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International Journal of Chemical Engineering
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 425604, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/425604
Research Article

Biomass Production and Ester Synthesis by In Situ Transesterification/Esterification Using the Microalga Spirulina platensis

1Departamento de Engenharia Química, Universidade Estadual de Maringá (DEQ/UEM), Avenida Colombo 5790, Bloco D90, 87020-900 Maringá, PR, Brazil
2Departamento de Engenharias e Ciências Exatas, Universidade Estadual do Oeste do Paraná (UNIOESTE), Rua da Faculdade 645, Gerpel, 85903-000 Toledo, PR, Brazil

Received 30 April 2013; Revised 2 July 2013; Accepted 12 July 2013

Academic Editor: Said Galai

Copyright © 2013 Tatiana Rodrigues da Silva Baumgartner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The increasing energy demand and reduction in the availability of nonrenewable energy sources, allied with an increase in public environmental awareness, have stimulated a search for alternative energy sources. The present study was aimed at producing biomass from the microalga Spirulina platensis and at assessing in situ synthesis of alkyl esters via acid transesterification/esterification of biomass to produce biodiesel. Two alcohols (ethanol and methanol) and two cosolvents (hexane and chloroform) were tested, at different temperatures (30, 45, 60, 75, and 90°C) and reaction times (10, 20, 30, 60, and 120 min). The factorial analysis of variance detected an interaction between the factors ( ): temperature, reaction time, alcohol, and cosolvent. The best yields were obtained with the combination ethanol and chloroform at 60°C, after 30 min of reaction, and with hexane at 45°C, after 10 min of reaction. In situ transesterification/esterification of alga biomass to form esters for biodiesel production adds unconventional dynamics to the use of this feedstock.