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Kinetics of fast alkali reactive extraction/in situ transesterification of Chlorella vulgaris that identifies process conditions for a significant enhanced rate and water tolerance

Lookup NU author(s): Kamoru Salam, Dr Sharon Velasquez OrtaORCiD, Professor Adam Harvey


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The kinetics of alkali-catalysed reactive extraction (“in situ transesterification”) of Chlorella vulgaris with methanol to produce biodiesel were investigated. Both the experiment and the model showed that a maximum 96% biodiesel yield can be obtained in 10 min before saponification FAME losses become significant. This high FAME yield was achieved despite high levels of free fatty acid (6% lipid) in C. vulgaris. The process shows higher level of water tolerance than a two-step transesterification. At 600:1 methanol to oil molar ratio, the process was not adversely affected by up to 20% moisture in the microalgae. A derived numerical model fitted with experimental data from this study showed that other side reactions including FAME and triglyceride saponification; free fatty acid neutralisation occur alongside the desired biodiesel synthesis in a NaOH-catalysed reactive extraction.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Salam K, Velasquez-Orta SB, Harvey AP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Fuel Processing Technology

Year: 2016

Volume: 144

Pages: 212–219

Print publication date: 04/04/2016

Online publication date: 15/01/2016

Acceptance date: 30/12/2015

ISSN (print): 0378-3820

ISSN (electronic): 1873-7188

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.fuproc.2015.12.031


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