Monday, August 26, 2013

No. 759: Extracting biofuel from algae efficiently (August 27, 2013)

Producing biofuel from algae
A research team led by Hideki Kanda of Nagoya University developed a technology to extract biofuel of algae by a half amount of energy needed by the existing technology. The new technology eliminates the process to dry and smash algae. At present, it is necessary to dry algae and smash cells using chemicals in order to extract fuel from them. Because the two processes cost much, the new technology has overcome another problem for practical application.

The new technology adds dimethyl ether to the culture solution of algae, while applying pressure on it. Dimethyl ether enters into algal cells, combines with biofuel, and goes out of them. Biofuel can be separated easily from dimethyl ether by drying the dimethyl ether containing biofuel at several tens of degrees of centigrade using waste heat from plants. The dimethyl ether can be used repeatedly for the extraction of biofuel by liquefying it. The research team confirmed that the new technology can be applied to various kinds of algae. It plans to ally with companies for practical application.

The bright future algae build

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