Production of Microalgal Lipids as Biodiesel Feedstock with Fixation of CO2 by Chlorella vulgaris

Qiao Hu1, Rong Zeng2*, Sen-Xiang Zhang1, Zhong-Hua Yang1* and Hao Huang1

College of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Wuhan University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430081, PR China
2College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Hubei University, Wuhan 430062, PR China

Article history

Received April 18, 2013
Accepted March 24, 2014

Key words

biodiesel, biofuels, CO2 mitigation, microalgae

The global warming and shortage of energy are two critical problems for human social development. CO2 mitigation and replacing conventional diesel with biodiesel are effective routes to reduce these problems. Production of microalgal lipids as biodiesel feedstock by a freshwater microalga, Chlorella vulgaris, with the ability to fixate CO2 is studied in this work. The results show that nitrogen deficiency, CO2 volume fraction and photoperiod are the key factors responsible for the lipid accumulation in C. vulgaris. With 5 % CO2, 0.75 g/L of NaNO3 and 18:6 h of light/dark cycle, the lipid content and overall lipid productivity reached 14.5 % and 33.2 mg/(L·day), respectively. Furthermore, we proposed a technique to enhance the microalgal lipid productivity by activating acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACCase) with an enzyme activator. Citric acid and Mg2+ were found to be efficient enzyme activators of ACCase. With the addition of 150 mg/L of citric acid or 1.5 mmol/L of MgCl2, the lipid productivity reached 39.1 and 38.0 mg/(L·day), respectively, which was almost twofold of the control. This work shows that it is practicable to produce lipids by freshwater microalgae that can fixate CO2, and provides a potential route to solving the global warming and energy shortage problems.

*Corresponding author:,
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