (USA) believe that they invented a new method will help to resolve this issue. For the production of a large volume of biofuel they propose to use the specially designed jet mixer. Briefly about their invention, writes, more detailed description of the work described in the article of the journal Chemical Engineering Science X.

The microalgae contain lipids — fatty acid molecules, capable to act as fuel. When using traditional methods of distillation of raw materials requires a large amount of energy. Ovchinka not worth the candle, as they say – energy costs more than it gives biofuels. Researchers from the University of Utah have developed a new type of jet mixer, which allows to extract lipids from algae with less power.

“The key point here is to do energy parity. We are not quite there yet, but a big step forward has already been done. We have removed a significant barrier to more efficient production of biofuels from algae”, — quotes the words of co-author of a new study Leonard of Pisa

When using the traditional approaches of processing algae to extract lipids first have to remove all the algae in the water. This part of the production is the most energy consuming. The dry residue is mixed with the solvent, where the lipids are separated from the biomass. They go for biofuel production, which is then mixed in the desired proportions with diesel fuel.

American experts have created the mixing extractor, which face the flow of solvent and algae. As a result, the extractor creates a localized turbulence which pushes the lipids. They fall into the solvent, from where it is extracted. After processing, the chemical can be reused.

“The design allows not to waste all the energy for drying and much faster,” — says Professor Sumitra Mohanty, co-author of the project.

The authors note that such extraction method suitable for extraction of nutrients from other microorganisms, like bacteria and fungi.

According to the U.S. Department of energy, in 2017, about 5 percent of all energy used in the country, was obtained from organic substances. The list includes wood fuel, ethanol derived from plants, and organic waste converted to biogas. The advantage of algae is that they can be grown in ponds, canals or specially created for this the bioreactors. The cultivation of algae in large volumes also has a positive effect on the atmosphere, reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air.

“Our development is a real breakthrough, says Magnus. – The technology that we create can revolutionize the production of biofuels from algae and other organic substances.”