Make Your Own Algal Biodiesel

Unlike the highly subsidized fuels produced from corn that affect food prices and availability, biofuel produced from algae is both cost efficient and simple to produce. Only three things are needed to grow algae: light, water, and carbon dioxide and generate mainly glucose and lipids as byproducts. The oil produced is then extracted and easily converted to biodiesel by mixing the oil with methoxide, which separates the oil into two layers, the top layer being biodiesel and the bottom layer being glycerin, itself a useful commodity which can be sold to other manufacturers, partially covering the costs of production. Oil algae also produces sugars that can also be fermented to produce bioethanol. The video demonstrates the basics of making biodiesel at home. In this instance, oil was extracted from dry microalgae biomass with the use of a simple garlic press until 1 liter of oil was extracted.

Authors: Andrew Rysanek and Julie M. Fagan, Ph.D.
Rutgers University, Fall 2014
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