Prospects of using algae in biofuel production
AbstractThe development of industry, agriculture and the transport sector is associated with the use of various energy sources. Renewable energy sources, including biofuels, are highly promising in this respect. As shown by a number of scientific studies, a promising source for biofuel production that would meet modern requirements may be algal biomass. After activation of the third generation biodiesel production it was assumed that the algae would become the most advantageous source, because it is not only able to accumulate significant amounts of lipids, but could reduce the of agricultural land involved in biofuel production and improve air quality by sequestering CO2. However, a major problem is presented by the cost of algae biomass cultivation and its processing compared to the production of biodiesel from agricultural crops. In this regard, there are several directions of increasing the efficiency of biodiesel production from algae biomass. The first direction is to increase lipid content in algae cells by means of genetic engineering. The second direction is connected with the stimulation of increased accumulation of lipids by stressing algae. The third direction involves the search for new, promising strains of algae that will be characterized by faster biomass accumulation rate, higher content of TAG and the optimal proportions of accumulated saturated and unsaturated fatty acids compared to the already known strains. Recently, a new approach in the search for biotechnologically valuable strains of algae has been formed on the basis of predictions of capacity for sufficient accumulation of lipids by clarifying the evolutionary relationships within the major taxonomic groups of algae. The outcome of these studies is the rapid cost reduction of biofuel production based on algae biomass. All this emphasizes the priority of any research aimed at both improving the process of production of biofuels from algae, and the search for new sources for biofuel production.
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