Researchers Investigate the Use of Crude Glycerol for Production of Algal Biofuel

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee have developed a new, low-cost method for production of biofuels. The team led by Dr. Richa Katiyar investigated the use of crude glycerol, for cultivation of microalgae.

Microalgae are considered as a superior resource for production of biodiesel due to its ability to produce higher biomass and accumulate more lipids. However, the cost of feedstock and expense of operation are two crucial cost components in biodiesel production. The cost of feedstock used for biodiesel production accounts about 60-70% of the total cost of biodiesel production from microalgae. Moreover, the cost of the substrate used in microalgal-based biodiesel production also contributes to a huge part of the total cost.

In the new method developed by the researchers at IIT Roorkee, the team used crude glycerol, a low-cost organic carbon source and the main by-product of the biodiesel production process. Crude glycerol also works as a media feedstock for cultivation of microalgae, further minimizing the costs. Moreover, the research has shown that the use of crude glycerol enhanced the total lipid accumulation in the algal cells. This also increases waste minimization by using agro-waste and is able to produce enhanced quantity and quality of biodiesel.


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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