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Chilean Scientists Produce Biodiesel From Microalgae which can Power Vehicles

"What is new about our process is the intent to produce this fuel from microalgae, which are microorganisms," researcher Carlos Saez told Reuters

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biodiesel from microalgae
A biochemist shows different types of microalgae for the study and manufacture of a biofuel in high displacement diesel engines for reducing emissions of gases and particulate matter in Santiago, Chile. VOA
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  • Experts from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Bioprocesses at Chile’s Catholic University said they had grown enough algae to fragment it and extract the oil which can be converted into biofuel.
  • Most of the world’s biodiesel, which reduces dependence on petroleum, is derived from soybean oil
  • The main challenge going forward would be to produce a sufficient volume of microalgae

Santiago, July 1, 2017: Biodiesel made from microalgae could power buses and trucks and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 80 percent, Chilean scientists said, possibly curbing pollution in contaminated cities like Santiago.

Experts from the department of Chemical Engineering and Bioprocesses at Chile’s Catholic University said they had grown enough algae to fragment it and extract the oil which, after removing moisture and debris, can be converted into biofuel.

“What is new about our process is the intent to produce this fuel from microalgae, which are microorganisms,” researcher Carlos Saez told Reuters.

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Most of the world’s biodiesel, which reduces dependence on petroleum, is derived from soybean oil. It can also be made from animal fat, canola or palm oil.

Saez said a main challenge going forward would be to produce a sufficient volume of microalgae. A wide variety of fresh and salt water algaes are found in Chile, a South American nation with a long Pacific coast.

The scientists are trying to improve algae growing technology to ramp up production at a low cost using limited energy, Saez said. (VOA)

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IIT – Kharagpur Researchers develop Technology to make Biofuel manufacturing cheaper, quicker and free of Pollution

The 'soil-to-soil' manufacturing technology developed at the P.K. Sinha Centre for Bioenergy at IIT - Kharagpur is in the process of being patented

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IIT Kharagpur, Wikimedia
  • The ‘National Policy on bio-fuel’ targeted 20 per cent blending of biofuel with petrol by 2017
  • This project is funded by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Human Resource Development
  • Bioethanol can be produced from various naturally available ligno-cellulosic components

Kolkata, May 31, 2017:  Researchers at IIT – Kharagpur have developed a technology that has the potential to make biofuel manufacturing cheaper, quicker and free of pollution.

The ‘soil-to-soil’ manufacturing technology developed at the P.K. Sinha Centre for Bioenergy at IIT – Kharagpur is in the process of being patented.

Researchers say bioethanol can be produced from various naturally available ligno-cellulosic components, but to do so the biomass needs to be treated chemically and in some cases physico-chemically. Because of chemical treatment, the process contributes to polluting the environment.

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“We have replaced this chemical treatment with enzymes which degrade the lignin specifically, thereby making the manufacturing process pollution-free,” said Rintu Banerjee, Professor of Department of Agricultural and Food Engineering at the P.K. Sinha Centre for Bioenergy.

“Also unlike the chemical treatment, here the waste product is pollution-free and hence utilising the residual biomass to make organic fertiliser is possible,” Banerjee said.

The ‘National Policy on bio-fuel’ targeted 20 per cent blending of biofuel with petrol by 2017.

With the government expecting the bio-fuel business in India to touch Rs 50,000 crore by 2022, this new green technology with lesser manufacturing cost and time could become a game changer, the researchers said.

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“The technique that we are suggesting will ensure relatively quicker production of bio-fuel and ensuring that the process is completely green, not creating any secondary pollution. This, we feel can change the future of bio-fuel manufacturing in India and make it more cost effective,” said Banerjee.

This project is funded by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Human Resource Development. (IANS)

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