A Holistic Approach to Circular Bioeconomy Through the Sustainable Utilization of Microalgal Biomass for Biofuel and Other Value-Added Products

Microb Ecol. 2024 Apr 25;87(1):61. doi: 10.1007/s00248-024-02376-1.


Emissions from transportation and industry primarily cause global warming, leading to floods, glacier melt, and rising seas. Widespread greenhouse gas emissions and resulting global warming pose significant risks to the environment, economy, and society. The need for alternative fuels drives the development of third-generation feedstocks: microalgae, seaweed, and cyanobacteria. These microalgae offer traits like rapid growth, high lipid content, non-competition with human food, and growth on non-arable land using brackish or waste water, making them promising for biofuel. These unique phototrophic organisms use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce biofuels, biochemicals, and more. This review delves into the realm of microalgal biofuels, exploring contemporary methodologies employed for lipid extraction, significant value-added products, and the challenges inherent in their commercial-scale production. While the cost of microalgae bioproducts remains high, utilizing wastewater nutrients for cultivation could substantially cut production costs. Furthermore, this review summarizes the significance of biocircular economy approaches, which encompass the utilization of microalgal biomass as a feed supplement and biofertilizer, and biosorption of heavy metals and dyes. Besides, the discussion extends to the in-depth analysis and future prospects on the commercial potential of biofuel within the context of sustainable development. An economically efficient microalgae biorefinery should prioritize affordable nutrient inputs, efficient harvesting techniques, and the generation of valuable by-products.

Keywords: Biodiesel; Biofertilizer; Biofuels; Circular bioeconomy; Feed supplement; Lipid.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biofuels*
  • Biomass*
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Cyanobacteria / metabolism
  • Microalgae* / growth & development
  • Microalgae* / metabolism
  • Seaweed / metabolism


  • Biofuels
  • Carbon Dioxide