There is a growing interest in the production of biofuels mainly because of environmental protection and energy supply reasons. Currently, most research into efficient biofuel production is being carried out and predictions from small-scale production experiments bear out that using algae (microalgae, among other biofuels) to produce biodiesel may be the only viable method by which enough automotive fuel can be produced to replace current world conventional diesel usage. Also, studies show that some species of algae can produce up to 60% – 80% of their dry weight in the form of oil. Because the cells grow in aqueous suspension where they have more efficient access to water, CO2 and dissolved nutrients, microalgae are capable of producing large amounts of biomass and usable oil in either high rate algal ponds or photo-bioreactors. This oil can then be turned into biodiesel which could be sold for use in automobiles. Economic wise, regional production of microalgae and processing into biofuels will provide great benefits to rural communities. Hence, there is need for optimal, efficient and safe production of biodiesel from microalgae.
In this work, we propose a project for the design and construction of a biodiesel microreactor. It is drawn using the PDMS software. The design of the reactor requires the modelling of the complex series of reversible reactions which are known to take place; process characterization of the biodiesel production system by dividing it into unit processes; design of a process model; derivation of thermodynamic equations that govern the whole system; and algorithm using FORTRAN 95 to enhance the estimation and proper management of the productivity of any quantity (mass) of algal biomass to be converted to useful volume of biodiesel. Finally, a test of the use of this biodiesel in vehicles is presented.