The microalgae biorefinery: A perspective on the current status and future opportunities using genetic modification

Gino Schiano di Visconte, Andrew Spicer, Christopher J. Chuck, Michael J. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

There is clear scientific evidence that emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), arising from fossil fuel combustion and land-use change as a result of human activities, are perturbing the Earth's climate. Microalgae-derived biofuels have been chased since the 1980swithout success but, lately, a new biorefinery concept is receiving increasing attention. Here, we discuss the possible solutions to the many problems that make this process unrealised to date, considering also the possibility of including genetically modified (GM) organisms to improve the productivity and process economics. Currently, unless coupled to a service or higher value product production, biofuels derived from microalgae fail to achieve economic reality. However, provided sufficient development of new technologies, potentially including new or improved organisms to lower both production and processing costs, as well as looking at the utility of distributed versus centralised production models, algae biofuels could achieve an impact, off-setting our heavy reliance on petroleum-based liquid fuels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4793
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Volume9
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Biofuels
  • Biorefinery
  • Biotechnology
  • GMO
  • Microalgae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes

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