UNAIR Lecturer: Microalgae in Indonesia Potential as Source of Biodiesel Production

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – Energy security is one of the most widely discussed national issues in Indonesia, so it needs attention from all components of the nation. Not only in the economic sector, but the crisis in the energy sector can also have an impact on many areas, such as the political, security, health, environment and humanitarian sectors.

Microalgae is a photosynthetic microorganism that can produce fatty acids and high carbohydrates through the esterification process, microalgae fatty acids can be converted into biodiesel. Indonesia has a high diversity of microalgae, but its potential is still not fully utilized.

The potential of microalgae is very promising to be used as an agent in biodiesel production, so the potential needs to be explored in depth. Therefore, the lecturer of Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) Prof. Dr. Purkan, S.Si., M.Si. conducted research to uncover the potential of microalgae in Indonesia which can be used as a source of biodiesel production.

“Microalgae has the potential as a source of biodiesel production because it has advantages such as rapid growth, high productivity, does not require a large area of culture, and can use water for growing nutrients. Besides, their use does not disrupt food supplies, because microalgae do not compete with food, ” he explained.

Chlorella Vulgaris is a type of microalgae found in Indonesian waters for producing biodiesel has not yet been developed. Chlorella Vulgaris microalgae were grown in DG11 media with a CO2 supply. Media optimization and fermentation conditions are carried out, so that fermentation can produce biomass with high fatty acid content.

“Local strain of Chlorella Vulgaris biomass can produce lipids with a fairly high level, which is 31% (v / v), extracted with a solvent mixture of n-hexane-ethanol (1: 1). Analysis with GC-MS can be seen that the lipid content in Chlorella Vulgaris is composed of dominant fatty acids, namely pentadecanoic acid, hexadecanoic acid, heptadecanoic acid, stearic acid and nonadecanoic acid, “he said.

Microalgae is abundant in Indonesia, and it can be developed for biodiesel production sources. Thus, it can help to supply alternative energy of fossil fuels. The scale of biodiesel industry needs to be supported by the government in terms of policies or the provision of adequate infrastructure, given its enormous potential.

Author: Dian Putri Apriliani

Editor: Nuri Hermawan

Link: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/chem.2019.17.issue-1/chem-2019-0102/chem-2019-0102.xml?format=INT

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