ASI: Dunaliella marine microalgae to drop-in replacement liquid transportation fuel

Weicheng Wang, Elle H. Allen, Andrew A. Campos, Rushyannah Killens Cade, Lisa L. Dean, Mia Dvora, Jeremy G. Immer, Stephanie M. Mixson, Soundarya Srirangan, Marie Laure Sauer, Steven D. Schreck, Keyi Sun, Nirajan Thapaliya, Cameron W. Wilson, Joann M M Burkholder, Amy M. Grunden, Henry Henry Lamb, Heike Winter Winter, Larry F. Stikeleather, William L. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Microalgae are a promising biofuels feedstock, theoretically yielding concentrations of triacylglycerides (TAGs) per unit area that are far higher than traditional feedstocks due to their rapid growth. Dunaliella is particularly advantageous as a feedstock because it is currently commercially mass cultured, thrives in salt water, and has no cell wall. Fourteen strains of Dunaliella have been investigated for growth rates and lipid production in mass culture and tested for enhanced lipid production under a range of environmental stressors including salinity, pH, nitrogen and phosphorus limitation, and light regime. The nuclear genome has been sequenced for four of these strains, with the objective of increasing carbon flux through genetic engineering. Electroflocculation followed by osmotic membrane rupturing may be a very energy and cost efficient means of harvesting the lipid bodies from Dunaliella. A technically feasible and scalable thermo-catalytic process to convert the lipids into replacements for liquid transportation fuels has been developed. The lipids were converted into long-chain alkanes through continuous thermal hydrolysis followed by fed-batch thermo-catalytic decarboxylation. These alkanes can be reformed into renewable diesel via conventional catalytic hydrocarbon isomerization reactions to improve cold flow properties, if desired. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 32: 916-925, 2013 Copyright © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)916-925
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Progress & Sustainable Energy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 11 2013

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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