Next Article in Journal
Double-Linear Approximation Algorithm to Achieve Maximum-Power-Point Tracking for Photovoltaic Arrays
Next Article in Special Issue
Use of Anion Exchange Resins for One-Step Processing of Algae from Harvest to Biofuel
Previous Article in Journal
Field Measurements of Residential Energy Consumption and Indoor Thermal Environment in Six Chinese Cities
Previous Article in Special Issue
Microalgae Isolation and Selection for Prospective Biodiesel Production
Energies 2012, 5(6), 1943-1981; doi:10.3390/en5061943
Article

Comprehensive Evaluation of Algal Biofuel Production: Experimental and Target Results

1,2
,
1,2
,
1,3
,
1,4
,
5
 and
3,*
Received: 9 March 2012 / Revised: 30 May 2012 / Accepted: 5 June 2012 / Published: 20 June 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Algae Fuel)
Download PDF [821 KB, uploaded 17 March 2015]

Abstract

Worldwide, algal biofuel research and development efforts have focused on increasing the competitiveness of algal biofuels by increasing the energy and financial return on investments, reducing water intensity and resource requirements, and increasing algal productivity. In this study, analyses are presented in each of these areas—costs, resource needs, and productivity—for two cases: (1) an Experimental Case, using mostly measured data for a lab-scale system, and (2) a theorized Highly Productive Case that represents an optimized commercial-scale production system, albeit one that relies on full-price water, nutrients, and carbon dioxide. For both cases, the analysis described herein concludes that the energy and financial return on investments are less than 1, the water intensity is greater than that for conventional fuels, and the amounts of required resources at a meaningful scale of production amount to significant fractions of current consumption (e.g., nitrogen). The analysis and presentation of results highlight critical areas for advancement and innovation that must occur for sustainable and profitable algal biofuel production can occur at a scale that yields significant petroleum displacement. To this end, targets for energy consumption, production cost, water consumption, and nutrient consumption are presented that would promote sustainable algal biofuel production. Furthermore, this work demonstrates a procedure and method by which subsequent advances in technology and biotechnology can be framed to track progress.
Keywords: algae; biofuel; energy return on investment; financial return on investment; water intensity; resource constraints; biodiesel; renewable diesel; biogas algae; biofuel; energy return on investment; financial return on investment; water intensity; resource constraints; biodiesel; renewable diesel; biogas
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Share & Cite This Article

Further Mendeley | CiteULike
Export to BibTeX |
EndNote
MDPI and ACS Style

Beal, C.M.; Hebner, R.E.; Webber, M.E.; Ruoff, R.S.; Seibert, A.F.; King, C.W. Comprehensive Evaluation of Algal Biofuel Production: Experimental and Target Results. Energies 2012, 5, 1943-1981.

View more citation formats

Article Metrics

Comments

Citing Articles

[Return to top]
Energies EISSN 1996-1073 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert