Production of Biodiesel from Marine Macroalgae occurring in the Gulf of Guinea, off the Coast of Ghana
The purpose of this study was to determine the suitability of marine macroalgae (also known as seaweeds), from the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of Ghana, for the production of biodiesel as an alternative to liquid fuels like gasoil and gasoline. Five green marine macroalgae species: Caulerpa taxifolia, Chaetomorpha antennina, Chaetomorpha linum, Ulva fasciata, and Ulva flexuosa, were collected from the coastal waters of Ghana at West Tema Rocks during low tide. Algal lipids were extracted from dried algae biomass with hexane and diethyl ether. Biodiesel was produced from algal lipids by base-catalysed transesterification, with alcohol. The lipid content of samples was highest in C. linum (1.13 g; 5.65% dry wt.) and lowest in C. antennina (0.54 g; 2.70% dry wt.). Similarly, the quantity of biodiesel produced from the lipids was highest in C. linum (0.97 g; 4.85% dry wt.) and lowest in C. antennina (0.48 g; 2.40% dry wt.). The quantity of biodiesel produced from samples of the five species fell well within the range obtained for such species worldwide. The implications of the yield of biodiesel for commercial production and future work on marine macroalgae from Ghana as source of biofuel are discussed.