Date of Award

Fall 2010

Project Type


Program or Major

Chemical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Ihab H Farag


Biodiesel production from microalgae is a promising technique, with advantages of high biomass yield with high lipid content. Challenges include effective techniques to harvest the grown microalgae, extraction of the algal oil and its transesterification to biodiesel. A microalgae strain was selected from 8 different species screened for growth rate and lipid content. A Tubular Photobioreactor was designed and constructed to study microalgae growth. Productivity of 1 g of dry algal biomass per liter of medium within 12 days was achieved, with lipid content up to 20 %. The observed 10 fold increase in biomass is higher than those reported for open ponds and helical photobioreactors In situ transesterification of dry algae to fatty acids methyl esters (FAMEs) was achieved using ultrasonication. A Gas Chromatograph was used to analyze the FAMEs. Biodiesel produced through 20 minutes of in situ transesterification yields up to 3.679 mg of FAMEs per g of dry algal.