Technology

Scientists have developed a cheap way to produce biofuels from algae

Current biofuel production methods in largevolumes are economically unprofitable. Too much energy is spent on production. Therefore, experts in this field have long been looking for more efficient and less expensive methods of production. Experts from the University of Utah (USA) believe that the new method invented by them will help to resolve this issue. For the production of large amounts of biofuels, they propose to use a specially created jet mixer. Sciencedaily.com writes about their invention in brief, a more detailed description of the work is described in an article in the journal Chemical Engineering Science X.

Microalgae contains lipids - molecules.fatty acids that can act as a fuel. When using traditional methods of distillation of raw materials requires a large amount of energy. The game is not worth the candle, as they say - energy costs more than the resulting biofuel. Researchers at the University of Utah have developed a new type of jet mixer that allows you to extract lipids from algae with less energy.

"The key point here is to achieveenergy parity. We have not reached it yet, but a big step forward has already been made. We have removed a significant barrier to the more efficient production of biofuels from algae, ”co-author of the new study, Leonard Pisa, Sciencedaily.com quotes.

When using traditional approachesprocessing of algae to extract lipids is first required to remove water from the algae. This part of the production is the most energy-intensive. The dry residue is mixed with the solvent, where lipids are separated from the biomass. They go to the production of biofuels, which are then mixed in the right proportions with diesel fuel.

American experts have created a mixingextractor, which encounter the flow of solvent and algae. As a result, localized turbulence is created in the extractor, which pushes lipids out. They enter the solvent, from where they are removed. After processing the chemical can be reused.

“The design allows you not to spend all the energy on drying and significantly speeds up the work,” says Professor Svomitra Mokhanti, co-author of the project.

The authors of the development note that this extraction method is also suitable for extracting useful substances from other microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi.

According to the US Department of Energy, inIn 2017, about 5 percent of all energy used in the country was derived from organic matter. The list includes wood fuel, ethanol, derived from plants, and organic waste, converted into biogas. The advantage of algae is that they can be grown in ponds, canals or bioreactors specially designed for this. Growing 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 Pease. “The technologies we create can revolutionize the production of biofuels from algae and other organic substances.”

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