Although microalgae are considered promising renewable sources of biodiesel, the high cost of the downstream process is a significant obstacle in large-scale biodiesel production. In this study, a novel approach for microalgal biodiesel production was developed by using the biodiesel as an extractant. First, wet microalgae with 70% water content were incubated with a mixture of biodiesel/methanol and penetration of the mixture through the cell membrane and swelling of the lipids contained in microalgae was confirmed. Significant increases of lipid droplets were observed by confocal microscopy. Second, the swelled lipid droplets in microalgae were squeezed out using mechanical stress across the cell membrane and washed with methanol. The lipid extraction efficiency reached 68%. This process does not require drying of microalgae or solvent recovery, which the most energy-intensive step in solvent-based biodiesel production. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.