PublisherThe University of Arizona.
AbstractThe objective of our design was to create a chemical plant that uses cultivated algae grown on site in order to produce a biofuel as an alternative energy source. Currently there is a push for sustainable energy sources and biologically produced fuels are attractive due to their near net-zero carbon emissions. Algae provides a valuable source of energy due to its growth rate and sustainability. Chemical engineering principles were utilized in design; a supercritical carbon dioxide extractor for the triglycerides in the algae cells, base catalyzed transesterification reaction in continuously stirred reactors in series and separation processes at the end in order to produce a high grade biofuel for consumer applications. Emphasis on environmental consideration also went into the design, such as the use of carbon dioxide for both the growth of the algae and solid extraction process and methanol used for the transesterification and liquid extraction, allowing for easy recycle and further reducing the environmental footprint the product fuel will have.