Tesis profesional presentada por Carlos Barraza Inzunza [carlos.barrazaia@udlap.mx]

Miembro del Programa de Honores. Licenciatura en Ingeniería Ambiental. Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Alimentos y Ambiental. Escuela de Ingeniería, Universidad de las Américas Puebla.

Jurado Calificador

Director: Dr. René Alejandro Lara Díaz
Presidente: Dra. Adriana Palacios Rosas
Secretario: Dra. Deborah Xanat Flores Cervantes

Cholula, Puebla, México a 14 de mayo de 2021.


Fossil fuels represent the main source of energy both on a local scale and worldwide. Bioenergy has emerged as an alternative or complement to conventional energy. This document presents the conceptual design of a biorefinery using Lemna minor or duckweed from UDLAP’s constructed wetland as feedstock. The hypothesis of the project is that Biofuel production from UDLAP’s Lemna minor will bring positive environmental impacts. Duckweed has been proposed as biodiesel and bioethanol feedstock. A review of the four generations of biodiesel and bioethanol is given, talking about the advantages and controversies surrounding biofuels. Also, the important legislation in Mexico regarding energy transition and bioenergy is listed. A bibliographic research was carried out to evaluate the duckweed growth rate, lipid content, and bioethanol potential. A block diagram is proposed indicating the processes needed for the biofuel production from duckweed. It is estimated that from the area of UDLAP’s wetland (400 m2), an average production of 2,044.85 kg/year of dry biomass, 410.89 l/year of bioethanol and 194.66 l/year of biodiesel are expected. The estimated biorefinery’s CAPEX and OPEX are 27,634.08 MXN and 1,577.14 MXN/year, respectively. The savings from the project would be 7,180.27 MXN/year having a return of investments around year five of operations. Also, with the project a GWP mitigation of ~0.9 ton CO2eq/year is expected. Using the biofuels for a tractor it is expected to obtain 88.23 hours or 3,630.14 km of tractor work per year of operation. It is concluded that Lemna minor could be a viable and profitable feedstock for a biorefinery and has the potential for an upscaling or implementation of larger projects in Mexico.

Keywords: biomass, bioenergy, Leman minor, duckweed, bioethanol, biodiesel, growth rate, biorefinery, conceptual design, constructed wetlands.

Table of content


Agradecimientos y Dedicatorias



Capítulo 1. Problem statement

  • 1.1 Introduction and justification
  • 1.2 Objectives
  • 1.3 Scope
  • 1.4 Hypothesis

Capítulo 2. Theoretical framework

  • 2.1 Mexico´s legislation
  • 2.2 Biomass and biofuels
  • 2.3 Biodiesel
  • 2.4 Bioethanol
  • 2.5 Biofuel´s controversies
  • 2.6 Constructed wetlands
  • 2.7 Lemna minor

Capítulo 3. Methodology

  • 3.1 Materials
  • 3.2 Methods

Capítulo 4. Results and discussion

  • 4.1 Performance indicators equations
  • 4.2 Lemna minor´s biofuel potential
  • 4.3 Lemna minor biorefinery
  • 4.4 Market study
  • 4.5 Expected outcomes

Capítulo 5. Conclusions and recommendations


Anexo 1. Bioethanol potential units

Anexo 2. Conversions

Anexo 3. Fuel properties

Barraza Inzunza, C. 2021. Conceptual design of a pilot-scale biorefinery with Lemna minor from UDLAP’s constructed wetland as feedstock. Tesis Licenciatura. Ingeniería Ambiental. Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Alimentos y Ambiental, Escuela de Ingeniería, Universidad de las Américas Puebla. Mayo. Derechos Reservados © 2021.