By using native cells from the Lake of Texcoco, researchers reduce biofuel production time
Microalgae developed in wastewater retain large amounts of lipids, carbohydrates and proteins suitable for energy production, without a biomass limit or transformation. Scientists at the National University of Mexico (UNAM) tell us that they can produce biofuel in three hours.
A research conducted using academic exchanges with students of the Engineering Institute at UNAM and the University of Newcastle was developed from the sampling of mixed microalgae: Chlorella, Scenedesmus and Desmodesmus native to the Lake of Texcoco.
In the generation of biodiesel, about 45 percent of the energy is used in harvesting microalgae, therefore, researchers focus on improving processing operations involved in the transformation to biodiesel. Dr. Sharon Velazquez, expert from the University of Newcastle in the UK, said that “we want to avoid changing the natural environment of microalgae and not introduce genetically modified species.
Depending on the biofuel will be the fraction of the microalgae nutrient we use. In our case we use fats, we extract them and transform them into biodiesel, meaning we improve the properties of lipids, its viscosity to use as a liquid fuel. ”
The graduate of the UNAM also emphasized that for biomass other developments use corn or palm oil and get a very slow growth, lasting weeks. Microalgae, being a cell, grows in less than 24 hours, so its transformation into biodiesel is very fast, takes only about three hours, due to that the algae are harvested daily and biofuel could be produced every day.
With more than six years of research, the academic stressed that “it is estimated that the global energy for wastewater treatment will increase up to 44 percent by 2030”. Thus it has been determined that the use of this biodiesel has great benefits from environmental contributions to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, it also boosts the local economy with the creation of new jobs and presents a viable alternative to fossil fuels.
“Geotechnical studies have described our country as ideal for the growth of microalgae. For example, countries such as Peru and the United States have already opened the spectrum of fuels used in automobiles, we hope that Mexico also start offering this to consumers,” concluded the researcher of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials at Newcastle University.