Abstract Environmental changes that have occurred due to the use of fossil fuels have driven the search for alternative sources that have a lower environmental impact. First-generation biofuels were derived from crops such as sugar cane, corn and soybean, which contribute to water scarcity and deforestation. Second-generation biofuels originated from lignocellulose agriculture and forest residues, however these needed large areas of land that could be used for food production. Based on technology projections, the third generation of biofuels will be derived from microalgae. Microalgae are considered to be an alternative energy source without the drawbacks of the first- and second-generation biofuels. Depending upon the growing conditions, microalgae can produce biocompounds that are easily converted into biofuels. The biofuels from microalgae are an alternative that can keep the development of human activity in harmony with the environment. This study aimed to present the main biofuels that can be derived from microalgae.