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The total project cost will exceed USD 600,000. (Photo: Cidere Bio Bio/FIS)

New technology to produce biodiesel with oleic algae

Click on the flag for more information about Chile CHILE
Tuesday, November 02, 2010, 23:10 (GMT + 9)

Researchers from the Faculty of Agricultural Engineering of the University of Concepción (UdeC), based in Chillán, will begin a project that focuses on the cultivation of oleic microalgae for the manufacture of biofuels tomorrow.

According to Jose Fernando Reyes, academic and director of technology and research at UdeC, this is "a project whose concept does not exist in Chile at this time."

The initiative 'Development of high conversion reactor for microalgae cultivation and oleic biodiesel production' is funded by Innova Bío Bío of the Corporation for the Promotion of Production (Corfo), the Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Bío Bío (Cidere Bío Bío) and the Institute for Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship (ITE). The total project cost will exceed CLP 300 million (USD 600,000)

The new technology allows for "scaling of highly efficient photobioreactors." This means that from microscopic photosynthetic algae culture (Scenedesmus spinosus), oil is generated which can then be used in the manufacture of biodiesel.

Jose Fernando Reyes, academic and director of technology and research at UdeC. (Photo. UDEC)

"For this we developed and are evaluating photobioreactors with improved engineering that enable the production of microalgae, manufacturing costs and operating economically attractive for the production of biodiesel," said Reyes.

The concept behind the project is to improve the efficiency of using natural light, covered by high light transmissibility and methods of highly turbulent air agitation to prevent the adhesion of microalgae to the inside walls of pipes, as well as maximizing efficiency from light-shade exposure, reports La Discusión.

The pilot plant located in Chillán has seven photobioreactors of 1.5 cubic meters each. In the course of the experiment, experts expect a productivity gain of no less than 10 cubic meters of biodiesel per hectare.

The team consists of Wilson Esquivel, Johannes de Brujin and Alejandro Hernández, as well as Reyes.

According to Marcos Delucchi, the manager of Cidere Bío Bío, at a national level, through this initiative, they aim to improve the relationship between biology and engineering in the development of a new alternative energy for the country.

By Analia Murias
[email protected]
www.fis.com

 


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