Read the full post at Science Trends.
Concerns about climate change, primarily driven by the use of fossil fuels, have driven exploration of renewable and sustainable sources of energy. Biofuels obtained from biomass-based resources are potential options to replace gasoline and diesel as transportation fuels.
Microalgae are promising biomass sources on account of their high productivity, adaptability to diverse environmental conditions, ability to sequester carbon dioxide, and utilize wastewater as a resource. However, commercial production of microalgae-based fuel is still not a reality due to techno-economic bottlenecks. To this end, an integrated biorefinery, co-producing fuel, a low-value high volume product, with other value-added products such as protein, reduced sugar, and polar lipid, which are low volume high value, has been proposed. For such an integrated biorefinery, identification of the best combination of design and operational decisions among the alternatives is extremely challenging.