Volume 9, Issue 5 (May 2012)
Evaluation of Chlorella Minutissima Oil for Biodiesel Production
Present work is an attempt to focus on screening of microalgae chlorella minutissima, extraction of oil, and conversion of oil into biodiesel. The experimental results are supported by scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX), high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analytical techniques. The SEM/EDX results indicate microalgae contain several elements that are required for lipid metabolism, e.g., calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and nitrogen. HPLC analysis of hexane extracted oil shows the presence of 74.27 % of free fatty acids, 10.65 % of fatty acid esters, and 13.74 % triglycerides, besides unidentified component 1.34 %. These results are in close agreement with the high acid value of the oil. The presence of fatty acid esters in the oil were also confirmed by GC-MS analysis. Under optimized conditions, of acid catalyzed transesterification >97 % conversion of microalgae oil into FAME is observed. The studies indicate that lower reaction time is favorable for conversion to FAMEs. However, for the purpose of biodiesel feedstock, any increase in the lipid content of the algae will improve the efficiency of the process.