Bidiesel in colombia

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  • Publicado : 10 de marzo de 2012
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Technological alternatives for biodiesel production in Colombia

In Colombia, like in almost all the countries where petroleum is the main resource of energetics, the rate of depletion of fossilfuel reserves, the serious effect of greenhouse gas emissions on global climate change and the increasing of petroleum byproducts consumption, imply new strategies to produce biofuels from renewableresources. Biodiesel offers advantageous alternatives over other petroleum-derived fuel substitutes, because it is environmentally friendly and is an excellent fuel for common diesel engines. Biodieselconsists of fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) and is usually obtained from plant oils. Nowadays, In Colombia, biodiesel production from oil crops is not sustainable because of the impact on food supplyand the environment quality. Microbial oils, the newly postulated alternative to plant oils, have as their distinguishing characteristic, their yield and hence their biodiesel yield. Our recentresearching activity has been focused in the characterization of microalgae as a feedstock for biodiesel and exploring alternatives for improving biodiesel production.

Taking into account the particularand favorable tropical Colombian conditions, we have oriented our efforts to produce algal biomass on the scale needed for biodiesel production from native microalgae consortia, using the freelyavailable sunlight, tubular bioreactors and deoiling competitive technologies, avoiding the traditional multiple solid-liquid separation steps, typical of the algal green crude production process. Byusing dimethyl ether as extractant, the green crude has been successfully extracted from high-moisture natural microalgae, combining drying, cell disruption and solvent extraction in one step.

Onthe other hand, we are beginning to obtain biodiesel by acid-catalyzed direct transformation, without previous extraction of the lipids. Direct transformation, increases lipid extraction and...
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