Advances in Biofuels

The book “Advances in Biofuels” presents the contributions of some researchers in modem fields of biofuels, serving as valuable information for scientists, research­ers, graduate students, and professionals. The focus is on several aspects of biofuels technology, examining complex technical issues and some aspects of the diverse resources and their application for industrial and policy matters. The book covered some topics as follows:

The book is made up of 14 chapters, grouped together in five parts, on different tech­nical fields. In Chap. 1, the first-generation, second-generation, and third-generation biofuels are discussed. The focus has been made on the research and development of biofuels in Malaysia with much attention paid on palm oil. The government’s support on renewable energy and various policies for the biofuel research along with the issues and challenges for the production and utilization of oil palm biomass are also highlighted.

Chapter 2: The recent progress of oil palm plantation industry in the state of Sabah, the biggest oil palm growing state in Malaysia, and establishment of Palm Oil Cluster (POIC) in Lahad Datu for speeding up the value-adding oil palm down­stream industries as the growth engine to accelerate the economic development in the state are highlighted.

Chapter 3: Potential technologies for the conversion of biomass to biofuels are highlighted. Biomass utilization reduces the dependency on fossil-based fuel and will help to prolong the fuel supply and at the same time reduce the environmental issues related to CO2 emission. The effect of steam and newly developed bimetallic catalyst (Fe/Ni/Zeolite-P) on palm oil wastes including palm shell (PS) and palm oil fronds (POF) decomposition for H2 production that was experimentally investigated in thermogravimetric analysis-gas chromatography (TGA-GC) is discussed.

Chapter 4: Different biomass resources used for energy by conversion process are explained. Thermochemical processes for hydrogen production are detailed in this chapter. Biomass gasification using supercritical water to produce hydrogen gas is stated as a new approach. But the harmful heteroatomic compounds produced with this need to be taken into account. A newly developed on-line mass spectrometry for the determination of the sulfur compounds released during hydrothermal reaction from L-cysteine as model compound and durian fruit as practical sample was conducted. The effect of alkaline Ca (OH)2 addition on the formation of sulfur heteroatom compounds has also been studied in detail.

Chapter 5: Oil palm wastes (OPW) comprising both solid and liquid residues from the oil palm industry are among the most abundant agricultural wastes in the world. The inefficient method of disposal and management of OPW has necessi­tated the need to recover value-added products from them. This study reviews the vital characteristics of OPW suitable for the synthesis of value-added bio-products. Simultaneous production of oil palm fresh fruit bunches (FFB) and the utilization of the plantation wastes for food and animal feed with integration of animal husbandry in the oil palm plantation are discussed.

Chapter 6: Triglycerides are the main constituents of vegetable oils. The tempera­ture distributions of sunflower and soybean oil combustion flames using the semawar burner have been investigated in this research using spectroscopic method. The spon­taneous NO emission has also been visualized by ICCD camera. It has obviously seen that NO emission of sunflower oil is more significant than soybean oil due to the higher temperature of sunflower oil combustion flames. The presence of CO2, CO, H2O, and NO from sunflower and soybean oil combustion flames has been observed using FT-IR, and CO2 has been also visualized using infrared camera.

Chapter 7: Normally bioethanol is obtained from different vegetable oils. Here a low-cost alternative technology for production of bioethanol from EFB of palm oil in Malaysia is discussed. Malaysia can be a pioneer in lignocellulose’s ethanol tech­nology using EFB as a resource by integrating a bioethanol plant near palm oil mills. This new industry can generate various spin-offs beneficial to the country. Independent palm oil processing mills would be expected to be the main contribu­tors of EFB as they do not have plantation to decompose the EFB residues generated from their mills. The development of a bioethanol demonstration plant has to over­come barriers related to the supply chain. This can be done through educational campaigns on the benefits of a renewable energy industry.

Chapter 8: Biodiesel has become more attractive as an alternative fuel resource because of its environmental benefit such as biodegradable, nontoxic, and low emis­sion profiles. The following areas are covered by this chapter: current production of biodiesel; bio-green technology; enzymatic transesterification; lipid sources for biodiesel production; and study on mass production of biodiesel. It has been con­cluded that production of biodiesel using bioroute, especially enzymatic reaction, showed a big potential in expanding to a bigger scale productions to support the diminishing of energy resources. The only challenge using enzyme technology is that the life span for lipase was short, and this will give motivation for researcher to find ways to curb the problem. Using immobilized lipase was one of the solutions for the issue raised and can be improved further. Packed-bed immobilized enzyme reactors could be the reactor configuration that can be used to deliver mass produc­tion of biodiesel.

Chapter 9: Various types of catalysts for biodiesel production, especially homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts, are briefed here. Novel processes for biodiesel production are highlighted with emphasis on ultrasound-assisted process, microwave-assisted process, and reactive distillation. Thus, here, different types of catalysts are produced and studied in order to maximize biodiesel yield and at the same time minimize catalyst use without sacrificing their catalytic performance. The authors also emphasize on the choice of nonedible oils for biodiesel production such as waste cooking oil. Further studies need to be conducted to identify new novel processes that have the capability to produce biodiesel effectively at moderate operating conditions without sacrificing the yield and conversion.

Chapter 10: Selection of an effective catalyst together with suitable feedstock is necessary to create an economically viable and sustainable energy source. From the commercial point of view, solid base catalysts are more effective than acid catalysts and enzymes. The transesterification activity of heterogeneous base-catalyzed reac­tion is more reactive than the solid acid catalyst in terms of lower reaction tempera­ture, shorter reaction time, and smaller catalyst amount. This chapter reviews various types of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts used for transesterification of high free fatty acid oil (Jatropha oil). The process involves single-step or two-step reactions which rely on the physicochemical properties and flexibility of catalyst.

Chapter 11: The advantages of enzymatic transesterification over conventional methods of biodiesel production are discussed here. An enzymatic biodiesel process can also pave the way for versatile products to be coproduced from the same feed­stock source. This is possible only through the choice of right enzymatic process to make it more economically feasible. This chapter introduces a patented process that can meet these criteria, the ET Process®. Through enzymatic method, biodiesel can be produced in an environmental friendly manner. To make the process into com­mercial scale, the oil cost feedstock should be lowered. New processing configurations are illustrated using crude palm oil and coconut oil as examples.

Chapter 12: The importance of Jatropha curcas as a nonedible biodiesel feed­stock is highlighted in this chapter. Different methods of oil extraction from Jatropha seeds and various ways of biodiesel production from this oil are also briefed. Immobilization of lipases for enzymatic transesterification and various ways used for immobilizing lipase are also discussed. Immobilization of lipase in a hybrid matrix and its application in biodiesel production are highlighted.

Chapter 13: Currently, bioethanol is produced from land-based crops, but in the future marine biomass could be used as an alternative biomass source because it does not take up land area for cultivation. In this chapter, seaweed, Eucheuma cot — tonii (cultivated in Sabah, Malaysia), was tested for its potential for bioethanol pro­duction via fermentation by yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The potential of macroalgae as fermentation feedstock depends on its carbohydrate and cellulose. The higher productivity obtained in this study shows that macroalgae is a promising feedstock for bioethanol production.

Chapter 14: Importance of microalgae has been increasing in many fields of research, including biofuels and pharmaceutics, because of their high photosyn­thetic rate. The membrane integrated with a photobioreactor for CO2 mitigation by microalgae can be considered as a relatively new field. The integration of a mem­brane contactor with a photobioreactor serves two major purposes for the mitigation of CO2 by microalgae, i. e., to enhance the mass transfer and interfacial contact between two different phases and to increase the exchange process of CO2-O2 by microalgae in the photobioreactor.

The editors wish to thank all the researchers who accepted the invitation to con­tribute, on the basis of their scientific potential, within the topic to date. Some valu­able new researches in this area are shared within this book.

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Ravindra Pogaku

Rosalam Hj. Sarbatly


The biofuel industry all over the world is poised to make important contributions to meet every country’s energy needs by supplying clean, environment-friendly fuel. The ethanol industry, though mature, can benefit from improved agricultural prac­tices in palm and sugarcane cultivation, more efficient production processes, and the use of alternate feedstock including cellulosic material. On the other hand, biodiesel industry is at the incubation stage, and large cultivation of Jatropha and other spe­cies and infrastructure for oilseed collection and oil extraction are being established so that the industry can be placed on a rapid growth track.


Ravindra Pogaku is an internationally renowned expert in bio-energy and biofuel field. He has rich versatile and varied experience in teaching, research, industry, and administrative fields spanning over 30 years.

Presently, he is serving as a professor of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. He is the board of studies and committee member for many institutions.

Prof. Ravindra’s research interests include biofuels, wealth from waste, and bio­process engineering. At present his research group focus is on bio-derived energy for sustainable development. His research work has culminated in over 170 research publications. He has published and edited books. He is the editor-in-chief, editorial board member, guest editor for many referred journals, and reviewer of many peer journals. He is the international advisory member for many conferences.

He has carried out as many as 25 national, international, and industrial research projects. He was bestowed with the national and international prestigious and distin­guished awards. He is a resource consultant to UNESCO, in the field of energy, and also extends consultancy services to chemical and bioprocess industry. His focus is on the issues of green engineering and technology for sustainable development of the society.


Dr. Rosalam Sarbatly is an associate professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and the dean of Engineering and Information Technology, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, head of membrane research group and a member of Institute of Engineer Malaysia (IEM) and associate member of Institute of Chemical Engineer (UK). His current research interest is membrane and nanofibre technology and bio­energy from microalgae. His expertise has been recognized worldwide through the appointment as an editorial board of journals and peer reviewer. He is the key researcher for national and international collaboration such as Tokyo Eco Net Co. Ltd., Japan, for commercialization of nanofibre technology for water desalination and oil spillage cleaning system and products to improve the energy efficiency of the palm oil boiler.

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