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Enzyme Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 468292, 25 pages
Review Article

A Review of Enzymatic Transesterification of Microalgal Oil-Based Biodiesel Using Supercritical Technology

1Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department, UAE University, Al-Ain 17555, United Arab Emirates
2Mechanical Engineering Department, UAE University, Al-Ain 17555, United Arab Emirates
3Chemical and Materials Engineering Department, University of Auckland, 1142 Auckland, New Zealand

Received 14 January 2011; Accepted 14 July 2011

Academic Editor: K. B. Ramachandran

Copyright © 2011 Hanifa Taher 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.


Biodiesel is considered a promising replacement to petroleum-derived diesel. Using oils extracted from agricultural crops competes with their use as food and cannot realistically satisfy the global demand of diesel-fuel requirements. On the other hand, microalgae, which have a much higher oil yield per hectare, compared to oil crops, appear to be a source that has the potential to completely replace fossil diesel. Microalgae oil extraction is a major step in the overall biodiesel production process. Recently, supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) has been proposed to replace conventional solvent extraction techniques because it is nontoxic, nonhazardous, chemically stable, and inexpensive. It uses environmentally acceptable solvent, which can easily be separated from the products. In addition, the use of SC-CO2 as a reaction media has also been proposed to eliminate the inhibition limitations that encounter biodiesel production reaction using immobilized enzyme as a catalyst. Furthermore, using SC-CO2 allows easy separation of the product. In this paper, conventional biodiesel production with first generation feedstock, using chemical catalysts and solvent-extraction, is compared to new technologies with an emphasis on using microalgae, immobilized lipase, and SC-CO2 as an extraction solvent and reaction media.