Lipids from High-Protein Algae Biomass

Eric Knoshaug, Robert Nelson, Tobias Hull, Stefanie Van Wychen, Nick Nagle, Jake Kruger

Research output: NRELPoster


Biofuels from renewable and sustainable sources will be a critical component of reducing greenhouse gasses. To this end, in achieving maximum biomass productivity in outdoor ponds at a reasonable cost, algae must be grown at a maximal rate. This current algae cultivation strategy results in high-protein biomass because there is insufficient time for deplete-hold steps that increase lipids but also cost. Thus methods to convert high-protein (>50%) need to be developed for biofuels. The Consolidated Algae Processing (CAP) strategy has previously shown utility on high-carbohydrate algae biomass and has now been expanded to include methods aimed at converting the protein fraction to lipids. After acid-pretreatment, hydrolysate liquor is oxidatively treated to deaminate and convert soluble proteins and amino acids into four main carboxylate acids; formic, acetic, succinic, and propionic. These acids are readily and completely fermented into intracellular lipids using oleaginous yeast. Using a fed-batch fermentation strategy and no added nutrients, we achieved nearly 30% intracellular lipids and 1.3 g/L lipids demonstrating the potential of our expanded CAP process to generate additional lipids for conversion to biofuels as part of an algae-focused biorefinery.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePresented at the International Conference on Algal Biomass, Biofuels and Bioproducts (AlgalBBB), 12-14 June 2023, Waikoloa Beach, Hawaii

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-2700-85700


  • AAD
  • high protein algae biomass
  • MOT
  • yeast lipids


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