Recent developments on biofuels production from microalgae and macroalgae

Kanhaiya Kumar, Supratim Ghosh, Irini Angelidaki, Susan L. Holdt, Dimitar B. Karakashev, Merlin Alvarado Morales, Debabrata Das*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Biofuels from algae are considered as promising alternatives of conventional fossil fuels, as they can eliminate most of the environmental problems. The present study focuses on all the possible avenues of biofuels production through biochemical and thermochemical conversion methods in one place, bringing together both microalgae and macroalgae on the same platform. It provides a brief overview on the mechanism of different biofuel production from algae. Factors affecting the biofuel process and the associated challenges have been highlighted alongwith analysis of techno-economic study available in literature. Undoubtly, biodiesel is the center of attraction among other biofuels. However, their routes and process need to be optimized in order to bring the minimum fuel selling price (MFSP) of biodiesel competitive. Technological challenges have not been overcome to make biofuel production process energetically and commercially viable. Macroalgae are low in lipid content. Therefore, the use of macroalgae is restricted for gaseous fuels or fermentative methods of liquid biofuels production. Anaerobic digestion of algal biomass is easy and seems promising as the process is simple in terms of engineering and infrastructure requirement. Hydrogen production by microalgae through biophotolysis seems interesting as it directly converts the solar energy into hydrogen. However, the process has not been scaled-up till today. Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is more promising due to handling of wet biomass at moderate temperature and pressure and conversion of whole biomass into high quality oil. However, HTL process is energy intensive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-249
Number of pages15
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodiesel
  • Bioethanol
  • Biogas
  • Biohydrogen
  • Hydrothermal liquefaction


Dive into the research topics of 'Recent developments on biofuels production from microalgae and macroalgae'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this