Solvent Extraction for Microalgae Lipids

  • Emilio Molina GrimaEmail author
  • María José Ibáñez González
  • Antonio Giménez Giménez
Part of the Developments in Applied Phycology book series (DAPH, volume 5)


This chapter analyzes the solvent extraction and fractionation of algal oil for biodiesel production. Initially the basic thermodynamic principles for the dissolution of materials into solvents are outlines. For a rational design of solvent or solvent system to be used, a crucial step in the downstream processing, a quantitative approach is explained, based on the calculation of the solubility parameters (polarity index, solubility parameters and dipole moments) for the solvent and the lipid class to be extracted. This allows a great reduction in the experimental design in lipid extraction. The possible pre-treatments of biomass are then studied. The core of the chapter is devoted to analyzing the extraction of lipids from both dry and paste biomass, and how to solve some problems that occur due to the nature of lipids present and the possibility of their prior fractionation. The following section discusses an alternative to the extraction of lipids for biofuel, namely the direct extraction of fatty acids from biomass by means of a direct saponification of both dry and paste biomass and their eventual fractionation. Then we analyze the direct production of FAMEs (biodiesel) through a direct transesterification of wet paste biomass. The pros and cons of the three methods are also analyzed. Finally, the chapter also provides an assessment of a case study for processing the wet biomass produced in a 1 ha plant of tubular photobioreactors.


Polar Lipid Lipid Extraction Lipid Class Solubility Parameter Recovery Yield 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Our most sincere recognition to our colleagues of the Marine Microalgae Biotechnology group, of the University of Almería, which over the past 20 years have been co-working with us on the topics treated in this chapter. Especially, to Prof Robles-Medina and Dr Belarbi EH and Dr González-Moreno by their help, suggestions and criticisms on the contents of this chapter.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emilio Molina Grima
    • 1
    Email author
  • María José Ibáñez González
    • 1
  • Antonio Giménez Giménez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of AlmeríaAlmeríaSpain

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