This project is linked to BIOEN thematic project titled "Phase Equilibrium and Purification Processes in the Production of Biofuels and Biocompounds" and aims to study a complete pathway for the production of ethylic biodiesel from soybean and microalgae. The biomass of microalgae has aroused great scientific interest as a raw material for biodiesel production due to the high oil content of some species, environmental issues associated with the CO2 capture by these microorganisms, and especially, because microalgae does not compete for land use with food production. Bioethanol will be used in different steps of the production process and its use will be investigated systematically to establish a complete renewable route for biodiesel production, reducing environmental impacts with the generation of waste. Ethylic alcohol will be applied as solvent for the extraction of vegetable and microalgae oils, as solvent for the crude oil deacidification by adsorption on ion exchange resin and alcohol reagent for the transesterification, being each step carefully studied. Liquid-liquid equilibrium of a large amount of mixtures present in the production process, involving biodiesel, oil, water, ethanol, fatty acids and fatty esters, will be studied experimentally in a wide temperature range and subsequently modeled theoretically. A special attention will be given to the purification and characterization of final products with a comparison between the biodiesel generated by the two sources of biomass. Finally, an optimization of the process as a whole will be conducted through computer simulation in order to make the process feasible in an industrial scale.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: