Nefdt_T - Energy Postgraduate Conference

The Evaluation of Macro Algae as a
feedstock for biofuel production
within a South African context
Taryn Nefdt
Masters Research
Supervisor: Professor Sanette Marx
Co-supervisor: Dr. Idan Chiyanzu
North West University
Energy Postgraduate Conference 2013
Presentation Outline
• Introduction
• Objectives
• Experimental Setup
• Data Analysis
• Value Added Products
• Conclusion
• References
Fossil fuels are currently being utilized for the world’s energy needs.
A dilemma therefore exists, since fossil fuels are a non-renewable
resource. The use of fossil fuels is also not sustainable in terms of
the resultant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
There are three main fossil fuels utilized globally to satiate the
demands of the transport, electricity generation and industrial
South Africa derives the majority of its energy for electricity
generation, from coal. It is estimated that South Africa will exhaust its
supply of coal by the year 2050.
In terms of engine fuel for the transport sector, South Africa does not
have a large amount of oil reserves and relies mainly on imports to
sustain the transport industry.
The Biofuel Industrial Strategy of South Africa, released by the
Department Minerals and Energy in 2007 suggested the utilisation of
sugar cane and sugar beet for bioethanol production and the
utilisation of sunflower, canola, and soya beans for the production of
The strategy showed a preference for first generation feedstocks for
bioethanol and bio-oil production at a 2% suggested penetration
The purpose of this presentation is to examine my research which
evaluates the feasibility of a third generation feedstock: Macro Algae
within a South African context.
To produce sufficient yields of the products bioethanol, biodiesel, and
To examine the efficiency of micro-organisms currently used for
To highlight the advantages of Macro Algae as a feedstock over first
generation feedstocks and second generation feedstocks.
To integrate data from the current major producers of Macro Algae in
the study i.e the Abalone farms.
To produce a Business Intelligence Application that neatly
encapsulates the experimental results of this study as well as key
economic and feasibility indicators for decision making purposes at
government and private stakeholder level.
To subject the Macro Algae extracts to thorough compositional
analysis in order to shed light on potential Value Added Products.
To suggest techniques to deal with potential market over saturation.
Experimental Setup
The three Macro Algae species chosen for the study are: Ecklonia
Maxima, a brown Algae species, Ulva Spp, a green Algae species, and
Gracilaria Spp, a red Algae species.
The fresh Macro Algae samples will be dried overnight at 105 ⁰ C until
a constant weight is obtained.
The samples will then be milled using a Hammer mill (TRF 70) until
they are fit to pass through a 1.5 mm screen and then stored in sealed
glass stoppered flasks at room temperature.
Green Algae
Red Algae
Ulva Spp
Gracilaria Spp
Brown Algae
Ecklonia Maxima
The Pre-treatment phase, in order to release the simple sugars from
the Macro Algae extracts, needed for subsequent fermentation, will
involve Sulphuric Acid Hydrolysis using dilute Sulphuric Acid.
Oxalic Acid will also be used in separate Pre-treatment experiments
and comparisons between the two acids in terms of Pre-treatment
efficiency will be made. HPLC analysis will be used to quantify the
sugars in the hydrolysate.
Batch Fermentation experiments will be carried out using two
different micro-organisms in separate fermentation flasks.
The yeast Pichia angophorae (ATCC®22304™) will be used for the
ethanol fermentation.
The bacterium Clostridium Acetobutylicum will be used for the
acetone butanol fermentation.
These organisms are able to utilize the Macro Algae sugars such as
mannitol and laminarin as substrates for fermentation.
The bio-oil for biodiesel production will be produced using
liquefaction, and the Macro Algae milled extracts as a feedstock.
Data Analysis
The PowerPivot Add-in is integrated into the Excel Software Package
and will be used for the Business Intelligence and data storage
component of the research.
Data from contemporary literature sources regarding Macro Algae as
a feedstock for biofuel production will be used to create a baseline.
Data from this study will be entered into the relational schema and
analysed, using standard Excel statistical techniques as well as the
Business Intelligence indicators given by the DAX language.
Data from the current Macro Algae producers and suppliers such as
the Abalone farms will be integrated.
This data will be used to create a complete Business Intelligence
Application that can be accessed by various stakeholders such as
policy makers, SMME's interested in biofuel start-ups, and vehicle
A complete Chemical Information System will be created for accurate
assessment and economic viability of Macro Algae as a potential
feedstock for biofuel production in the South African context.
Value Added Products
Part of the appeal of Macro Algae as a biofuel feedstock is that the
scientific community and industrial community are familiar with
Macro Algae derived products.
Macro Algae extracts, in combination with Propylene Oxide are used
to make food-grade thickeners and foam stabilizers.
Macro Algae is used in the production of hydrocolloids.
Macro Algae is also used as feed in the aquaculture industry and in
the South African context – as feed in the Abalone industry.
In addition to biofuel production, Macro Algae can also be used in the
chemical synthesis industry. HPLC analysis and compositional
analysis will be conducted in order to determine useful by-products
and intermediates of the fermentation and liquefaction experiments.
These Value Added Products are important to prevent market over
saturation of biofuels in the current South African context.
Macro Algae could be used as a feedstock for bio-energy production
in South Africa. However, there are a number of key issues to take
into consideration:
Adaptive Capacity of Abalone Farms with regards to Biofuel
The current supply to market chain for Macro Algae.
Optimization of the bioprocessing techniques for the production of
BRICS partnership agreements for bioethanol exports.
Value Added Products to offset production costs.
The attitudes of industry and SMME incentives.
Government policy and regulation.
The implementation of FFV vehicles in South Africa for bioethanol use
for blend E85.
PowerPivot for Excel. (2013). Retrieved May 12, 2013, from Microsoft Developer
Bolton, J., Anderson, R., Shuuluka, D., & Kandjengo, L. (2008). Growing Ulva
(Chlorophyta) in integrated systems as a commercial crop for Abalone feed in
South Africa: a SWOT analysis. Journal of Applied Phycology, 575-583.
Energy, D. o. (2003). White Paper on the Renewable Policy of the Republic of
South Africa.
Energy, D. o. (2007). Biofuels Industrial Strategy of the Republic of South Africa.
Department of Minerals and Energy.
Pegels, A. (2010). Renewable Energy in South Africa: Potentials, barriers and
options for support. Energy Policy, 4945-4954.
Roesijadi, G., Jones, S. B., Snowden-Swan, L. J., & Zhu, Y. (2010). Macroalgae as
a Biomass Feedstock: A Preliminary Analysis. United States Department of
StatsSA. (2005). Natural resource accounts. Statistics South Africa.

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