Efficient co-pelletization of microalgae with filamentous fungi to produce biofuel and high value products

J.S. Yuan
Texas A&M University, US

Keywords: microalgae, fungus, lipid, biodiesel, unsaturated fatty acid

Summary:

The technology addresses one of the most challenging issues in algal biofuel, the efficient and cost-effective harvesting of single cell algae. To overcome the daunting technical barriers of algae biofuels and photosynthetic biorefineries, a novel cultivation technology has been developed to concentrate, harvest, and enhance microalgae-based biofuels and bioproducts through pelletization. The technology involves the co-cultivation of microalgae with fungi to achieve optimized pelletization with a 2-to-10-mm diameter. This pelletization enables the complete removal of single algal cells from the liquid medium to allow their extraction and harvest by simple filtration. In addition, the pelletization process results in significantly increased biomass, lipid, and bioproduct yields of microalgae and fungus system. This technology has the potential to improve the sustainability and economic viability of the production of algal biofuels. More importantly, the technology can be readily used to produce high value products such as poly unsaturated fatty acids for commercialization and scale-up.