A review of current state of biodiesel production using enzymatic transesterification

Lene Fjerbæk*, Knud Christensen, Birgir Norddahl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Enzymatic biodiesel production has been investigated intensively, but is presently employed industrially only in a 20,000 tons/year pilot plant in China (Du et al. [2008] Appl Microbiol Technol 79(3):331–337). This review presents a critical analysis of the current status of research in this area and accentuates the main obstacles to the widespread use of enzymes for commercial biodiesel transesterification. Improved results for enzymatic catalysis are seen with respect to increased yield, reaction time and stability, but the performance and price of the enzymes need further advances for them to become attractive industrially for biodiesel production. Critical aspects such as mass transfer limitations, use of solvents and water activity are discussed together with process considerations and evaluation of possible reactor configurations, if industrial production with enzymes is to be carried out. Results of published studies on the productivity of enzymes are also presented and compared to the use of chemical catalysts
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1298-1315
Publication statusPublished - 1. Apr 2009

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