Algae Oil Extraction
Making Algae Biodiesel at Home
The race to produce a lower cost of biodiesel to replace fossil fuel are on the rise. This mainly due to over mining of fossil fuels that will not last if we keep on extracting them, due to the increase of price of crude oil in the world market today, that affects the prices of prime commodities life food and fuels. Since then scientist have been researching to find ways to have a fuel that could be of equal standards of fossil fuels. And there are a number of sources that are found to be a viable source of energy there is corn, soya, palm oil, and waste oil. All of these has a great potential to be a source of biodiesel but there is one organism that are found to have a greater potential to produce more oils than crop based oils which in turn can have a great effect on food production in the long run and this is algae oil.
Many big companies are also in search to have an alternative way to lower the cost of gasoline. They are teaming up with startup companies to fund their research on finding the right strain of algae that can be harvested to produce more oils to meet the demands of the world market for oil. The United States Department of Energy has been on its feet in developing algae for this alternative biodiesel. In fact one of its department has partnered with chevron one of the number players and importer of fuels in the world have team up with the National Renewable Energy Laboratories to find ways to mass produce biodiesel from algae. Besides finding way on how to mass produce and process the oils from algae another obstacle for scientist is the extraction of algae oil in the process. There are numerous ways of algae oil extraction and they are:
- Expeller/Press – a tried and tested method of extraction. By letting the algae dry out and then pressed to extract the oil
- Hexane Solvent Method – this makes use of a chemical hexane that can be mixed with the algae. Then using the expeller is pressed to extract the oils from the algae then it can undergo another extraction because of the hexane. Hexane are then separated through distillation. Much yield could be produce in this method. What’s more hexane is inexpensive.
- Supercritical Fluid Extraction – this is the most viable way of extracting 100% oil from the algae the only downside of this process is the need for a special machinery and equipment for extraction. It liquefies the carbon dioxide under pressure and heated until that both elements are in its liquid state and gas. These liquids acts as a solvent to extract the oils from the algae’s.
- Ultrasonic-assisted extraction –as the name implies it makes use of ultrasonic devices to extract oils from algae’s. In this process ultrasonic waves are being sent around the algae’s sending shock signals on to the organism as a reaction to the wave they release oil substances onto the solvent that can now be easily extracted.
These kinds of processes is too expensive for a startup company that is why many companies that grows algae’s are teaming up with oil company giants because they have the capabilities to provide such kinds of process of extraction. Biodiesel from algae has a great potential but we still have to wait a little longer for its release to the public there is still much to be done and studied the public may have to tighten their belt a little while.