In situ ethyl ester production from wet algal biomass under microwave-mediated supercritical ethanol conditions

Prafulla D. Patil, Harvind Reddy, Tapaswy Muppaneni, Tanner Schaub, F. Omar Holguin, Peter Cooke, Peter Lammers, Nagamany Nirmalakhandan, Yin Li, Xiuyang Lu, Shuguang Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


An in situ transesterification approach was demonstrated for converting lipid-rich wet algae (Nannochloropsis salina) into fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE) under microwave-mediated supercritical ethanol conditions, while preserving the nutrients and other valuable components in the algae. This single-step process can simultaneously and effectively extract the lipids from wet algae and transesterify them into crude biodiesel. Experimental runs were designed to optimize the process parameters and to evaluate their effects on algal biodiesel yield. The algal biomass characterization and algal biodiesel analysis were carried out by using various analytical instruments such as FTIR, SEM-EDS, TLC, GC-MS and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) under nitrogen and oxygen environments was also performed to examine the thermal and oxidative stability of ethyl esters produced from wet algae. This simple in situ transesterification process using a green solvent and catalyst-free approach can be a potentially efficient route for algal biodiesel production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-315
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Algal biomass
  • Biodiesel
  • In situ transesterification
  • Microwave irradiation
  • Supercritical ethanolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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