Using genetically modified cyanobacterial strains, we engineered a Green Recovery strategy to convert membrane lipids into fatty acids for economical and environmentally sustainable biofuel production. The Green Recovery strategy utilizes lipolytic enzymes under the control of promoters induced by CO(2) limitation. Data indicate that strains of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 engineered for Green Recovery underwent degradation of membrane diacylglycerols upon CO(2) limitation, leading to release of fatty acids into the culture medium. Recovered fatty acid yields of 36.1 × 10(-12) mg/cell were measured in one of the engineered strains (SD239). Green Recovery can be incorporated into previously constructed fatty-acid-secretion strains, enabling fatty acid recovery from the remaining cyanobacterial biomass that will be generated during fatty acid biofuel production in photobioreactors.