Earth’s atmosphere contains more carbon dioxide today than at any point in the last 800,000 years. The Industrial Revolution marked an exponential rise in fossil fuel emissions, which led to a huge increase in human-driven carbon dioxide pollution. (1) To combat this pollution, which is responsible for global warming and environmental contamination, biofuels were developed as a natural alternative to fossil fuels. Yet there exist multiple types of biofuel cells and production methods. Keep reading to gain further understanding of the benefits of microalgae-based biofuel, and why cell disruption techniques are required for its production.
Biofuel is classically defined as that which is derived directly or indirectly from organic matter; whether plant-based or animal-based, the broken down products contain energy that is still usable. Because of its natural base, particularly compared with fossil fuels, biofuel is much more environmentally friendly. Its usage has grown to meet an impressive 10% of global energy demand.
Although plenty of organic materials can be converted into biofuel, microalgae has gained in popularity over recent years. Because of its autotrophic nature, it can slightly alleviate atmospheric C02 by using it for photosynthetic processes. Additionally, it has a significantly higher rate of growth than other plants, which also confers higher biomass output.
Under some conditions, microalgae can also yield more oil than even soybean or oil palm; this feature of yielding high amounts of oil is key in the plant’s attractiveness as a biofuel. The only drawback is its incredibly high production costs. To mitigate these costs, researchers can use wet extraction over dry extraction, which is preferable for its avoidance of costs associated with the drying process. However, algal oil is enclosed within its cells, and as is the case for all plant cells, is well-protected by a tough cell wall that needs to be penetrated. (2)
Cell disruption is the central method with which to break through cell wall in general. In this case, it results in access to valuable biodiesel oils. High pressure homogenization has been shown to be one of the most effective cell disruption methods because of both its forceful and effective nature and its cost efficiency. Pion's BEE brand is globally recognized among laboratory managers and researchers for our high quality homogenizers and excellent customer support. Cell lysis is just one of a variety of applications for Pion's BEE brand homogenizers; nano/micro emulsions, lipids, suspensions, and dispersions are also easily achievable. Additionally, the homogenizer processes can be controlled to suit your product, which will allow you to customize to your cell type. And finally, the equipment is easy to use, produces higher yield in less time, and achieves results that are reproducible and scalable.
To learn more about how to effectively lyse your biofuel-destined plant cell, check out our high pressure homogenizers.