Chemical Engineering & Technology, Vol.36, No.5, 733-739, 2013
Simultaneous Production of Biodiesel and Free Lutein from Chlorella vulgaris
Biodiesel and valuable free lutein were demonstrated to be simultaneously produced from Chlorella vulgaris lipid extracts. The alkali catalyst used in the transesterification of triglycerides acted as a reactant in converting lutein fatty acid esters to free lutein. A maximum biodiesel yield of 33.6% by weight of the algal lipids was obtained after a 4-h reaction with MeOH at the MeOH/biomass ratio of 16:1 using 6% alkali catalyst. The excess of alkali and MeOH employed in the production of biodiesel ensured the complete saponification of all lutein fatty acid esters to free lutein, giving a maximum yield of 2.3% by weight of the algal lipids. In addition, a process for the separation of the biodiesel and free lutein products from the reaction mixture is proposed. Finally, a preliminary economic assessment was conducted, the results of which suggest that the process for the simultaneous production of biodiesel and lutein from C.vulgaris may be economically feasible.