The development of industrial processes for large-scale production of biofuels , in particular biodiesel , is one of the most pursued purposes of research teams, companies, and governments all in the world, as consequence of a necessary reduction of CO2 emissions and the need of renewable and affordable energy sources.
However, several constraints strongly limit biodiesel production, and its use, basically, is as additive blended with petrodiesel.
Microalgae are photosynthetic microorganisms which can convert CO2 into triacylglycerols, and then, since decades, they have been considered as a potential innovative feedstock for biodiesel production, able to successfully replace oil crops.
Despite the considerable research and funding efforts, up to now biodiesel from microalgae is still an expensive process, because no significant reduction in cost of the downstream processing of biomass (biomass separation and drying and oil extraction) has been achieved.
Therefore, biodiesel production may be considered as part of a hypothetical process which produces several high-value added microalgae-based products, as pharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals.
However, research and capital investments in biodiesel production from microalgae show a positive trend up to date.
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