Microalgae as efficient feedstock for biorefinery
Author / authors
The global energy demand keeps rising and easy accessible fossil fuel reserves are gradually decreasing which leads to increasing interest in renewable energy sources. The energy production can be based on various sources alternative to petroleum, but the material economy mainly depends on biomass, in particular plant biomass. The potential of renewable biomass resources conversion to chemicals is sufficient to replace fossil crude oil as a carbon resource. In recent years it has increasingly become clear that first generation biofuels have got comparably unfavorable energy balances and therefore most likely can never play a major role in global energy supply. Lignocellulosic biomass is much cheaper for biofuel production than first generation feedstock, but still there are no efficient treatment technologies for large-scale applications. The microalgae might be the future source of biofuels and chemicals production. Microalgal lipids and carbohydrates could be converted to biofuels and the rest of microalgal biomass contains many valuable components, all of which are worth developing into refined products for various applications.