Techno-economical evaluation of protein extraction for microalgae biorefinery

Y.W. Sari, J.P.M. Sanders, M. Bruins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Due to scarcity of fossil feedstocks, there is an increasing demand for biobased fuels. Microalgae are considered as promising biobased feedstocks. However, microalgae based fuels are not yet produced at large scale at present. Applying biorefinery, not only for oil, but also for other components, such as carbohydrates and protein, may lead to the sustainable and economical microalgae-based fuels. This paper discusses two relatively mild conditions for microalgal protein extraction, based on alkali and enzymes. Green microalgae (Chlorella fusca) with and without prior lipid removal were used as feedstocks. Under mild conditions, more protein could be extracted using proteases, with the highest yields for microalgae meal (without lipids). The data on protein extraction yields were used to calculate the costs for producing 1 ton of microalgal protein. The processing cost for the alkaline method was 2448 /ton protein. Enzymatic method performed better from an economic point of view with 1367 /ton protein on processing costs. However, this is still far from industrially feasible. For both extraction methods, biomass cost per ton of produced product were high. A higher protein extraction yield can partially solve this problem, lowering processing cost to 620 and 1180 /ton protein product, using alkali and enzyme, respectively. Although alkaline method has lower processing cost, optimization appears to be better achievable using enzymes. If the enzymatic method can be optimized by lowering the amount of alkali added, leading to processing cost of 633/ton protein product. Higher revenue can be generated when the residue after protein extraction can be sold as fuel, or better as a highly digestible feed for cattle.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
PublisherInstitute of Physics Publishing
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventInternational Seminar on Science of Complex Natural Systems 2015, ISS-CNS 2015 - Bogor, Indonesia
Duration: 9 Oct 201510 Oct 2015

Publication series

NameIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science


ConferenceInternational Seminar on Science of Complex Natural Systems 2015, ISS-CNS 2015

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