Reference Type: Electronic Resource
Title: Technical and economic analysis of liquid fuel production from microalgae
Primary Authors: Feinberg,Daniel A.;Solar Energy Research Institute.
Published: 1984, Solar Energy Research Institute, Golden, Colo.
Abstract: Under the sponsorship of the US. Department of Energy (DOE), the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) has conducted a technical and economic evaluation of the production of fuels from a microalgal feedstock. This effort was divided into two areas: feedstock production and subsequent conversion of the feedstock into fuels. An Algal Production and Economic Model (APEM) was developed to estimate capital and operating costs for mass culture facilities. This model estimates that if today's technology were applied on a large scale (e.g., 20-ha modules in a facility of 1000 ha), a microalgal feedstock suitable for conversion to fuels could be produced at a cost of $436/t (1984 dollars). Sensitivity analysis demonstrates that the production cost could be reduced to $224/t by a series of improvements such as increased salinity tolerance, increased photosynthetic efficiency, increased lipid content, and decreased losses from water evaporation and C02 outgassing. Based on these microalgal production cost estimates, integrated refinery options for conversion of the microalgae to high-energy liquid fuels are evaluated. This portion of the analysis is based on preliminary data for processes that were developed for feedstocks similar but not identical to microalgae. Of the three major algal components (lipid, protein, and carbohydrate), the lipid component was determined to have the greatest potential as a source of fuels to replace conventional hydrocarbons. Two processes were examined-one based on the conversion of triglycerides into methyl fatty esters, which are being extensively investigated as potential diesel fuel substitutes, and a catalytic reduction process for the production of hydrocarbons, primarily in the gasoline range. The estimated costs of these fuel products compare favorably with the projected costs of conventional fuels a t the turn of century, as long as the presumed improvements in Lipid yields are achieved.
Ag Matters Catalog ID: 111