Efficient biodiesel production using cellulose microcapsules

Prof. Yachin Cohen | Chemical Engineering


Chemistry and Materials | Sustainability and Energy

The Technology

Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids such as animal fat, soybean oil or some other vegetable oil with an alcohol. This process requires, other than oil and alcohol also enzymes. In order to produce alcohol one can use sugars and yest. It would be preferred to make sugars from waste cellulose instead from edible materials.

A method to prepare cellulose microcapsules can be easily made using ionic liquid and waste from paper manufacturing, mills etc. and avoiding the hazards of making chemical modifications (usually used are carboxy methyl cellulose or methyl hydroxy propyl cellulose).

The microcapsules can be mixed in an oil/water mix and trap oil in tens of nanometers to several microns microcapsules.

The microcapsules with oil inside them can then be mixed with yest and enzymes that tend to adhere to the microcapsules and due to that are mixed very well.

Cellulase transforms the cellulose microcapsules into sugar and the yeast is transforming the sugar into alcohol. The oil from the microcapsule is then reacted with the alcohol to make biodiesel in one pot process.

Cellulase can be recycled from this process to be used in another cycle of preparing biodiesel.

Other than being used for making biodiesel cellulose microcapsules can be used in other industries to entrap materials with high latent heat for insulation, food industry, personal care etc.


  • 1-pot process
  • Green process
  • Cyclic economy

Applications and Opportunities

  • Manufacturing biodiesel
  • Food industry
  • Personal care
  • Insulation
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Shikma Litmanovitz
Director of Business Development, Physical Science