The below scholar article is about a research on how well algae biofuel will perform in Malaysia.
is an attractive fuel replacement for diesel engine in Malaysia. The
application of biodiesel as fuel-blend has been implemented commercially
in transport sector in the country. Among various potential feedstock
for biodiesel production, microalgae have been appeared as a promising
source since a decade due to its' high biomass productivity, rapid
growth rate, large amount of lipid content, capability of high CO2 capture
and sequestration as well as suitable geographical location to be
harvested. The main objective of this study was to determine the
feasibility of microalgae harvesting in Malaysia to produce biodiesel
and potential to implement microalgae-biodiesel as commercial
transportation fuel. This study demonstrated the current scenario of
overall biodiesel production and application in Malaysia. Since Malaysia
is the world's second-largest oil palm producer, exploitation of edible
palm oil for the making of biodiesel is to be blamed as the cause of
soaring food price; therefore, the country is currently looking for 3rd
generation biofuel sources and microalgae has been preferred for this
purpose. Therefore, insight of the significance of microalgae
cultivation for this purpose, suitable microalgae candidates and
possible feasibility of microalgae biodiesel have been delineated in
this review study. Prospects and challenges to implement microalgae
biodiesel have also been emphasized in this study. Therefore, the
advantages and limitations of this biodiesel can be transparent to
government and non-government sectors. Thus, this study can re-direct
both sectors in future. Consequently, it may contribute setting an
appropriate government policy to encourage microalgae for biodiesel
production to sustain the local biofuel and secure economic growth,
energy security and improve environmental conditions in near future.
Microalgae biodiesel in Malaysia
Prospects and challenges
is crucial for all living beings, especially humans. For decades,
non-renewable energy sources i.e. coal, gas and petroleum have been
exploited and diminishing continuously to support daily human activity [, , ].
After the global energy crisis of the 1970s, energy security has become
very critical to ensuring the country's economic growth. In July 2008,
petroleum price reached US$ 174 per barrel, the highest in history due
to continuous depletion of the resources .
However, oil remains the world's dominant fuel as the main source of
energy demand, accounting for 33.6% of the total global share .
For this purpose, researchers are seeking the best possible use of
renewables such as solar, hydro, ocean, geothermal, wind and bioenergy [, , , , , , , , , , , ].
fuel depletion, which is closely associated with environmental
degradation is predicted to become the biggest problem in the future.
Concerned with the problems, there is a need to increase energy security
and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions [, , , , , ].
Burning fossil fuel generates GHGs emission and other types of air
pollutants that can harm the ecosystem. These problems are key drivers
in the research for renewable fuel alternatives [, , , ]. One of the most promising alternatives is to substitute fossil fuel based diesel oil with biodiesel .
is derived from long-fatty acid triglyceride in the form of mono-alkyl
esters as shown in Reaction 1, which undergoes transesterification or
esterification in the presence of alcohol (methanol) [, , , , , ].
typically has similar characteristics to petrodiesel in terms of
viscosity, energy content, cetane number, and phase changes. Due to this
similarity, it can be easily blended together with petrodiesel to be
used in conventional diesel engines without further requirement of
modification [, , , , , , ].
The advantage of using biodiesel compared to petro-diesel includes
reduced greenhouse gas emissions, increased lubricity and cetane
ignition [, , , , , , , , ]. The technical and environmental benefits offered by biodiesel are presented in Table 1 .
Table 1. Technical and environmental advantages of biodiesel .
Cetane number/Diesel Improver
52.4 c.f 37.7 for petroleum diesel from Europe
Still useable after recommended mileage.
Exhaust gas emission
Much cleaner (reduction of hydrocarbon, CO, CO2, SO2 content).
Modification of conventional diesel engine
Performance of engine
on the report of biodiesel production from the International Energy
Agency (IEA), global biodiesel production has risen sharply over the
last few years. Between 2000 until 2011, biodiesel production grew from
806 to 21400 million liters while in 2020, total biodiesel production
peaked at approximately 80000 million liters. The world's biodiesel
production from 1991 to 2020 is presented in Fig. 1 [, , , ].
great advantage of microalgae biodiesel compared to biodiesel from
first generation biodiesel is enhanced physical properties that causes
better combustion quality in diesel engines. Previous experimental
studies demonstrated that biodiesel from microalgae species e.g. Spirulina platensis, Chlorella protothecoides and
others presented much higher density, viscosity, initial boiling point,
total acid number, cetane number, flash point, calorific value, and
diesel index compared to biodiesel from first generation feedstocks such
coconut, palm and soybean biodiesel in Malaysia. Along with enhancing
these parameters, microalgae biodiesel also contained lower ash and
water content, sulfur and carbon residue, pour point and cloud point
which manifested microalgae biodiesel more feasible than other biodiesel
for fuel quality purpose [, , , ].
main goal of this research was to present current scenario of biodiesel
in Malaysia, present the possibility of the initiation of microalgae
biodiesel in the country and demonstrate a comparative biodiesel study
between microalgae and oil palm-based biodiesel since oil palm is the
most dominated feedstock for biodiesel production in the country. Many
experimental studies on biodiesel production various biomass have been
demonstrated in Malaysia while microalgae are still being a new
feedstock for biodiesel in the country. Mostly previous review studies
on microalgal biodiesel in Malaysia descried on the experimental
techniques, variation of biomass yield based different strains, various
growth factors and others [60,61].
The research gap of this current review study to demonstrate the
comparative scenario of biodiesel production from microalgae and other
feedstock such as palm oil, jatropha oil and others. The significance of
this study is to present possible fuel market perspective of microalgae
biodiesel while oil palm can be one of the most dominant sources.
2. Current scenario of biodiesel application in Malaysia
palm oil production has grown significantly since the 1970s and has
dominated the vegetable oil market worldwide. Consequently, in the last
twenty years, palm oil has doubled its share [, , ].
Recognizing the potential revenue of palm oil based biodiesel in the
global market, Malaysian government developed ambitious biofuel
policies, thereby creating a new export industry and increases local
energy security .
In addition, attempts are being made to produce biodiesel in massive
scale without considering the environmental effects such as
deforestation and biodiversity extinction .
In the early 1870s, oil palm tree (Elaeisguineensis) was introduced in the Malaysia .
With seed imported from Indonesia, the first commercial plantation took
place in Tennamaran in 1917. After 1960, the Government of Malaysia saw
the prospect of palm oil and boosted the expansion of palm oil
plantation, although at that time it was not originally intended for the
production of biodiesel. The timeline of the development of Malaysian
palm oil is presented in Table 2 .
Table 2. Development of palm oil industry from 1870 in Malaysia .
1870 to 1917
Experiment and ornamental planting
1917 to 1960
Private individual estates (Colonial)
1960 to 1979
Aggressive commercial cultivation and export
1979 to 1986
Integrating the processing of palm oil
Commencement of the expansion of plantation areas in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah.
1986 to 1996
Export market expansion; production diversification and establishment of oleo chemical industry
Further Expansion of plantation areas in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah
1996 to present
Product diversification and value adding
The expansion of plantation areas in Eastern Malaysia and Indonesia
the early 1980s, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) had carried out
many aggressive stances after the government realized the standing of
biodiesel development in the long term. Extensive laboratory researches
followed by field trials were conducted repeatedly without any major
breakthrough. This condition was due to inconsistent political support
and weak industrial demand .
However, right after the government introduced the “Fifth Fuel Policy”
under the “Eighth Malaysian Plan (2001–2005)” and intensive
collaboration with foreign investments, Malaysian biodiesel industry
experienced a vibrant growth .
The growth of world's oil palm industry has been phenomenal with the
largest share in Indonesia and Malaysia respectively. The acceleration
programs to boost oil palm plantation in Malaysia result in significant
expansion of palm oil plantation area and growth of palm oil production
in Malaysia as shown in Fig. 2 and Fig. 3 [65,69].
to the violent swing of palm oil prices, jatropha has taken many
attentions as alternative feedstock. More research is required before it
can be cultivated in a large scale. The plantation organizations are
tasked by the government to realize this plan. While the Malaysian
Rubber Board is assigned to carry out seed breeding, National Tobacco
Board is assigned to investigate the suitability of jatropha to be
planted in brisk soil in the northern part of the country. Furthermore,
the Malaysian Palm Oil Board was assigned the task to carry out
biodiesel testing from jatropha .
An experimental study presented that, jatropha oil contained maximum
mono-unsaturated fatty acid (45.4%), the main component for biodiesel
production compared to other popular biodiesel feedstock in Malaysia
such as palm oil (39.2%), soybean oil (23.4%) and sunflower oil (21.1%) .
has been acknowledged as the prospective petrodiesel replacement by the
world society and have received financial and policy supports thus
benefiting the society and the environment. Malaysia's key drivers in
its development of the biodiesel industry are the potential to increase
employment rate, boost export earnings, enhance energy security and
raise the country's income besides its potential in reducing GHGs
emission. Although palm oil industries are a powerful instrument for the
country's development, it is also associated with the exploitation of
labor, deforestation, pollution from forest burning and dispossession of
land from indigenous communities .
Consideration of these factors leads to the identification of
microalgae as the next potential feedstock for biodiesel. High lipid
content, rapid growth rate and high CO2 fixation are some of the advantages offered by microalgae .
This study provided a critical analysis and review in considering
microalgae as commercial feedstock for biodiesel production and the
suitability to harvest in Malaysia.
3. Microalgae for biodiesel
Microalgae can be referred as photosynthetic organisms which grow in aquatic environments in both marine and freshwater .
They have a similar mechanism with terrestrial plant photosynthesis,
however, due to the simple cell structure and a large
surface-to-volume-body ratio with the fact that they are submerged in an
aqueous environment, the mechanism is efficient by taking large amount
of water, CO2, and other nutrients, and converting them into biomass . Microalgae can be classified based on their basic cellular structure, life cycle, and pigmentation . However, biologists categorized them into three important classes in terms of abundance, namely :
the green microalgae (Chlorophyceae),
the diatoms (Bacillariophyceae), and
the golden microalgae (Chrysophyceae).
main drivers to the shift towards microalgae are its higher oil
productivity (i.e. able to produce greater oil yield at small ecological
footprint) as compared to conventional biofuel feedstocks. They are
known to double its biomass within 24 h or as short as 3.5 h and
contains high lipid content, commonly about 20%–50% oil content by
weight of dry mass . The oil content of several selected microalgae is presented in Table 3 [75,77].
Additionally, cultivation of microalgae can potentially be coupled with
carbon sequestration and wastewater treatment such that they can absorb
CO₂, nitrates, and phosphates while releasing oxygen and water .
Microalgae biomass can also be processed such that it could produce
valuable co-products which can be valuable for food, chemicals, and feed
ingredients industry .
Table 3. Potential microalgae species suitable for Malaysian weather and yield of oil content (%) [64,66].
Yield of oil content (% dry wt.)
4. Feasibility of using microalgae as biodiesel feedstock
sustainable biofuel needs to be one that results in a net decrease in
greenhouse gas emissions, does not have any hindering effect to the
local environment in its implementation, is priced competitively with
existing fuel resources, able to provide for employment opportunities
locally and does not compete land usage with food crops [, , , , , , , , ]. An experimental study on biodiesel from microalgae presented that Chlorella species contained very high content of fatty acid and 34.53–230.38 mg L−1d−1 biodiesel was produced from these Chlorella strains in Malaysia .
Besides, microalgae contain zero lignin and its third-generation
biofuel feedstock, the huge delignification cost can be saved to produce
biodiesel from this feedstock. Its significant to noted that first
generation feedstock (such as soybean oil, sunflower oil, palm oil and
others) has lost popularity for biodiesel due to food and feed chain
disruption and second-generation feedstock (such as jatropha oil, swiss
grass, woody biomass, waste biomass and others) are fading popularity
for biodiesel due to the high pre-treatment cost of delignification and
chemical processing. Therefore, microalgae harvesting for biodiesel can
save large investment for pre-treatment and chemical processing in wood
industries [, ].
So far, microalgae have already shown its potential in replacing palm
oil as a source of renewable energy production. However, growing
microalgae for this purpose requires extensive research in order that
the most economical and environmentally processing route can be
commercialized . Subsequently, the study of proper conditions for growing microalgae is equally essential.
4.1. Geography and growing conditions
weather condition and its location in tropical region bring beneficial
features in terms of microalgae biodiesel production, specifically in
the ease to grow microalgae. Here, conditions including CO2 supply, light, nutrient, and temperature are discussed.
Since microalgae are photosynthetic microorganisms, CO2 is essential for growth. Air in its natural form consists only 0.0383% of CO2, the amount is not appropriate to mass culture microalgae, as they need vast amounts of air bubbling to meet the required CO2. Other possibilities are the use of pure CO2, which is rather expensive, of flue gas from power generation and of industries which contain a high concentration of CO2 .
of Malaysia's electricity generation comes from fossil fuel resources
such as coal and natural gas, which its combustion results in CO₂
production. Using CO₂ emitted from these plants can then 1) provide
sufficient CO₂ supply for mass cultivation of microalgae based
biodiesel, and 2) sequester CO₂ emission to the atmosphere, therefore,
allowing Malaysia to abide to the Kyoto Protocol .
Malaysia consumes about 56,000 tons of coal everyday through its seven
coal-fired power plants. For a typical coal fired power plant, close to
three tons of CO2 are
emitted for every tons of coal. Based on the data provided by “Index
Mundi”, Malaysia produces 180 million metric tons of CO2 of
which 50% coming from electricity generation and industrial processes.
This is mostly through the use of fossil fuels like coal, gas and fossil
fuel . Malaysian CO2 emission and the share in terms of their source from 1971 until 2014 is presented in Fig. 4 and Fig. 5 , in which data for the years 2011–2014 was prediction values.
The flue gas from power generation can be used to feed microalgae, however, besides CO2, flue gas also consists of several components such as NOX and SOX. There is not much difference in microalgae growth after feeding with pure CO2 and flue gas from power plant consisting of CO2, SO2and NOX. In addition, NOX in the flue gas can be used by microalgae as the nitrogen source . Recently, it has been confirmed that flue gas can be used to grow microalgae without harmful effects .
is the one of the most important elements in microalgae growth. The
source of light may be natural or supplied by fluorescent tubes [, , , ].
The microalgae use light to carry out photosynthesis process. However,
only 40% is photosynthetically active radiation (PAR, ~400–700 nm) and
up to 60% of radiation absorbed is wasted as heat .
Photosynthetic process does not occur at night, thus microalgae
consumes up to 25% of the biomass that have been produced during the day
for respiration .
Light is available at different geological location in different quantities .
Malaysia is located in the zone with the highest annual solar
irradiances and it provides an uninterrupted and well distributed light
to support the continuity of the photosynthesis process. This condition
makes Malaysia as one of the most strategic place for microalgae growth
to be further utilized in biodiesel production.
Besides CO2 and
light, microalgae require nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) for
photosynthesis process and growth. These nutrients can be obtained from
typical agricultural fertilizers at additional cost [101,102]. A cheaper option would be to use wastewater from fishery, piggery and palm oil effluent to obtain the needed nutrients [103,104].
The combination of light, CO2, and
nutrients during the photosynthesis process results in chlorophyll
production. Chlorophyll concentrations are measured by satellite because
of its reflection of green light, which is a good indication of the
best geographic locations for (unfertilized) microalgae growth. Malaysia
has been one of the most viable geographical regions for high
chlorophyll concentration in the global map of chlorophyll distribution .
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is the system for capturing and
displaying data related to a position on the earth's surface. with the
help of GIS, the coastal area (between 0 and 25 km from the coast) of
Malaysia presented 5 mg/m3 chlorophyll .
to the chlorophyll distribution report, most of the green regions are
located around Malaysia and Indonesia, which increases the potential of
microalgae-based biomass production from these countries. Unlike
microalgae that grow in mild and subtropical regions, the microalgae in
tropical region grow throughout the year. Generally, temperatures lower
than 15°C will slow down the growth of this species, whereas high
temperature over 35°C is lethal for some species. Most of microalgae
species tolerate temperatures between 15°C to 27°C. The location of
Malaysia is reported to be beneficial geographically due to the suitable
consistent temperature for microalgae growth throughout the year .
4.2. Available land area
available land area in Malaysia is more than 32.98 million hectares, in
which about 24.31 million hectares of the land are covered by trees.
From this figure, only 24.9% of total forested area is used for cropping
rubber, oil palm, cocoa, and coconut. The rest of which approximately
about 18.25 million hectares are used for wood production, national
parks and permanent reserved forest . The share of the land use area in Malaysia is presented in Table 4 .
Table 4. Overall state-based scenario of cropland in Malaysia .
Other Tree Crops
Total Area covered by tree
% of Tree Cover
*In million hectares.
robust nature and rapid growth rate of microalgae allows its mass
cultivation in non-arable land area, therefore eliminating competition
with land used for food crops. In Malaysia, potential sites for mass
cultivation of microalgae are coastline areas and under-utilized rice
These marginal lands are unproductive due to saltwater infiltration and
thus can be used to cultivate marine microalgae, which are suitable
with salt water [107,108].
5. Prospects and challenges of microalgae based biodiesel in Malaysia
it is feasible to carry out mass cultivation of microalgae based
biodiesel in Malaysia, some potential prospects and challenges are
recognized and elaborated further below.
Fig. 6 shows the comparison in terms of consumption between petrodiesel and biodiesel in Malaysia from 1980 until 2013 .
This figure shows that biodiesel consumption in Malaysia is only a
small portion (2% of total petrodiesel consumption) indicating a vast
potential for total petrodiesel replacement with biodiesel.
Additionally, with the full implementation of B5 mandate by the
Malaysian government in 2014, 359 million liters of crude palm oil based
biodiesel are consumed with 73.25% of total consumption goes to local
The Malaysian government has plans for increasing the biodiesel
composition in current diesel blends to be 7%, 10% and ultimately 15% by
2020 as a step to reduce dependency on petrodiesel .
In order to meet this potential demand, a large cropping area is needed
if Malaysia were to rely solely on palm oil resources for biodiesel
feedstock. However, with the shift towards microalgae based biodiesel,
smaller cropping area is needed for the same amount of yield, therefore
eliminating the competition with land needed for food crops. Table 5 shows the land requirement comparison for various biodiesel feedstocks in Malaysia in order to meet its B5 mandate .
From the table, with a conservative conversion estimation of 80%,
microalgae only require 7% of arable land for planting palm oil.
Table 5. Different
feedstocks for biodiesel production, oil yield, conversion efficiency,
biodiesel yield and land requirement in Malaysia for B5 mandate .
Oil Yield (kg/ha/year)
Conversion efficiency (%)
Biodiesel Yield (kg/ha/yr)
Amount of land required (thousand ha)
Percentage of arable land in Malaysia (%)
*50% oil by weight in biomass.
Malaysia is located in the tropical region containing rural area,
microalgae can be produced in rural areas due to the availability of
land with cheaper cost .
The laboratory and pilot scale microalgae cultivation for biofuel such
as bioethanol, biodiesel is ongoing by researchers in Malaysia,
Singapore, Brunei Darussalam and other south-east Asian countries [, , ].
To the authors' best knowledge, techno-economic analysis on
microalgae-biodiesel with large scale production has not been conducted
yet. However, a techno-economic analysis on microalgae-biodiesel on
neighboring country, Singapore presented that microalgae can be
cultivated using solar radiation and wastewater from industries the
final cost of biodiesel from microalgae would be $0.42–97/L. This
research also describes the potential for commercialization of algal
biodiesel by means of simultaneous oil extraction and
transesterification facilitated by ultrasonication method, which can be
considered to be a cost-effective technique for making microalgae
biodiesel more competitive with petrodiesel and approaching commercial
Since there are lot of industrial sectors are looking for approaches to
treat wastewater in Malaysia, utilizing this wastewater for microalgae
harvesting and biodiesel production, Malaysia has fair chance to manage
industrial funding as well as Government funding to treat sewage sludge
and municipal waste .
Yet microalgae biodiesel has not been commercialized in the fuel
market, therefore, no existing policy for microalgae-biodiesel has been
implemented. However, there is an established Malaysian Government
Renewable Energy Policy called ‘Bioenergy, Biofuels for Transports’ of
policy type ‘Regulatory Instruments, Policy Support and Strategic
Planning’, under The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities,
Malaysia which is based on transportation fuel particularly biodiesel .
Since microalgae-biodiesel is type of biodiesel and transportation
fuel, it can be commercialized with the existing transportation fuel
policy in the country.
on the study of microalgae-biodiesel study of Malaysia, solely
depending on producing biodiesel from microalgae will not be
economically feasible, therefore, large-scale microalgae cultivation in
Malaysia can be integrated with either with industrial wastewater
treatment plant or shrimp, fish and tortoise farming in rural area and
value-added products (protein and vitamin enriched) can be produced
simultaneously beside biodiesel production to minimize the biomass
production cost for biodiesel as well as turn the microalgae cultivation
into multi-functional project. This study also reported that a
mercantile microalgae-biodiesel scheme invested 68% of the total cost on
capital expense (cultivation area, plant set up, instrumentation,
process installation, and others) while similar type of
microalgae-biodiesel plant set up only required 4% investment cost in a
rural-desert area in China [, , ].
from the potential local demand, the global demand can be seen as
another prospect to further develop the biodiesel industry in Malaysia. A
study conducted by the Center for Sustainability and the Natural
Environment (SAGE) of the University of Wisconsin shows that the
potential for biodiesel is enormous on a global scale [117,118]. Many researchers have conducted suitability of biodiesel for jet fuel and it is found as compatible [39,, , , ].
Airbus, for example, believes that up to a third of aviation fuel could
come from alternative source by 2030, which will undoubtedly increase
the biodiesel demand . Furthermore, the remaining reserve life of Malaysian crude oil is estimated to last for another 20 years .
Hence, to ensure consistent economic growth in Malaysia, the country
should gradually increase its efforts in attaining alternative resources
to replace the current dependence on petroleum fuel resource as well as
on first generation biofuel and microalgae derived biodiesel is one
fundamental challenges which hinder the commercialization of biofuels
in general are its lower energy density (plant biomass typically have
lower energy density as compared to current fuel resources such as coal
and crude oil) and the substantially high energy investment in order to
grow, harvest and process plant biomass as compared to fossil fuels .
These two factors alone significantly influence the pricing of
biodiesel and also the actual realization of biofuels being potentially
carbon zero. Another challenge is to proceed with cost-effective
microalgae based biorefinery which will be applied to obtain pure
microalgae-biodiesel to blend with petro-diesel. Previous study on
biorefinery in Malaysia presented that infrastructure in Malaysia
supported biorefinery for municipal solid waste as well as agro-waste in
Malaysia to emphasize on circular economy in the country .
Microalgal products such as nutrition supplement, feed, ingredients for
cosmetic, medicine and others has been already commercialized in
Malaysian as well as other south-Asian countries. Therefore, upon
successful commercialization of microalgae-biofuel, microalgae
biorefinery can be expected in the coming future in Malaysia.
current energy sources largely depend on fossil fuels, coupled with the
high energy investment required in the whole life cycle of microalgae
based biodiesel, the pricing of microalgae based biodiesel can then be
said to have large dependence upon fossil fuel prices, and will
ultimately be higher than petrodiesel. This indicates that microalgae
based biodiesel still has a long way to go before commercialization can
actually be implemented. One way of doing so is investment in research
and development. A recent technology of nano-additives with
microalgae-biodiesel applications in IC engines can bring revolution in
future for mercantile biodiesel production from microalgae in Malaysia.
Nano-additives are usually efficient with either pure
microalgae-biodiesel (B20) or mixture of petroleum diesel and
microalgae-biodiesel in IC engines .
A current nano-additives study on microalgae biodiesel reported that
using Nickel (Ni) dopped zinc-oxide (ZnO) nano-additives with the
mixture of B20 and biodiesel from tropical microalgae, Botryococcus braunii effectively worked on IC engine by reducing greenhouse gases (e.g. CO2, CO, hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen, soot and smoke) . Other nano-additives application such as nano-La2O3, CeO2, ZrO2 blended with biodiesel from Botryococcus braunii can reduce the flue gas emission from the environment [125,127].
Industrialization of microalgae-biodiesel with nano-additives can
initiate new window in biofuel market with more eco-friendly
developing new industries requires not only technology but also trained
experts such as scientists, engineers, technicians, as well as skilled
business people. So far crop-based biofuel industries and policies have
been established in many developing countries (including Malaysia), very
few microalgae-based projects were encountered in existing literature .
A study conducted on microalgae found that the majority of microalgae
based biofuel R&D took place in Europe and the US where they are
responsible for 70% of the total publications related to algal biofuel
despite having lesser potential zones for microalgae cultivation as
compared to developing countries .
It is then evident that Malaysia, as one of the developing countries
should strive further in terms of research and development for
microalgae based biodiesel in order that its status as the leading
biodiesel producer can be maintained even with the switch of current
palm oil biodiesel feedstock to microalgae. Further research can be
developed through government support through increased research grants,
technology and knowledge transfer from collaborations with foreign
universities/countries, an establishment of industry standard for
biodiesel quality which can potentially increase the public's confidence
in using biodiesel and providing biodiesel pumps at petrol stations to
encourage biodiesel use amongst the public .
has great potential for mass-production of microalgae for biodiesel
productions. Due to favorable tropical region, adequate and inexpensive
supply of nutrients, uninterruptible solar radiance throughout the year,
high biomass productivity and lipid content, microalgae have been
manifested higher potential candidate than other existing feedstocks.
This study conducted a clear perspective of biodiesel production and
application scenario from various feedstock in Malaysia while microalgae
biodiesel could be new window for green fuel market in this region.
Since biodiesel has been commercialized in the country already and
proper policy implementation has been applied in Malaysia,
commercialization of microalgae would require only adequate research to
apply the optimum condition. Limitations and challenges of microalgae
biodiesel production can be overcome by proper techno-economic analysis
and life cycle assessment. Further microalgae studies in this area are
recommended. In addition, some other significant factors can be
considered for microalgae biodiesel production and application in
Malaysia such as:
are equally effective to reduce GHGs emission growth besides nuclear
and hydrogen energy, as well to satisfy the future energy demand for the
country in the long term. Microalgae-based carbon fixation can be more
attractive if its deployment is coupled with co-production of valuable
downstream products and can potentially be coupled with carbon
sequestration and wastewater treatment facilities.
is one of the most potential downstream products apart from bioethanol
and biogas. However, there is a lack of research in determining
compatibility of biodiesel derived from microalgae for use in
conventional diesel engines, especially after exposure to the power
plant's flue gas. The future project shall study the compatibility of
biodiesel produced from microalgae, to be used for power generation and
internal combustion engine application, through crude oil and biodiesel
of microalgae biomass as well as well yield of microalgae biodiesel
yield can be further enhanced by high-tech process mechanisms such as
nano-additive application in different stages. In comparison with that,
enhancement of biomass productivity of other biomass is much tougher
compared to microalgae biomass.
palm oil is a popular cooking oil in Malaysia as well as many countries
worldwide, elimination of palm oil use for biodiesel production by
microalgae cultivation will contribute for food security as well as
positive socio-economic impact.
Declaration of competing interest
authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests
or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work
reported in this paper.
This research was funded by research development fund of School of Information, Systems and Modeling, University of Technology Sydney, Australia. The authors would like to express their appreciation to the AAIBE Chair of Renewable grant no: 201801 KETTHA, Universiti Tenaga Nasional Internal Grant (UNIIG 2017) (J510050691)
and Direktorat Jenderal Penguatan Riset dan Pengembangan Kementerian
Riset, Teknologi dan Pendidikan Tinggi Republik Indonesia and Politeknik
Negeri Medan, Medan, Indonesia.