Authors: Mamta Awasthi & Rajiv Kumar Singh
Abstract: The necessity for clean, economical and sustainable sources of energy is more important than ever. Biological energy production begins with the photosynthetic fixation of CO2 into biomass (starches, lignocelluloses, etc.) and is followed by conversion of biomass via various microbial processes to fuels (ethanol, methane, hydrogen, oils). The practicability of the first generation (sugars, grains, or seeds) biofuels production is however questionable because of the conflict with food supply. ‘Food versus Fuel’ debates, has encouraged many non-food producing crops but wise use of land is equally important. Moreover water is a paramount global challenge for biomass-derived fuels (i.e. biofuels) because (1) large quantities of water are needed to grow many current fuel crops, and (2) water pollution is exacerbated by agricultural drainage containing fertilizers, pesticides and sediment. There is no magic-bullet fuel crop that can solve our energy needs without harming the environment but microalgal biofuels are a viable alternative and comes closer than any other plant because it grows in wastewater, even seawater, requiring little more than sunlight and carbon dioxide to flourish. Integrated approach to combine the CO2 effluent industry with algae production system has been tried from time to time. The oil productivity of many micro algae exceeds the best producing oil crops. Lipids produced from algae contain saturated and polar lipids, which are suitable for use as a fuel feedstock and are contained in higher concentrations than other plants.
Keywords: Biofuel, Microalgae Cultivation, Harvesting, Biodiesel, Lipids