The goal for this program is to develop and demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of producing high quality transportation fuels from a non-food feedstock, namely microalgae (Dunaliella spp.). A multi-step, catalytic process is being optimized to produce high quality hydrocarbon biofuels from lipid-rich biomass that are nearly identical to their petroleum-derived counterpart. Next generation biofuels, to be successful in the marketplace and accepted by the public, will necessarily mimic the chemical composition of the petroleum-derived fuels using non-food feedstocks. Key advantages of the proposed biofuels process are its feedstock flexibility, output flexibility/control and very limited hydrogen requirement (this is not a hydrogenation process). Technical challenges include genetic modification of Dunaliella spp. to overproduce fatty acids, lipid extraction using low energy separation processes to remove unwanted compounds from lipids/FFAs, efficient hydrogenation into FFAs, optimization of the catalytic decarboxylation process, hydroisomerization and hydroaromitization as necessary, and quantification of the fuel properties.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)