Biofuels: An Overview With Special Emphasis on Biodiesel and The Role of Lipase Enzyme in its Synthesis
Biofuels have been hailed as the fuels of the future with the potential to completely replace petroleum sourced
fuels and also help in combating some of the current environmental issues associated with the intensive use of petroleum
based fuels. Biofuels are of two types: primary and secondary. Primary biofuels are derived from sources like firewood,
animal wastes, forest and crop residues etc. and are used in their unprocessed forms. Secondary biofuels are obtained by
processing biomass and have been classified based on feedstock and processing technologies into first, second, third and
fourth generation fuels, with the recently emerged fourth generation fuels having become the highlight of future research
in the area. Among the different types of biofuels, biodiesel and bioethanol are now being used as transportation fuels.
Biodiesel production is carried out via the transesterification reaction by using suitable catalysts. Lipases (triacyl glycerol
hydrolases EC 18.104.22.168) have emerged as robust biocatalysts to accomplish the enzymatic synthesis of biodiesel. This review
focuses on the need for biofuels and the most recent research developments in this field and also a brief overview of
biodiesel fuel and lipase enzyme has been presented.
Keywords: Biodiesel, bioethanol, biofuels, microalgae, lipase, transesterification.
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