AlgaeLink – How to make your own biodiesel course

Last week I visited the AlgaeLink facility in Roosendaal (Netherlands) where i attended the “How to make your own biodiesel” course. I was very interested in the potential of biodiesel production. Making biodiesel at lab scale turned out to be very easy. We only needed some pure vegetable sunflower oil, a few drops of NaOH, some methanol and a magnetic stirrer. After a few hours my first biodiesel was made.

The recipe for making biodiesel can be found in this link.

How to make your own biodiesel course - practical exercises

The industrial process of creating biodiesel is more complicated. Since the oil you buy is not entirely pure – it can contain too much FFA (free fatty acids) or phosphate – one needs to adjust the amount of reagents. Odour also is a problem. To remove these components you need to heat the oil at 80-120°C under vacuum.

After these practical exercises we got a tour in the factory. They showed their biodiesel production equipment and their photobioreactors, which were pretty shiny. They have full automated process control for different production parameters (pH, OD, temperature, …). To date, 27 of these reactors have been shipped for research purposes to a variety of countries.

€18.000 - AlgaeLink Roosendaal

In this reactor – demonstrated at the Roosendaal facility – they used a salt water Nannochloropsis strain.

Thanks to everyone for making it such an interesting day!

Algal Research at MIT >>

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