Process for Direct Transesterification of Microalgal, Yeast, or Oil Seeds in Ionic Liquids

Case ID: 00679


A novel process to either extract or directly transesterify bio-oils from biomass or extract proteins from biomass using a one-step process.



  • Extraction of bio-oils from microalgae, yeast, or oil seeds
  • Direct transesterification of bio-oils for biodiesel production
  • Extraction of proteins from biomass


  • Unlike traditional solvent-based extraction technology in which the solvent solubilizes the extracted product, this co-solvent system auto-partitions the bio-oil product into a separate phase. This auto-partitioning effect eliminates the need to separate the bio-oil product from the solvent: the product phase is skimmed off the top of the extraction solution.
  • The co-solvent system can be used to directly transesterify the bio-oils in the biomass without the need to first extract the bio-oil from the biomass. The direct transesterification process can be carried out utilizing either an acid or base catalyst. Similar to the extraction process the resultant FAMEs (biodiesel) product auto-partitons into a separate phase that can be skimmed off the top of the solution.
  • The co-solvent system has an extremely low vapor pressure making is an environmentally ("green") solvent system with minimal issue with volatile emissions.
  • The technology also works with wet biomass (water content up to 80% by weight).
  • The co-solvent system will co-extract proteins and bio-oils. The bio-oils will auto-partition to a separate phase while the proteins will be extracted into the co-solvent for recovery by addtional downstream processing.
Patent Information:
Michael Cooney
Gregory Young

For information, contact:
Avery Munoz
Licensing Associate
University of Hawaii

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