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"We must invest in a clean energy economy that will lead to new jobs, new businesses and reduce our dependence on foreign oil," said President Obama. "The steps I am announcing today help bring us closer to that goal. If we are to be a leader in the 21st century global economy, then we must lead the world in clean energy technology. Through American ingenuity and determination, we can and will succeed." President Barack Obama "Developing the next generation of biofuels is key to our effort to end our dependence on foreign oil and address the climate crisis -- while creating millions of new jobs that can't be outsourced," Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said. "With American investment and ingenuity -- and resources grown right here at home -- we can lead the way toward a new green energy economy." Secretary of Energy Steven Chu Speaking at the May 5th, 2009 White House ceremony announcing $800M in new biofuel research activities The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) was enacted in response to concerns about global energy security and supply. The Act contains provisions designed to increase the availability of renewable energy that decreases greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while at the same time also establishing an aggressive Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). This new fuels standard mandates the production of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022 of which at least 21 billion gallons must be advanced biofuels (i.e., non-corn ethanol). While cellulosic ethanol is expected to play a large role in meeting the EISA goals, a number of next generation biofuels, particularly those with higher-energy density than ethanol, show significant promise in helping to achieve the 21 billion gallon goal. Of these candidates, biofuels derived from algae, particularly microalgae, have the potential to help the U.S. meet the new RFS while at the same time moving the nation ever closer to energy independence. To accelerate the deployment of biofuels created from algae, President Obama and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced on May 5 th, 2009 the investment of $800M new research on biofuels in the American Recovery and Renewal Act (ARRA). This announcement included funds for the Department of Energy Biomass Program to invest in the research, development, and deployment of commercial algal biofuel processes. Microalgae are unicellular, photosynthetic microorganisms that are abundant in fresh water, brackish water, and marine environments everywhere on earth. These microscopic plant-like organisms are capable of utilizing CO 2 and sunlight to generate the complex biomolecules necessary for their survival. A class of biomolecules synthesized by many species is the neutral lipids, or triacylglycerols (TAGs). Under
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certain conditions, some microalgae can accumulate significant amounts of lipids (more than 50% of their cell dry weight). 48 There are several aspects of algal biofuel 49 production that have combined to capture the 50 interest of researchers and entrepreneurs around 51 the world. These include: 1) High per-acre 52 productivity compared to typical terrestrial oil53 seed crops, 2) Non-food based feedstock 54 resources, 3) Use of otherwise non-productive, 55 non-arable land, 4) Utilization of a wide variety 56 of water sources (fresh, brackish, saline, and 57 wastewater), and 5) Production of both biofuels 58 and valuable co-products. More than 20 years 59 ago, the Department of Energy-supported 60 Aquatic Species Program (ASP), which represents the most comprehensive research effort to date on fuels from algae, illustrated the potential of this feedstock to be converted into liquid transportation energy. Much has changed since the end of the ASP. With rising petroleum prices and concerns about energy independence, security, and climate change, the quest to use of microalgal feedstocks for biofuels production has again been gaining momentum over the past few years. While the basic concept of using algae as an alternative and renewable source of biomass feedstock for biofuels has been explored over the past several decades, a scalable, sustainable and commercially viable system has yet to emerge. The National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap Workshop, held December 9-10, 2008, was convened by the Department of Energy‘s Office of Biomass Program in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). This two day event successfully brought together more than 200 scientists, engineers, research managers, industry representatives, lawyers, financiers and regulators. The workshop participants broadly represented stakeholders from different areas of industry, academia, the National laboratory system as well as governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations. The primary purpose of the workshop was to discuss and identify the critical barriers currently preventing the economical production of algal biofuels at a commercial scale. The input to the roadmap document was structured around the Workshop‘s break-out sessions which were specifically created to address the various process operations that must be tackled in developing a viable algal biofuels industry. The workshop addressed the following topics/technical barriers: Algal Biology Feedstock Cultivation Harvest and Dewatering Extraction and Fractionation of Microalgae Algal Biofuel Conversion Technologies Co–Products Distribution and Utilization of Algal Based-Fuels Resources and Siting ii
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the technical barriers identified involve several scientific and engineering issues which together represent a significant challenge to the development of biofuels from microalgae. there is a need for a significant investment in our colleges and universities. For example. to train the professional work force that will be needed for developing the necessary infrastructure as well as the operation and maintenance of a robust and domestic algal biofuels industry. Based on the work that needs to be accomplished. algal-based fuel production facility. Lastly. Taking these barriers into consideration. and the participation from virtually all interested stakeholders. it is also clear that a multidisciplinary research approach will be necessary to accelerate progress over the short term (0-5 years). academia. the proposed R&D activities will also require long-term coordinated support from relevant government agencies and national laboratories. as well as field experts. Viewpoints expressed during the DOE workshop and road mapping effort was that many years of both basic and applied R&D will likely be needed to overcome the current technical barriers before algal-based fuels can be produced sustainably and economically enough to be cost-competitive with petroleum-based fuels. Regulation and Policy Systems and Techno-Economic Analysis of Algal Biofuel Deployment Public-Private Partnerships This document represents the output from the workshop and is intended to provide a comprehensive roadmap report that summarizes the state of algae-to-fuels technology and documents the techno-economic challenges that likely must be met before algal biofuel can be produced commercially. iii . Such an approach will ultimately serve as the engine that not only drives fundamental research and technology development but also demonstration and commercialization. the ability to quickly test and implement new and innovative technologies in an integrated process setting will be a key component to the success of any such effort. this roadmap also serves to make research and funding recommendations that will begin to lay the groundwork for overcoming the technical barriers that currently prevent the production of economically viable algal-based biofuels. Since both research and engineering improvements are absolutely critical components to implementing any commercial-scale. This document also seeks to explain the economic and environmental impacts of using algal biomass for the production of liquid transportation fuels Based on the outcome of the workshop.91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 Corresponding Standards. private sector.
............................................................. 29 Fermentative Hydrogen Production (Indirect Biophotolysis) ........................................................................ 2 The Algae-to-Biofuels Opportunity................................................................................ 40 References ...................................... Introduction ............................................................................... 15 Algae: Basic Biological Concepts ..... 16 Photosynthesis/CO2 Fixation ....................................................................................... 39 Development & Adaptation of Genetic Tools and Deployment of Synthetic Biology Systems for Metabolic Engineering of Model Algal Organisms .. 17 Strain Isolation......................................... 44 3............................................................................................................. 27 Biohydrogen: Direct Biophotolysis and Oxygen Sensitivity of the Hydrogen-Evolving Enzymes ........ and/or Screening ........ 22 Metabolic Carbon Fluxes and Partitioning ......... 48 Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 31 References ........................................................................................................................................... 17 Isolation and Characterization of Naturally Occurring Algae Species/Strains ........................ 21 Photosynthesis ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 33 Sequencing and Annotation of Algal Genomes........................................................................................... iv 1........................................................................................................................................................ 48 Algal Bioreactor Designs .................................................................... Algal Biology .......... 23 Lipid Synthesis and Regulation ............................... 24 References ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 1 About the Roadmap ............................................................................................................... Strategically Structured and Sustained Investment ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 8 Research from 1996 to Present .............................. 49 iv ........................................................................... 13 Need for a Sizeable............................................................................................................................................................... 6 Integrating With Biorefinery Concept ........ 20 References . 1 America’s Energy Challenges ............................................................................... 8 Investments So Far in Algal Biofuels Development.......... 32 Genomics and Systems Biology ............................... 11 Going Forward ............................... 48 Addressing Feedstock Productivity ........................................................................................................................... 5 Microalgae as a Feedstock for Fuel Production ................................. 37 Establishment of an Integrated Systems Biology and Bioinformatics Framework to Develop a Fundamental Understanding of Carbon Partitioning in Algae ................................................................................................................................................................................... 15 Algal Classification ..... 21 Cell Biology: Physiology and Biochemistry ................................................................................................................................................... 48 Advantages of Algae as a Biofuel Crop ............................... 13 Roadmapping a Strategy for Algal Biofuels Development & Deployment ...................................... 18 Role of Algal Culture Collections ........................................................................................................................ 13 2......... 33 Development of Algal Model Systems .....................................................................................................................................................127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 Contents Executive Summary ...................................................................................................... 5 The Potential of Microalgal Oils ................................. Algal Cultivation ...................................................................................................................................................... iii Contents ..................... Selection.................................................................. 49 Scale-Up Barriers .......................................................... 8 Early Work to 1996 ..................................................................................................... 22 Metabolic Link between Starch and Lipid Metabolism ......
................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 110 v .................................. 77 Direct Production of Biofuels from Algae ............................................. 87 Supercritical Processing ......................... Chemistry....................................................................................................................................................................................................... 88 Processing of Algal Remnants after Extraction ................ 107 8........................................................................................................................................... 72 Missing Science Needed to Support the Development of New Extraction and Fractionation Technologies.............................................................................. 96 Potential Options for the Recovery of Co-products ................ 77 Introduction (Producing “Fit for Purpose” Algal Biofuels) ........................................... 84 Transesterification ......................................................................... 83 Anaerobic Digestion of Whole Algae .. 60 Centrifugation ............................................................................................................. Co-products ........................................................... 73 Lipid Genesis................................................................................................. 81 Gasification ........................................ 60 Filtration ......... 78 Alkanes .......................................................... Algal Biofuel Conversion Technologies .............................................................................................................................................. and Structure .................................................................... 80 Processing of Whole Algae .................................................... 90 References............................................................................ 91 7.................................................................................... 81 Pyrolysis ...................................................................................... 95 Commercial Products from Microalgae ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 61 Systems Engineering ...................................... 59 Processing Technologies ......................................................................................... 105 References.................................................................................................................................. 61 5..................................... 74 References......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Downstream Processing: Harvesting and Dewatering ................................................................................ 71 Goals .......................................................................................................... 79 Hydrogen ................................................................................................................................. 70 Challenges ................................................... 99 Crosscutting Areas / Interfaces.......................................................................................... 57 4....... 61 Other Techniques ............................................ 61 Drying .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 64 Nontraditional Extraction Approaches ....................................................... 59 Flocculation and Sedimentation ................................................................ 71 Presence of Water Associated with the Biomass ................................................................................................. 85 Biochemical Catalysis .......... Extraction and Fractionation of Microalgae ............................................................................................................... Distribution and Utilization .............................................................. 84 Conversion of Algal Extracts ................................................................ 73 Conclusion .................................................................................... 64 Current Practices for Lipid Extraction/Fractionation .............................................................................................176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 References................................. 71 Energy Consumption and Water Recycle ...................................... 64 Introduction ............................................................... 86 Chemical Catalysis ................................ 110 Distribution .... 73 Algal Cell Wall Composition ........................ 95 Introduction .... 59 Introduction .................................................................. 74 6............................................................................ 73 Development of Multitasking Extraction Processes ................. 59 Flocculation and Dissolved Air Flotation .............. 78 Alcohols ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
............................................................... 149 The Case for Regulation ............................................ 128 Advantages of Co-location of Algae Production with Stationary Industrial CO 2 Sources131 Barriers to Co-location of Algae Production with Stationary Industrial CO 2 Sources .................................................................................................... 112 Research Needs ........................... 148 Building a Regulatory Structure ........................................................................ 117 Carbon Dioxide .......................................................................................................................................................................................... 115 Water ....................................................................... 113 9..... Power Utilities.................... 158 Systems Analysis .................................. 150 Timeline for Completing Actions ........................................................ 144 Status of Standards and Regulations Relating to the Algal Biofuels Industry .......................... 147 Timeline for Completing Actions ....... 133 Section 9 Appendix – Additional Figures .................................................................................................................................. Systems and Techno-Economic Analysis of Algal Biofuel Deployment ........... 177 Partnership Environment in the Algal Biofuels Industry .................................................................................................................................................. 145 Standards and Regulations Issues ................................................................................ 113 References..................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 146 Status of Algal Biofuels Industry Standards ............................................................................................... 131 Recommended Areas for Research and Policy Evaluations .......................................................... 115 Climate.................................................................................................................................................................. Regulation.......... 168 Recommended Priorities and R&D Effort .......................................................................... 111 Algal Blendstocks to Replace Middle-Distillate Petroleum Products................................... 152 Policy Objectives ...... 149 Status of Algal Biofuels Industry Regulation ............................................ 144 Introduction .............................................................................................................. 176 The Benefits of Algal Biofuels Public-Private Partnerships ...................... 135 10....................................... 157 Introduction ......................................... 120 Land .................................. 127 Co-location of Algal Cultivation Facilities with CO2-Emitting Industries ...................................................................................................................................... 114 Resources Overview ................................. 178 vi .......... Corresponding Standards............. 154 11...................................... 178 Challenges for Algal Biofuels Public-Private Partnerships to Address ......................................... 157 Workshop Results and Discussion ............................ 171 12............................................................................................... Other Industries ............................................................................................................................ 112 Algal Blendstocks for Alcohol and Gasoline-Range Petroleum Products ....................................... 145 Developing Standards ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 152 Policy Options ..................................................................................... 169 References.................. 132 Conclusions and Recommendations ....................................................227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 Utilization .................... Resources and Siting ......................... 121 Integration with Water Treatment Facilities....................................................................................... and Policy ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 144 Rationale for Standards and Regulations Development ......................................................................................................................................... Public-Private Partnerships ............................................................................................ 151 Policy Framework for Algal Biofuels ................ 123 Water Treatment Applications .............. 114 Introduction ............................................................................................................ 161 Algae Production Cost Uncertainties – Illustrative Example ............................................. 123 Algae Production Techniques for Water Treatment Plants ....... 175 Building Successful Public-Private Partnerships ............. 146 Areas in Which Standards Are Needed .............................................................................................. 164 Algae Techno-Economic analyses: System Dynamics modeling ................................... 175 Introduction .................................................................... 125 Summary of Potential Benefits of Algae Production with Wastewater Treatment ...................................................................................
.............................................................................................................. 182 Individual Companies within the Private Sector ..........279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 302 301 Algal Biology .......................................................... 179 Algal Cultivation and Processing ............................. Distribution & Utilization ................................................................................................. 184 Models for Openness ............................................. 185 Models for Industry Growth ............................................... 186 Recommendations and Timeline ............................................... 181 Various Roles Anticipated by Stakeholders ....................................................................................... Regulations & Policy................................................................................................ 203 vii ...................... 185 Models for Technology Commercialization .......................................... 186 Appendix: ....... and Systems Analysis & Techno-Economic Modeling .............. 184 Academia .......................................................................................................................... 181 Resources & Siting..................................................................................................................................... 182 Government ...................................................................... 184 Partnership Models ............................................................ 183 Emerging Trade Organizations........................................................ 181 Conversion to Fuels “Fit for Use”............................ 190 Scenarios Illustrating Preliminary Consequence Assessment: . 195 References................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 190 Basis for Order-of-Magnitude Projections of CO2 Utilization with Algae Production .................................................. 186 Models for Shared Investment...........................................................................................................................................................................
as mandated in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 under the Renewable Fuels Standard. The Workshop and the reporting process were designed to be as inclusive and transparent as possible.S. Introduction About the Roadmap The framework for National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap was constructed at the Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap Workshop. 2008 at the University of Maryland College Park. The Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap Workshop brought together the interdisciplinary expertise needed to fully discuss the promise and challenges of a commercial algal biofuels industry. academia. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy‘s Biomass Program to discuss and identify the critical barriers currently preventing the development of a domestic. For this reason. despite their huge potential. the Workshop produced a very stimulating look at the growing algal biofuels industry and the opportunity to explore the science and engineering challenges that must be overcome to realize the sustainable production of algal biofuels at commercial scale. Further. There is a general consensus that a considerable amount of research.S. biofuels derived from algae represent an opportunity to dramatically impact the U. distribution. However. commercial-scale algal biofuels industry. and demonstration (RD&D) needs to be carried out to provide the fundamental understanding and scale-up technologies required before algal-based fuels can be produced sustainably and economically enough to be cost-competitive with petroleum-based fuels. and can be grown with non-fresh water sources without needing to use high-value arable land. More than 200 participants were invited to attend the Workshop and broadly represented stakeholders from different areas of industry. the United States national laboratory system. held on December 9 and 10. Over the course of the two days. development.303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 1. The Workshop was organized by the U. as well as governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations. have a much higher yield potential than other terrestrial biomass feedstocks. while being completely compatible with the existing transportation fuel infrastructure (refining. biofuel production target of 36 billion gallons by 2022. The Workshop participants drew on their experience and expertise during a series of 1 . a major objective of the Workshop was to help define the activities that will be needed to resolve the challenges associated with commercial-scale algal biofuel production and lay the framework for an algal biofuels technology roadmap. The cultivation of algae at a commercial scale could provide sufficient fuel feedstock to meet the transportation fuels needs of the entire United States. and utilization). energy supply for transportation fuels.S. algal biofuels could prove sustainable for generations – they consume CO2 as a nutrient. Microalgae offer great promise to contribute a significant (=< 100%) portion of the renewable fuels that will be required to meet the U. the state of technology for producing algal biofuels is regarded by many in the field to be in its infancy. In the longer term.
there was an underlying overwhelming consensus for the continued development of algal biofuels. These outcomes from the Workshop provided key inputs to the development of this Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap. as well as to engage in the development of supportive policy. economic. In doing so. technology deployment. and information management at a national level. These materials included seminal literature references. it lays the groundwork for identifying the technical barriers that likely need to be overcome for algal biomass to be used in the production of economically viable biofuels. Regulation. While addressing the potential economic and environmental benefits of using algal biomass for the production of liquid transportation fuels.gov/algae2008/resources. and policy perspective that can support and guide R&D investment in algal biofuels. and standards for the emerging algal biofuels industry. In these discussions throughout the Workshop. the United States becomes increasingly dependent upon foreign sources of crude oil.344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 technical discussions spanning all aspects of enabling a sustainable commercial algal biofuels industry.htm. The United States currently imports approximately two-thirds of its petroleum and more than 60% of this petroleum is used for transportation fuels. general reviews and reports and are available at no cost to the general public for download and review by visiting the DOE Algae Biofuels Technology Roadmap Web site at http://www. the roadmap describes the current status of algae R&D.orau. 2 . Furthermore. The roadmap is structured around the Workshop‘s break-out sessions—they were specifically created to address the various aspects that must to be tackled in developing a viable algal biofuels industry: Systems and Techno-Economic Analysis Algal Cultivation Extraction/Fractionation Co-products Resources and Siting Algal Biology Processing (Harvesting and Dewatering) Conversion to Fuels Distribution & Utilization Standards. Developed from the discussions held at the Workshop. the combustion of petroleum-based fuels has created serious concerns over global warming effects due to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Workshop participants were provided with several valuable existing resource materials pertinent to algal biofuels in advance of the Workshop so as to ensure a uniform level of awareness of these materials. infrastructure development. this roadmap presents information from a scientific. The rising energy demand in many rapidly developing countries around the world is beginning to create intense competition for the world‘s dwindling petroleum reserves. and Policy 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 America’s Energy Challenges As petroleum supplies diminish in the world. participants agreed upon the need for DOE to coordinate with other federal agencies to support fundamental and applied research. The available resources also contained materials sorted by topics of the Workshop‘s break-out sessions. regulation.
S. dependence on foreign oil by increasing the production of domestic alternative fuels and establishing a very aggressive Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) (Table 1). Under the current yield scenarios.S. Therein lies one of the main drivers in the development of microalgal diesel fuels—microalgae promises much higher productivities per unit area given its higher photosynthetic efficiency when compared to conventional crops. and new energy technology research and development. Table 2 contains data which demonstrates that potential oil yields from algae are also significantly higher than the yields of oilseed crops. is used in the food products market. Table 1: EISA requirements under RFS Renewable Fuels Corn Starch-Based Ethanol Biodiesel Cellulosic Ethanol Other Advanced Biofuels (other than corn-based ethanol such as that produced from wood chips. Further. the development of biofuels from oil crops and waste cooking oil/fats cannot realistically meet the demand for liquid transportation fuels because conventional oil yields per hectare from oil crops would require unrealistic acreages of land in excess of the total land area of the United States (Tyson et al. thereby severely limiting its use as a biofuel feedstock. The new energy legislation is designed to reduce the U. growing to 16 billion gallons by 2022 5 billion gallons by 2022 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400 401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408 409 410 411 412 413 414 415 While cellulosic ethanol is expected to play a large role in meeting the EISA goals. energy efficiency.S.380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 In response to these global energy concerns and in an effort to move the U. algae have the potential to replace a significant amount of the current U. 3 .. President George Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). Moreover. agricultural waste or dedicated energy crops) Mandated Production by Volume 15 billion gallons by 2015 500 million gallons starting in 2009 and peaking at 1 billion gallons by 2012 100 million gallons in 2010. advanced biofuels must produce GHG emissions across their lifecycle that are at least 50% less than GHG emissions produced by petroleum-based transportation fuels. which contains new standards for vehicle fuel economy. With these features of higher growth rates and increased oil yields. as well as provisions that promote the use of renewable fuels. more than 90% of the vegetable oil produced in the U. Advanced biofuels also face significant challenges in meeting their targets set by EISA.S. toward greater energy independence and security. diesel fuel usage while using only a fraction of the land equivalent what would be required from terrestrial crops. it is unlikely that the supply of cellulosic ethanol will meet the EISA requirement of 100 million gallons by 2012 since most small-scale demonstration plants are not scheduled to begin production until the 2010-2011 timeframe.. As required by EISA. the potential oil yields from certain algae are projected to be at least 60 times higher than from soybeans per acre of land on an annual basis— approximately 15 times more productive than jatropha and approximately 5 times that of oil palm (Rodolfi et al. 2009). 2004).
There are several aspects of algal biofuel production that have combined to capture the interest of researchers and entrepreneurs around the world: Unlike other oil crops. Utilization of a wide variety of water sources The cultivation of algae does not entail land conflict for doing agriculture for food production. and methane as well as valuable co-products including oils. from understanding algal mass culture to downstream processing. Past research investments have been intermittent and short-term thus insufficient to enable the development of an algae-based biofuels technology. biofuels derived from algal biomass feedstocks show considerable promise as a potential major contributor to the displacement of petroleum-based fuels. and the fact that realizing the strategic potential of this feedstock will require critical engineering innovations and science breakthroughs. Given recent and dramatic advances in relevant fields. This 4 . aviation fuel. An algal biorefinery could potentially integrate several different conversion technologies to produce biofuels including biodiesel. a scalable. green gasoline.000-4. a more substantial and sustained investment is paramount. green diesel. While the basic concept of using algae as an alternative and renewable source of biomass feedstock for biofuels has been explored in the past. protein.000 b a Oil Yield (Gallons/Acre/Yr) 417 418 419 420 421 422 423 424 425 426 427 428 429 430 431 432 433 434 435 436 437 438 439 440 441 442 443 444 445 446 447 448 449 450 451 452 453 a b Adapted from Chisti (2007) Estimated yields. Non-food resource Using algae to produce feedstocks for biofuels production will not compromise the production of Use of otherwise nonproductive. ethanol. algae grow rapidly and many Advantages of Algal Biomass are exceedingly rich in lipid oil (oil levels of 20% to High per-acre productivity 50% are quite common). this report Although a number of other proposed advanced biofuels show significant potential in helping to achieve the 21 billion gallon EISA mandate. Reduced GHG release into the atmosphere The water used to grow algae can include waste water and non-potable saline water that cannot be Production of biofuels and coproducts used by conventional agriculture or for domestic use. commercially viable system has not emerged. and carbohydrates. in particular biology. Algae have a tremendous technical potential for recycling CO2-rich flue gases from coal burning power plants as well as from natural gas recovery operations. non-arable land food and other products derived from terrestrial crops.416 Table 2: Comparison of oil yields from biomass feedstocks Crop Soybean Camelina Sunflower Jatropha Oil palm Algae 48 62 102 202 635 1.
000 117. and coal are made of hydrocarbons—compounds composed entirely of carbon and hydrogen. a renewable fuel currently produced commercially from vegetable oils (soy. Oxygenates. Hydrogen Analysis Resource Center Feinberg (1984) has discussed the issue comparison between the composition of various algal species with fuel chemical requirements. CH3(CH2)14COOH). the most important difference between fossil fuels and those derived from biomass feedstocks is that petroleum. yielding different physical and chemical properties of the fuel and thus different combustion characteristics.. beneficial fuel alternatives because the presence of oxygen allows these molecules to burn cleaner and more efficiently. for example. The presence of oxygen in these fatty acid methyl esters has the added benefit of acting as an oxygenate and enhances engine performance in much the same fashion as the alcohols.g. has significantly higher volumetric energy densities due to the presence of long chain fatty acids that contain carbon.454 455 456 457 458 459 460 461 462 463 464 465 466 467 468 469 470 471 472 473 474 475 476 477 478 479 480 481 482 483 484 485 investment much include a significant R&D effort focused on answering fundamental biological questions related to algal physiology to support the engineering and scale-up effort. and sunflower). Biodiesel. has the highest energy density of all the fuels listed because the components in diesel contain only carbon and hydrogen substituents (no oxygen). which are in a partially oxidized state. and oxygen (e.000 99. Table 3: Lower Heating Value (LHV)* of Various Liquid Transportation Fuels Fuels Ethanol Butanol Gasoline Biodiesel (B100) Petroleum Diesel 76.. Alcohols are. is more highly oxidized than a hydrocarbon since it contains oxygen (CH3CH2OH) and liberates significantly less energy on combustion than do petroleum-based components. As a result. which is comprised of approximately 75% saturated hydrocarbons (alkanes) and 25% aromatic hydrocarbons. The Algae-to-Biofuels Opportunity Microalgae as a Feedstock for Fuel Production In terms of chemical properties. on the other hand. has two additional carbon atoms. In contrast. release less energy upon combustion (complete oxidation) than do hydrocarbons.840 115. commercially available biomass-derived fuels (ethanol and biodiesel) contain oxygen (in addition to carbon and hydrogen). natural gas. Petroleum-derived diesel. hydrogen. Butanol (CH3(CH2)3OH). Table 3 compares the typical lower heating value (LHV) of several fuels in use today. which are in a completely reduced state. nevertheless.000 128.500 LHV (Btu/Gallon) 486 487 488 489 490 491 * The lower heating value or LHV of a fuel is the energy that can be recovered when the water of combustion is released as a vapor. only a brief 5 . Ethanol. the biomass-derived oxygenates have a reduced heating value compared to hydrocarbons. canola. Source: DOE. which makes it a higher energy density fuel. For this reason.
Carbohydrates can be converted into ethanol by fermentation. some algae accumulate high levels of lipids when cultivated under stress (e. Oil levels of 20-50% are quite common (Chisti. it will focus on the high-energy lipids. and others) that can be converted to a synthetic diesel fuel.largely based on solvent extraction and gravimetric analysis . especially when cultivated under nutritive stress (Milner. that like many aspects of algal biofuels research. 1998). Bioconversion products include alcohols. and catalytic conversion products include paraffins. therefore. carbohydrates. some strains produce a significant amount of storage lipids when grown under nutrient-limiting conditions.) Further. The Potential of Microalgal Oils Numerous algal strains have been shown to produce more than 50% of their biomass (on a dry cell weight basis) as lipid with much of this present in the form of triacylglycerols (TAGs) (Hu et al. canola. similar to those found in petroleum feedstocks..g. lipids have the highest energy content and potential. and aromatics.492 493 494 495 496 497 498 499 500 501 502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509 510 511 512 513 514 515 516 517 518 519 520 521 522 523 524 525 526 527 528 529 530 531 532 533 534 535 536 537 characterization of the microalgae feedstock (as produced at the culture facility and fed to the fuel production facility) is presented here to establish the basis for determining appropriate process requirements for converting microalgal constituents into fuels. Many species have the ability to accumulate large quantities of these compounds. as only an estimation of the lipid content. algal cellular lipid content can vary both in quantity and quality. and proteins. Three major components can be extracted from microalgal biomass: lipids (including triglycerides and fatty acids). The idea of generating biodiesel from the microalgal storage lipids was the main focus of DOE‘s Aquatic Species Program from 1978 to 1996 (Sheehan et al. all three components present in biomass can be converted into methane gas by an anaerobic digestion process or into syngas or pyrolysis oil by thermochemical conversion.. limitations of certain nutrients) or in response to changes in culture conditions. hydrogen. the methodology generally used for algal lipid analysis . Alternatively. Lipids are not the only potential biofuels feedstock from algae. soybean. 1976). methane. from a production point of view. at best. Algae-derived oils contain fatty acid and triglyceride compounds. olefins. offer promise as a potential substitute for products currently derived from petroleum or natural gas. Research conducted over the last 50 years has demonstrated that microalgae produce a diverse array of chemical intermediates and hydrocarbons and. However. (It should be noted however. Although this report will briefly consider all the potential conversion processes to produce fuel from microalgal feedstocks. The lipids of some species are composed of hydrocarbon molecules. For this reason. Most lipids in algal cells are found in the membrane that surrounds the cell and cellular organelles. Microalgae would thus be attractive feedstocks for fuel production if their productivity can be effectively exploited. 2008). Importantly. accumulation of lipid produced under stress conditions is generally at the expense of significantly reduced biomass yields. 2007).has yet to be standardized and thus the values published in the literature should be regarded. and organic acids. while those of other species resemble vegetable oils (corn. While each of the three main biochemical fractions of microalgae can be converted into fuels. which like their 6 .
on the other hand. applying a modest estimate of the potential productivity of oil from algae at 1. which are widely used in world food markets.. or gaseous (methane) fuels through anaerobic digestion. Additionally. petroleum fuel usage (Tyson et al. (Source: Soy Stats™. 2007). largely carbohydrate and protein) could be used for the generation of energy (biopower)..S. an algal-based biorefinery could potentially integrate several different conversion technologies to produce many biofuels as well as valuable co-products including oils. Algal-derived polysaccharides can be hydrolyzed (chemically or enzymatically) into sugars that can be fermented to ethanol. Improvements in either area productivity (gm/m2/day) or lipid content (gm/dry cell weight) would significantly reduce the land area needed ultimately to produce this quantity of biofuel. For example.. soybean crop (67 million acres) yields a figure greater than 100% of the petroleum diesel consumed annually in the U. more liquid fuels through fermentation (ethanol.). These include starch.8 billion gallons of fuel. however. glycogen. and carbohydrates. This amount of biodiesel would displace just 6% of the approximately 44 billion gallons of petroleum on-road diesel used annually in the U. algae require approximately 2 kg of CO2 for every kg biomass generated. and green gasoline (produced by a combination of hydroprocessing and catalytic cracking to yield alkanes of various carbon chain lengths) (Kalnes et al. Algal oils do. the main structural elements of algal cell walls have been shown to be composed of polysaccharides such as cellulose.538 539 540 541 542 543 544 545 546 547 548 549 550 551 552 553 554 555 556 557 558 559 560 561 562 563 564 565 566 567 568 569 570 571 572 573 574 575 576 577 578 579 580 581 582 terrestrial seed oil counterparts. and global warming. this technology has the potential to recycle CO2 emissions from power plants and other fixed sources of CO2. or serve as a feedstock for the generation of higher-value co-products. specifically lipids derived from them. American Soybean Association). as a figure of merit (see Appendix). can be converted into biodiesel (via transesterification to yield fatty acid methyl esters) (Fukuda et al. security.S. It has been reported that the use of vegetable oil and fat-based feedstocks. In addition to the production of energy-rich lipids. 7 . and green diesel. has gained significant momentum over the past few years.. Given that scalable algal biofuels are not yet attainable.200 gallons/acre/year on the area of land equivalent to that used to produce the 2007 U. and chrysolaminarin. cannot realistically satisfy the ever-increasing demand for transportation fuels. 2001).S.e. algae can also be regarded as an alternative source of carbohydrates. have that potential because their oil yield/acre can be 5 to 60 times higher than that of terrestrial oil crops (see Table 2). Further. three different polymers of glucose. green jet fuel. and sulfated glycans. protein. therefore. it would have provided only 2. mannans. nor are they likely to displace any significant portion of the U. some algae and cyanobacteria can accumulate large quantities of storage polysaccharides as a product of photosynthesis. xylans. etc. 2004). Had the oil from the entire 2007 soybean crop been converted to biodiesel. energy independence. the potential use of microalgal feedstocks for biofuels production.S. biobutanol. In the future. The algal residue that remains after removal of the lipid component (i. With concerns about petroleum supplies and costs as energy demands grow worldwide.
with a fossil fuel-based power plant. (1978) indicated that algal systems could produce methane gas at prices competitive with projected costs for fossil fuels. and a wide range of co-products. To round out the biorefinery. gasoline. Not until the energy price surges of the 1970s did the possibility of using algae as a fuel source receive renewed attention. jet fuel. can be used in the near term since the needed technologies and biomass production are readily available and it can help establish and exercise an ethanol-based biofuels economy. at least initially. A detailed engineering analysis by Benemann et al. After extraction of the algal oils. biofuels from algae present an opportunity at the greatest scale and with very attractive sustainability characteristics. Corn ethanol.S. Investments So Far in Algal Biofuels Development Early Work to 1996 Proposals to use algae as a means of producing energy date back to the late 1950s when Meier (1955) and Oswald and Golueke (1960) suggested the utilization of the carbohydrate fraction of algal cells for the production of methane gas via anaerobic digestion. and cellulosic ethanol follows naturally from starch ethanol. 2007). biodiesel. present tremendous potential for replacing up to 30% of the U.583 584 585 586 587 588 589 590 591 592 593 594 595 596 597 598 599 600 601 602 603 604 605 606 607 608 609 610 611 612 613 614 615 616 617 618 619 620 621 622 623 624 625 Integrating With Biorefinery Concept While the conversion of solar energy into renewable liquid fuels and other products from algal lipid feedstocks is technically feasible (Chisti. however.. cellulosic biofuels. other advanced biofuels from cellulosic biomass may provide reduced distribution costs and higher energy densities. algae farms could become an integral part of a biorefinery concept that incorporates other advanced technologies to produce a variety of biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol. Ultimately. This biorefinery could be integrated. For these and other reasons. starting with ethanol. as well as serve to mitigate the release of CO2 by recycling it. gasoline usage. It is. currently such biofuels cannot be produced economically enough to be cost-competitive with fossil fuels. algae hold tremendous potential for the long-term biofuels strategy for transportation energy within the United States. the residue could be used as a starting feedstock to drive ethanol production (through the use of algal-derived sugars) or fed back into the power plant to be burned as a fuel source. The discovery that many species of microalgae can produce large amounts of lipid as cellular oil droplets under certain 8 . Moving further out. a biodiesel plant or petroleum refinery (or both) would convert the algal lipids into the most cost-effective fuel depending on the economic situation. The CO2 generated by this plant and from an integrated ethanol plant would serve as a rich source of nutrients for the growth of algae. renewable ―green‖ diesel. Finally. conceivable that in the not too distant future. A significant basic science and applied engineering R&D effort is required before the vision and potential of algae for biofuels can be fully realized. in still longer term (perhaps 10 years). In the near to mid-term. substantial R&D is needed to develop an algae-to-biofuels production system that can become an integrated component in a biorefinery that operates at high efficiency with minimal inputs at a low cost. though it poses longer-term sustainability challenges.
the emphasis was on using algae to produce hydrogen. process development. Approximately $25 million (Sheehan. and demonstration-scale algal mass culture. 1988). which catalyzes the first step in the biosynthesis of fatty acids used for TAG synthesis. a diatom that is a attractive lipid producer. pH. genetic engineering. further studies examined the ability of many strains to induce lipid accumulation under conditions of nutrient stress. Techno-economic analyses and resource assessments were also important aspects of the program. Northwestern. Advances were made through algal strain isolation and characterization. Various reports during the 1950s and 1960s indicated that starvation for key nutrients. Some of the highlights are described briefly below. Many of the strains were isolated from shallow. Cyclotella cryptica. 1998). The Aquatic Species Program represents the most comprehensive research effort to date on fuels from algae. 1998) was invested during the 18year program.000 strains of microalgae over a seven-year period from various sites in the Western. studies of algal physiology and biochemistry. representing a diversity of aquatic environments and water types. was the focus of many of the biochemical studies. Additional studies focused on storage carbohydrate production. cryptica were 9 . The Aquatic Species Program also funded research at many academic institutions through subcontracts. suggesting that it may play a role as a ―spigot‖ controlling lipid synthesis. A key enzyme is acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACCase). In 1998. ACCase activity was found to increase under the nutrient stress conditions (Roessler. primarily TAGs. The collection was narrowed to the 300 most promising strains. such as nitrogen or silicon. primarily green algae (Chlorophyceae) and diatoms (Bacillariophyceae). and Southeastern U. as biosynthesis of these compounds competes for fixed carbon units that might otherwise be used for lipid formation. In this species.. During the early years. some species in the collection were shown to accumulate as much as 60% of their dry weight in the form of lipid. inland saline habitats that typically undergo substantial swings in temperature and salinity. and also for their ability to produce neutral lipids. could lead to this phenomenon. ultimately becoming the major push of DOE‘s Aquatic Species Program. The concept of utilizing these lipid stores as a source of energy only gained serious attention during the oil embargo of the early 1970s. Under inducing conditions. Although nutrient deficiency actually reduces the overall rate of oil production in a culture (because of the concomitant decrease in the cell growth rate). The program lasted from 1978 until 1996 and supported research primarily at DOE‘s NREL (formerly the Solar Energy Research Institute).S. studying this response led to valuable insights into the mechanisms of lipid biosynthesis. Enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of the storage carbohydrate chrysolaminarin in C. 1990). a comprehensive overview of the project was completed (Sheehan et al. growth under conditions of insufficient silicon (a component of the cell wall) is a trigger for increased oil production.626 627 628 629 630 631 632 633 634 635 636 637 638 639 640 641 642 643 644 645 646 647 648 649 650 651 652 653 654 655 656 657 658 659 660 661 662 663 664 665 666 667 668 669 670 growth conditions dates back to the 1940s. and thus the enzyme was extensively characterized (Roessler. and temperature. The isolates were screened for their tolerance to variations in salinity. but the focus changed to liquid fuels (biodiesel) in the early 1980s. The Aquatic Species Program researchers collected more than 3. After promising microalgae were identified.
The first successful transformation of microalgae with potential for biodiesel production was achieved in 1994 with the diatoms C. 1990). Initial attempts at metabolic engineering using these tools were successful in altering the genes‘ expression levels. A key gene involved in carbohydrate biosynthesis was also isolated (US patent 5. Termination of the Aquatic Species Program in 1996 prevented further development of these potentially promising paths to commercially viable strains for oil production. Among various techniques. scale-up. but failed to fully address the scale. cost.. Conversion of algal oils to ethyl. Research during the latter years of the Aquatic Species Program focused on the metabolic engineering of green algae and diatoms that involved the development of basic genetic tools as well as actual pathway modifications. other biofuel process options (e. 1998)..g. Importantly. 1999). Extraction of oil droplets from the cells and purification of the oil are also cost-intensive steps. 1993). but also for various problematic process steps.671 672 673 674 675 676 677 678 679 680 681 682 683 684 685 686 687 688 689 690 691 692 693 694 695 696 697 698 699 700 701 702 703 704 705 706 707 708 709 710 711 712 713 714 715 characterized (Roessler. but no further fuel characterization. the genomics revolution has accelerated progress in metabolic engineering for many organisms.or methyl-esters (biodiesel) was successfully demonstrated in the Aquatic Species Program and shown to be one of the less challenging aspects of the technology. 10 . cryptica encoding the ACCase enzyme (Roessler and Ohlrogge. The Aquatic Species Program focused on solvent systems. 1998). harvesting via flocculation was deemed particularly encouraging (Sheehan et al. which involves the modification of an organism at the genetic level to achieve changes in cellular metabolism. Cost-effective methods of harvesting and dewatering algal biomass and lipid extraction. conversion of lipids to gasoline) were evaluated (Milne et al.g. Harvesting is the process of collecting small microalgal cells from the dilute suspension of a growing culture—a process step that is highly energy and capital intensive.. it became clear that novel solutions would be needed not only for biological productivity. has proven successful for enhanced production of many compounds in industrial strains. and conversion to fuel are critical to successful commercialization of the technology. 1987 and 1988) with the hope of eventually turning down the flow of carbon through these pathways. purification. During the course of the Aquatic Species Program research. obviating the need for nutrient stress).. or engine testing was carried out. but no effect was seen on lipid production in these preliminary experiments (Sheehan et al. In addition. For this reason. cryptica and Navicula saprophila (Dunahay et al. metabolic engineering of microalgae has become increasingly accessible and could theoretically result in strains that produce more oil or produce it under different conditions (e. A second major accomplishment was the isolation and characterization of the gene from C. 1995). Metabolic engineering.932.928.. the first example of an ACCase gene from a photosynthetic organism. Jarvis and Roessler. and environmental issues associated with such methods..
000 m2 outdoor..S. but even with optimistic assumptions about CO2 credits and productivity improvements. Low nighttime and winter temperatures limited productivity in the Roswell area. estimated costs for unextracted algal oil were determined to range from $59-$186/barrel (Sheehan et al. In addition. distance from CO2 point sources. Inc. saline water. N. and the efficiency of CO 2 utilization (bubbled through the algae culture) was shown to be more than 90% with careful pH control. biological productivity was shown to have the single largest influence on fuel cost. demonstration-scale outdoor microalgal cultivation was conducted in California. as we now know. federal funding for algal research in general has been limited and intermittent. the energy landscape has changed dramatically in the intervening 14 years. the Aquatic Species Program was successful in demonstrating the feasibility of algal culture as a source of oil and resulted in important advances in the technology. and CO2 resources (power plants) primarily in desert regions of the Southwest United States. DOE estimated at that time that the cost of petroleum would remain relatively flat over the next 20 years. the work highlighted the need to understand and optimize the biological mechanisms of algal lipid accumulation and to find creative. Federal funding is split between 11 . Several resource assessments were conducted under the Aquatic Species Program. cost-effective solutions for the culture and process engineering challenges. This facility utilized two 1. In particular.gov/publications . The raceway design was based on the ―high rate pond‖ system developed at UC Berkeley... Of particular note was the Outdoor Test Facility (OTF) in Roswell. 1998). but lower oil producing. and other issues. However. which was trading at less than $20/barrel in 1995. Studies focused on suitable land. and New Mexico (Sheehan et al. Research from 1996 to Present Since the end of DOE‘s Aquatic Species Program in 1996.. depth of aquifers. the costs of these resources can vary widely depending upon such factors as land leveling requirements.) Overall. plus several smaller ponds for inocula production. (Weissman et al. it also became clear that significant barriers would need to be overcome in order to achieve an economically feasible process. One serious problem encountered was that the desired starting strain was often outgrown by faster reproducing. 1998). It was concluded that algal biofuels would never be cost competitive with petroleum. Different cost analyses led to differing conclusions on fuel cost. (Although. operated by Microbial Products. but overall biomass productivity averaged around 10 g/m2/day with occasional periods approaching 50 g/m2/day. Sufficient resources were identified for the production of many billions of gallons of fuel. Detailed results from the Aquatic Species Program research investment are available to the public in more than 100 electronic documents on the NREL Web site at www.M. However. suggesting that the technology could have the potential to have a significant impact on U. strains from the wild. Detailed techno-economic analyses underlined the necessity for very low-cost culture systems such as unlined open ponds. Hawaii. paddlewheel-mixed raceway ponds. stable production of algal biomass was demonstrated.716 717 718 719 720 721 722 723 724 725 726 727 728 729 730 731 732 733 734 735 736 737 738 739 740 741 742 743 744 745 746 747 748 749 750 751 752 753 754 755 756 757 758 759 760 Under Aquatic Species Program subcontracts. shallow (10-20 cm deep). The systems were successful in that long-term.nrel. 1989). petroleum consumption.
The venture firms are looking at biomass. investment in cleantech has increased almost five fold. Not only in algae. the average deal value was $15 million. large existing companies with either market interest derived from their current business revenues (e. Los Alamos National Laboratory. Krauss. and new companies are looking to expand algae‘s impact. with a major increase in cleantech capital investment during the past five years. Sandia National Laboratories. Since 1999. has been increasing at a dramatic pace over the last few years. the opportunity for algae-to-biofuels is significant. The investment community‘s focus is not always on utilization of the lipids. Private investment in biofuels. are investing in the construction of actual facilities for the production of fuels and electricity (Krauss. including technologies based both on lipid conversion and the conversion of other algae components. In early 2007. An ever-increasing level of research focus on algal biofuels has taken place at a number of U. 2007). and $2. Further. and wind technologies. investment in the clean fuels sector in general has been booming. 168 deals were signed with a combined value of $2. and in some instances. With the increase in interest worldwide amongst the investment community in clean technologies.g.6 billion (Gongloff. National Energy Technology Laboratory.3 billion. national labs. an average value of $10 million per deal. and algal biofuels. Some companies have identified niches based on the production of ethanol from algal biomass. including NREL. production of high energy lipids. When tied with energy security and energy independence. 2007. the >150 algal biofuels companies in existence today worldwide are attempting to help make the algae-to-fuels concept a reality. both large and small. In summary. energy) or with know-how and technology potentially relevant to algal biofuels are 12 . Many of these companies became interested in algae during the rapid rise in cleantech investment from 2004 to 2006 and as algae‘s advantages. 2007).8 billion were completed in 2006. in general. and process improvement. The Wall Street Journal (2007) reported that 180 deals with a total value of $1.S. are investing in demonstration plants. became more widely known. such as its growth on traditionally underutilized land. small quantity products for decades. and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In the first three quarters of calendar year 2007. The total investment in cleantech in 2006 was between $1. solar. and high yield per land area. depending on the study (Gongloff. 2007). Energy companies. microalgae production has also received interest from the private sector. and the investment community is responding. Algae have been used to produce high value.761 762 763 764 765 766 767 768 769 770 771 772 773 774 775 776 777 778 779 780 781 782 783 784 785 786 787 788 789 790 791 792 793 794 795 796 797 798 799 800 801 802 803 804 805 806 DOE and the Department of Defense (DoD).8 billion. Commercial entities are exploring all aspects of the algae-to-fuels process. in particular. feedstock development. Recent initiatives such as a major DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) solicitation Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) algal bio-jet program and several DOE Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) request for proposals suggest that funding levels are beginning to increase. State funding programs and research support from private industry also make up a significant proportion of research funding. illustrating the increasing magnitude of investments that venture firms are completing.
13 . For this reason. saleable algal biofuels. of course. The Workshop participants agreed that the obvious first step toward achieving sustainable. The total body of work in the past years is relatively small. See section 11. and life cycle analyses are critically needed to gain greater understanding for informed decision making so that investments can be targeted and optimized to greater positive effect. In short. It is thus clear that a significant basic science and applied engineering R&D effort including a rigorous techno-economic and LCA will be required to fully realize the vision and potential of algae. the science of algae cultivation (algaculture). for conversion to starch ethanol). does not exist. Need for a Sizeable. development of cellulosic biofuels benefits from direct agricultural and process engineering lineage to the long-standing agricultural enterprise of growing corn (a grass) for food (and recently. the associated level of risk must be reduced. There is no parallel agricultural enterprise equivalent for cultivating algae at a similar scale. Systems and Techno-Economic Analyses of Algal Biofuel Deployment (page 157) for detailed discussion and specifics. if you will. In contrast. detailed life cycle analysis (LCA) of algal biofuels production has not been possible.807 808 809 810 811 812 813 814 815 816 817 818 819 820 821 822 823 824 825 826 827 828 829 830 831 832 833 834 835 836 837 838 839 840 841 842 843 844 845 846 847 848 849 beginning to show interest in algae as well. is which entities will undertake the major funding investments needed to realize sustainable. reflecting a fairly low level of research funding. What‘s not known. There is a large gap between the current reality of commercial microalgae production technology and the goal of producing a microalgae biomass with high oil content suitable for conversion to biofuels at a large scale. This supports private investments aimed at producing algal biofuels at a commercial scale. Strategically Structured and Sustained Investment In the years following the termination of the Aquatic Species Program. Additionally. Thus a combination of systems. investment in algal biofuels research and development is needed to identify and reduce risk. Going Forward Roadmapping a Strategy for Algal Biofuels Development & Deployment The current state of knowledge regarding the economics of producing algal biofuels are woefully inadequate to motivate targeted investment on a focused set of specific challenges. agronomy-foralgae. Furthermore. a small but growing body of work has been reported in peer-reviewed journals dealing with topics ranging from photobioreactor design to lipid metabolism. One of the major unanimous conclusions of the Workshop was that a great deal of RD&D is still necessary to make the algae-to-fuels process a reality and to engage the private sector more aggressively. the pervasive interdependency of various processes and infrastructure in developing a cost-competitive algae-to-biofuels supply chain necessitates systems analysis to ensure these entities work together as an efficient system. and genomic analysis. because no algal biofuels production beyond the research scale has ever occurred. genetic manipulation. techno-economic. The techno-economic analysis can track the status of each contributing technology as per established benchmarks and help identify opportunities for cost reduction.
including scalable algal biofuels.. harvest. build. Ultimately.S. Since the end of the DOE-sponsored Aquatic Species Program in 1996. the existing funding landscape is fractured. Further. and internal institutional funds. whether at DOE national laboratories. the Workshop participants identified the need for significant investment in our colleges and universities to train the professional work force for the new bioeconomy.850 851 852 853 854 855 856 857 858 859 860 861 862 863 864 865 866 867 868 869 870 871 872 873 874 875 876 877 878 879 880 881 882 883 884 885 886 scalable biofuels from algae is long-term and sustained investment in research and development. and metabolomics) as applied to algal biology to carry out the fundamental biology R&D to support this effort. proteomics. with most of the funding spread across a variety of federal agencies (DoD. state governments. See section 12. University graduate research in modern molecular biology needs funding to produce molecular biologists with skills in systems biology (e. as well as existing business and technology leaders. Environmental Protection Agency). which can then support the commercialization activities led by venture-backed entrepreneurs. there has been no significant or sustained mechanism for funding academic work in the development of algae-based biofuels (excluding biohydrogen from algae). In addition. and maintain large-scale systems to cultivate. congressionally directed research. More specifically. DOE. academic laboratories interested in various aspects of algae-to-biofuels research have largely experienced inadequate levels of funding. U. The Workshop participants felt that funding agencies with varying missions need to work together to enable the development of partnerships that span not only basic and applied research arenas. Over the past few years. 14 . and process algal biomass at scale. but the various disciplines needed to tackle the diverse challenges algal biofuels present. genomics.g. The disconnect between the various small funding efforts and the absence of a centralized effort in this area has been a large source of frustration for the academic research community. universities. and/or in the private sector. A single federal agency coordinating studies in the field or making investments strategic enough can acquire a long-term leadership role and help tie in all the efforts across the nation toward the development of algal biofuels. what‘s needed in algal biology is a new generation of applied biologists and engineers to design. a sizable and strategically structured investment to tackle the RD&D challenges of algal biofuels is needed to advance the knowledge and experience of the nation‘s research community. private industry. Public-Private Partnerships for continued discussion and recommendations.
microalgae. as we will demonstrate below. However. Microscopic algae were among the first life forms to appear on our planet (Falkowski et al. though making up only 0. algae can convert up to 15% of the photosynthetically available solar irradiation (PAR).‖ but these organisms are clearly photosynthetic ―prokaryotes‖—bacterial organisms that lack a defined nucleus. 1997). and hypersaline (>3. are no better than 3. The biochemical mechanism of photosynthesis in microalgae is similar to that found in all plants. stems. Under the limitations of current technology. In contrast. Algal Biology Algae: Basic Biological Concepts The term ―algae‖ refers to a large group of simple plant-like photosynthetic organisms.. into new cell mass (Benemann et al. Unicellular microalgae are easily distinguished from their larger counterparts. As a result. 1978). They are responsible for fixing massive amounts of CO2 while producing and sustaining the atmospheric oxygen that supports the majority of life on Earth (Falkowski and Raven. But it is not only photosynthetic efficiency that makes algae attractive candidates for biofuel production. microalgae are a relevant target for scientific studies for biomass energy 15 . and with a ready supply of water and nutrients.. 1998) and contribute approximately 40% to 50% of the oxygen in the atmosphere. the photosynthetic efficiencies for sugar cane. 2004). there are reasons to consider cyanobacteria for certain aspects of research relevant for biofuel production.. Microalgae are defined as microscopic photosynthetic. free-living organisms that thrive in diverse ecological aquatic habitats such as freshwater.5% salt). Algae are typically subdivided into two major categories based on their relative size. 2008). Microalgae can be subdivided into two broad categories: the prokaryotic cyanobacteria and the true eukaryotic algae. Nonetheless.2% of global photosynthetic biomass. unlike their terrestrial counterparts. Microalgae play a significant role in global productivity capacity. greatly increasing the amount of oil that can be produced per acre. For example. with some strains capable of doubling their cell numbers several times per day. marine (3.5% salt). or roughly 6% of the total incident radiation. they are not a focus for this discussion.‖ which have cells organized into structures resembling leaves. brackish (<3. but also because. have been included traditionally as ―algae. Free of the need to generate support and reproductive structures. often referred to as the blue-green algae. Because cyanobacteria do not typically produce much lipid (Hu et al.5% to 4% (Odum 1971). microalgae are particularly efficient converters of solar energy due to their simple structure. have been found to account for approximately 50% of the global organic carbon fixation (Field et al.887 888 889 890 891 892 893 894 895 896 897 898 899 900 901 902 903 904 905 906 907 908 909 910 911 912 913 914 915 916 917 918 919 920 921 922 923 924 925 926 927 928 929 930 2. every algal cell can be a lipid factory. the most productive terrestrial crop. unlike terrestrial plants which produce specialized oil bearing seeds.5% salt) environments within a wide range of temperature and pH (Falkowski and Raven 1997). terrestrial crops generally have lower photosynthetic conversion efficiencies. By some estimates. the macroalgae or ―seaweeds. and roots of higher plants. the microalgal cell can devote the majority of the energy it traps into biomass growth. Cyanobacteria.
nevertheless. hyper-saline. cyanobacteria hold important practical implications as transformers of solar energy. which require special adaptations in metabolism for survival. Among the species that are believed to exist. and are even found in symbiotic association with other organisms.. Furthermore. Algal Classification The biodiversity of microalgae is enormous with tens of thousands of species being described and as many as 10 million extant (Metting. biofuels production. though they have been shown to produce storage carbon in the form of starch or glycogen. are not a well-studied group from a biotechnological point of view. They range from simple. Within those major divisions. and utilizing the excessive amounts of CO2 currently being released into the atmosphere through the heavy reliance on fossil fuels. 2007). cyanobacteria have been engineered to produce ethanol through a photosynthetic process (Deng and Coleman.. diatoms (Bacillariophyceae). Examples of each of these classes are known to produce high levels of lipids. Microalgae have been isolated from diverse ecosystems such as freshwater. yellow-green algae (Xanthophyceae). a few hundred are being investigated for their chemical content and just a handful are cultivated on an industrial scale (Chisti. 1996).. Algae can be further classified into at least 12 major divisions. Nannochloropsis sp. It continues to be an extremely versatile and easy model with which to study the genetic systems of photosynthetic organisms. As a group. golden algae (Chrysophyceae). Eukaryotic microalgae. on the other hand. red algae (Rhodophyceae). only a few thousand strains are kept in culture collections throughout the world. snow. brown algae (Phaeophyceae) and picoplankton (Prasinophyceae and Eustigmatophyceae). a recent report describes the production and secretion of sucrose by photosynthetic prokaryotes (US 20080124767). brackish. tiny unicellular organisms to multicellular colonies. from simple to branched filaments. Nitzschia palea. 1996). Cyanobacteria are. some common classes of algae include the green algae (Chlorophyceae). important as potential production strains for a variety of chemical intermediates and fuels. Phaeodactylum tricornutum. 1995). and Isochrysis sp (Chisti. 2007). For example. PCC6803 was the first photosynthetic organism whose genome was completely sequenced (Kaneko et al. In addition. Monallantus salina.931 932 933 934 935 936 937 938 939 940 941 942 943 944 945 946 947 948 949 950 951 952 953 954 955 956 957 958 959 960 961 962 963 964 965 966 967 968 969 970 971 972 973 974 975 976 production. Today there are numerous commercial applications involving microalgae. Several additional divisions and classes of unicellular algae have been described and details of their structure and biology are available (van den Hoek et al. Microalgal mass cultures have applications in the production of human nutritional supplements and specialty animal feeds (Becker 2004) and play a crucial role 16 . microalgae inhabit soil and biofilms. these include Chromonas danica. The commercial application of microalgal biotechnology began to develop in the middle of the last century. and even hot springs. marine. 1998). The unicellular cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. Cyanobacteria are not generally known to produce large quantities of lipids.
CO2 from the atmosphere is converted (―fixed‖) into sugar using ATP and NADPH generated during the light reaction. There are generally two processes whereby algae fix CO2: the C3 and C4 pathways Most algae and plants use the C3 pathway in which CO2 is first incorporated into a 3-carbon compound known as 3-phosphoglycerate. These organisms concentrate CO2 around Rubisco. Cyanobacteria are prokaryotes and do not possess chloroplasts or any other such organelles. photons of light are absorbed directly by chlorophyll and a variety of other accessory pigments to excite electrons to a higher energy state. Selection.e. known as the light and dark reactions. Photosynthesis/CO2 Fixation Photosynthesis is a process whereby certain varieties of bacterial species. Strain Isolation. ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase (RuBisCo). In a series of reactions. They are cultivated as a source of highly valuable molecules such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) (Ward and Singh 2005) and pigments such as β-carotene and astaxanthin (Pulz and Gross. 2000). because many of the strains in these collections have been cultivated now for several decades. 2000). and/or Screening Currently. these strains may have lost part of their original properties such as mating capabilities or versatility 17 .000 strains. in the form of CO2 is recycled directly from the atmosphere generating biomass and oxygen in the process. Carbon. and the concomitant loss of energy. 2004). The three carbon compound generated during the process enters the Calvin cycle leading to sugar formation. thereby diminishing photorespiration. a number of microalgal strains are available from culture collections such as UTEX (The Culture Collection of Algae at the University of Texas at Austin. photosynthesis takes place inside a membrane-bound sac known as a thylakoid. However.500 strains. and CCMP (The Provasoli-Guillard National Center for Culture of Marine Phytoplankton at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in West Boothbay Harbor.977 978 979 980 981 982 983 984 985 986 987 988 989 990 991 992 993 994 995 996 997 998 999 1000 1001 1002 1003 1004 1005 1006 1007 1008 1009 1010 1011 1012 1013 1014 1015 1016 1017 1018 1019 1020 1021 in aquaculture and wastewater treatment. In the photosynthetic light reactions. with about 3. taken up by a protozoan billions of years ago and evolving into an endosymbiont. Maine). Cyanobacteria are widely believed to be the ancestor of the chloroplast. In the light independent process (i. The enzyme that catalyzes this reaction. Marine diatoms are responsible for up to 20% of the global CO2 fixation. photosynthesis takes place in specialized organelles called chloroplasts... Texas). dark reaction). the energy is converted into ATP and NADPH splitting water in the process and releasing oxygen as a byproduct. In these organisms. Marine diatoms use the alternative C4 pathway. eukaryotic algae. and. is also the enzyme involved in the uptake of CO2. Photosynthesis is generally performed in two separate steps. with more than 2. generally have enhanced photosynthetic efficiencies over C3 pathway organisms (Kheshgi et al. as a result. though it is not clear if this will provide a real advantage for diatoms cultivated in the presence of sufficient CO2. and higher plants convert the potential of light energy into chemical energy. In eukaryotic algae. It is thought that this characteristic is responsible for the ecological significance of diatoms (Reinfelder et al.
To obtain versatile and robust strains that can be used for mass culture in biofuels applications. 2005). Further. it is recommended to include sampling of both planktonic and benthic algae within the context of this roadmap.1022 1023 1024 1025 1026 1027 1028 1029 1030 1031 1032 1033 1034 1035 1036 1037 1038 1039 1040 1041 1042 1043 1044 1045 1046 1047 1048 1049 1050 1051 1052 1053 1054 1055 1056 1057 1058 1059 1060 1061 1062 1063 1064 1065 1066 1067 regarding nutrient requirements (de la Jara et al. However. within an aqueous habitat some algae are typically found either in the planktonic (free floating) or benthic (attached) environments. 1981). native strains directly from unique environments. The goals of isolation and screening efforts are to identify and maintain promising algal specimens for cultivation and strain development. as many colonies are obtained from single cells the strains are often already clonal cultures. 2005). At this time most commercial microalgae production facilities use open raceway pond technologies (e. Therefore. it is recommended that the isolated strains be screened to develop baseline data on the effects of regional environmental variability on cultivars. brackish waters. Planktonic algae may be used in suspended mass cultures whereas benthic algae may find application in biofilm based production facilities.. For large-scale sampling and isolation efforts. For both direct breeding as well as for metabolic engineering approaches to improved biofuels production. and hyper-saline environments to soil as well as symbiotic associations with other organisms (Round. Identification of Criteria for Screening 18 . For isolation of new strains from natural habitats traditional cultivation techniques may be used including enrichment cultures (Andersen & Kawachi. Earthrise and Cyanotech Corp) (Chisti. sampling and isolation activities for new strains have to account for temporal succession of microalgae in natural habitats. And Extreme Environments In addition to sampling from a variety of ecosystems. Further. it is. In addition. Natural Habitats: Marine. essential to consider the isolation of new. Thus. it is vital to isolate a large variety of microalgae for assembly into a culture collection serving as a bioresource for further biofuels research. Freshwater. 2007) and rely on natural strain succession to maximize biomass production throughout the year. Also. Wastewater. However. because it is not yet known how algae will be cultivated on a mass scale. new strains should be isolated from a wide variety of environments to provide the largest range in metabolic versatility possible. 2003). marine. high-throughput automated isolation techniques involving fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) have proven to be extremely useful (Sieraki et.g. al. any large-scale sampling and isolation efforts should be coordinated to ensure broadest coverage of environments and to avoid duplication of efforts. it is proposed that sampling strategies not only account for spatial distribution but also for the temporal succession brought about by seasonal variations of algae in their habitats. Brackish/Saline. Isolation and Characterization of Naturally Occurring Algae Species/Strains Algae occur in a variety of natural aqueous habitats ranging from freshwater. traditional methods take weeks to months for isolation of unialgal strains. therefore.
maximum cell density. it would be very helpful to develop automated systems that would provide information regarding all parameters simultaneously. oxygen levels.. Previous studies revealed that microalgae strains tested in the laboratory do not necessarily perform similarly in outdoor mass cultures (Sheehan et al. which includes parameters such as culture consistency. such as growth rates and metabolite productivities. and carbohydrates. Further.1068 1069 1070 1071 1072 1073 1074 1075 1076 1077 1078 1079 1080 1081 1082 1083 1084 1085 1086 1087 1088 1089 1090 1091 1092 1093 1094 1095 1096 1097 1098 1099 1100 1101 1102 1103 1104 1105 1106 1107 1108 1109 1110 1111 The ideal screen would cover three major areas: growth physiology. The term ―growth physiology‖ encompasses a number of parameters such as maximum specific growth rate. These have been largely ignored. but they might prove to be valuable coproducts. pH. salinity. To improve the economics of algal biofuel production. Fluorescent methods using lipid soluble dyes have also been described. Development of Novel Concepts and Approaches for Strain Screening Solvent extraction is the most common method for determination of lipid content in algal biomass. it has not yet been established if these methods are valid across a wide range of algal strains. Rapid oil analyses of strains could greatly facilitate this work. but also the productivity of cells regarding metabolites useful for biofuels generation. it is also important to consider the strains robustness. Because all these parameters require significant experimental effort. Further improvements in analytical methodology could be made through the development of solid-state screening methods. For mass culture of a given algal strain. To determine a strain‘s robustness. bottleneck for screening large numbers of microalgae stems from a lack of high-throughput methodologies that would allow simultaneous screening for multiple phenotypes. and though these methods require much less biomass (as little as a single cell). CO 2 levels). community stability. tolerance to environmental variables (temperature. resilience. 1998). In terms of biofuel production. and it requires both a significant quantity of biomass and effort. many strains also excrete metabolites into the growth medium. small-scale simulations of mass culture conditions will need to be performed. Screening for metabolite production has to include not only the metabolite composition and content. at least in systems that do not suffer from contamination. Development of Strain Databases 19 . it would be beneficial to be able to screen in high throughput fashion for lipid content. other valuable co-products must be generated. this would require determining cellular composition regarding proteins. metabolite production. and variability of in situ versus laboratory performance. An ideal analytical method would allow for distinction between neutral and polar lipids. New approaches are necessary to develop screening methods for extracellular materials. At this time. and would also provide fatty acid profiles. and susceptibility to predators present in a given environment. The development of small-scale but high-throughput screening technologies will be essential to enable testing of hundreds to thousands of different algal isolates. lipids. and strain robustness.
cryopreservation. Development and maintenance of such comprehensive open source databases will require a commitment to long-term and stable baseline funding. only a few major algal collection centers exist in the United States and some other countries. Practical applications (general & industrial) 10. and phylogeny either by themselves or in connection with outside collaborators. It could prove to be very helpful to have culture collection organizations responsible for the gathering and dissemination of detailed information regarding potentially valuable strains such as: 1. pathogenicity. taxonomy. to obtain more detailed information on growth. preservation) 3. or Metabolomics) Participants in the workshop recommended that funding be provided to support and expand at least one or both of the existing major collections as open source collections and national algae centers to fulfill the need of the algal biofuels community. Environment & strain history (specific habitat. and provide basic research resources. & screening results 5. open access repository be created (major algae culture depositories may be potential sites). As the major culture collections by their nature already collect and document data on strains. protect genetic material. and robustness of particular existing strains.1112 1113 1114 1115 1116 1117 1118 1119 1120 1121 1122 1123 1124 1125 1126 1127 1128 1129 1130 1131 1132 1133 1134 1135 1136 1137 1138 1139 1140 1141 1142 1143 1144 1145 1146 1147 1148 1149 1150 1151 1152 1153 1154 1155 1156 Currently. Transcriptomics. molecular. They may also support research on determining strain characteristics. Role of Algal Culture Collections Culture collections are necessary to preserve the diversity of natural habitats. metabolites. subspecies name. Plasmids & Phages 7. reference) 2. Biological interaction (symbiosis. they are experienced in strain cultivation and support the research and industrial community with their expertise in algae biology. it is recommended that a central strain. The function of a culture collection often transcends simple depository functions. if not impossible. collector) 4. toxicity) 9. but it is very difficult. pH) & germination conditions 8. Those responsible for culture maintenance already maintain thousands of different microalgal strains. temperature. To accelerate R&D of algae-based biofuels production system. At present. Mutants 6. Protection of intellectual property in private industry further exacerbates the flow of relevant strain data. no database(s) exists that would provide global information on the characteristics of currently available algal strains. 20 . such existing collections could be nuclei for the development of a national algae resource center. Strain name (species. It is expected that the data generated from a publically funded research program will be made available either free of charge or for a minimal user fee. Some minimal growth information is available from existing culture collections. Possibly. Growth conditions (media. Proteomics. Strain administration (number in collection. Strain properties: Cytological. the UTEX and the CCMP algae collections can be developed in such a way. biochemical. Omics data (Genomics.
The major pathway for the formation of TAG in plants and algae involves de novo fatty acid synthesis in the stroma of plastids and subsequent incorporation of the fatty acid into the glycerol backbone. Fatty acids produced in the chloroplast are sequentially transferred from CoA to positions 1 and 2 of glycerol3-phosphate. Traditional Microalgae Isolation Techniques. Sheehan et al. and thus may play an important role in determining the final acyl composition of TAG. The acyltransferases involved in TAG synthesis may exhibit preferences for specific acyl CoA molecules.).A.or 18-carbon fatty acid or both. Chapter 6. Moreover. carbohydrates. Chapter 7. In: Algal Culturing Techniques (Ed. a third fatty acid is transferred to the vacant position 3 of DAG... the pathway produces a 16. & Kawachi M. Overall. The aforementioned pathway (Kennedy Pathway) is believed to be the major pathway to accumulate TAG in plants and algae. biochemical and molecular biological levels. 103116 Cell Biology: Physiology and Biochemistry Microalgae are photosynthetic microorganisms capable of harvesting solar energy while converting CO2 and water to organic macromolecules (i. mainly TAGs. Triacylglycerol biosynthesis in algae has been proposed to occur via the direct glycerol pathway. Chrosby N. the alternate pathways to convert membrane lipids 21 . 2008). Triacylglycerols (TAGs) are the main storage compound in many algae under stress conditions. the regulation of synthesis of fatty acids and TAG in algae is poorly understood at the physiological. In the final step of TAG synthesis. The committed step in fatty acid synthesis is the conversion of acetyl CoA to malonyl CoA. 2005. an enzymatic reaction that is unique to TAG biosynthesis. 1998). Automated Isolation Techniques for Microalgae.. As a result. These are then used as the precursors for the synthesis of cellular and organelle membranes as well as for the synthesis of neutral storage lipids. leading to TAG via three sequential acyl transfers from acyl CoA in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) (Fig. Poulton N. resulting in formation of the central metabolite phosphatidic acid (PA) (Ohlrogge and Browse 1995). adding to the problem of achieving economic algal oil production (Hu et al. In: Algal Culturing Techniques (Ed. PA and DAG can also be used directly as a substrate for synthesis of polar lipids. However.A. and this reaction is catalyzed by diacylglycerol acyltransferase. such as phosphatidylcholine (PC) and galactolipids. the lipid yields obtained from algal mass culture efforts performed to date fall short of the high values (50-60%) observed in the laboratory. catalyzed by acetyl CoA carboxylase (ACCase). In algae. 3).e. Dephosphorylation of PA catalyzed by a specific phosphatase releases diacylglycerol (DAG). Andersen R. 2008.A. Andersen R. 2005. the de novo synthesis of fatty acids occurs primarily in the chloroplast..).1157 1158 1159 1160 1161 1162 1163 1164 1165 1166 1167 1168 1169 1170 1171 1172 1173 1174 1175 1176 1177 1178 1179 1180 1181 1182 1183 1184 1185 1186 1187 1188 1189 1190 1191 1192 1193 1194 1195 1196 1197 1198 1199 1200 1201 References Andersen R. Certain algal species naturally accumulate large amounts of TAG (30-60% of dry weight) and exhibit photosynthetic efficiency and lipids/oil production potential at least an order of magnitude higher than terrestrial crop plants (Hu et al.. such as high light or nutrient starvation. proteins and lipids). 83-102 Sieraki M.
2004) (see below). Dahlqvist et al. these approaches could be useful for similar studies with algae. but could also be useful in manipulation of lipid productivity. In most cases. in providing insight into particular fluxes such as those of the pentose phosphate pathway. 2007. and predictive modeling. the availability of ATP/NAD(P)H... not the area of the land that they occupy is used for the calculation. however. Part of the difficulty here lies with the assumptions made for parameters such as light transmittance in culture. Another problem shows up in calculations of photobioreactor productivity in which the area of the reactors themselves.. pathway analysis. and absorption. much progress has occurred in elucidating the structures of the biosynthetic and degradative pathways that link the major and minor pools of intracellular intermediates to cellular polymers.e. Stahl et al. 2004). Such pathways have not yet been studied in algae. and cytosolic pH are known to regulate gene expression and cellular metabolism in yeasts. Metabolic flux analysis is a rapidly developing field concerned with the quantification and understanding of metabolism at the systems level. though values in the 100-200 g-1 m-2 day-1 have been presented (references). the regulatory properties of these pathways have been elucidated.or futile-cycles and compartmentation (Lytovchenko et al. 2000. Recently.. It has also been shown that some algae increase lipid production under limited light regimes (Klyachko-Gurvich et al. the energy content ATP/ADP ratio. This oil yield... However. the photosynthetic regulation of lipid synthesis in algae needs to be studied with respect to the aforementioned mechanisms. proteins 22 . 2007. Schwender et al. however because can be used to set achievable goals for both cultivation process design as well as strain improvement projects. and has vast influence on both growth and development. The redox state of the electron transport chain.1202 1203 1204 1205 1206 1207 1208 1209 1210 1211 1212 1213 1214 1215 1216 1217 1218 1219 1220 1221 1222 1223 1224 1225 1226 1227 1228 1229 1230 1231 1232 1233 1234 1235 1236 1237 1238 1239 1240 1241 1242 1243 1244 1245 1246 1247 and/or carbohydrates to TAG have been recently demonstrated in plants and yeast in an acyl CoA-independent way (Arabolaza et al. Similar work has been carried out with plants (Zhu et al. metabolic carbon fluxes and partitioning. and into general phenomena. Pfannschmidt et al. 2008. 2001. and critical research on how algal cells control the flux of photosynthetically fixed carbon and its partitioning into various groups of major macromolecules (i. 2008).. plants and algae (Felle 1989.. Metabolic Carbon Fluxes and Partitioning Calculations based on the moderate assumptions of 25 g/m2/day and 50% lipid (See Appendix) suggest that annual oil production of over 5000 gal/acre/yr may be achievable in mass culture of microalgae.. 1999). powerful methods have been developed for the reconstruction of metabolic networks from genomic and transcriptonomic data. and the enzymes involved have been investigated. The theoretical productivity is an important parameter. reflection. carbohydrates. Rolland et al. reflecting the lack of a clear understanding of TAG synthesis. Detailed study of photosynthesis in algae would not only be useful for increased biomass productivity. and. In microbial systems.. Partitioning of carbon dominates intracellular fluxes in both photosynthetic and heterotrophic plants and algae. such as substrate. 2004). in effect. However. Ryu et al. Zhu et al. 2001. Photosynthesis There is little agreement on the theoretical maximum productivity of algae. carbon fluxes and partitioning into lipid is less understood. has never been demonstrated even at a laboratory level..
studies of higher plants showed that when starch synthesis was impaired or inhibited. Vigeolas et al. 2002). In young Arabidopsis seeds and Brassica embryos. Metabolic Link between Starch and Lipid Metabolism Starch is a common carbon and energy storage compound in plants and algae and shares the same precursors with the storage lipid TAG (Fig. While these results provide a clear indication that starch (carbohydrates) synthesis is linked to oil synthesis. More recently.1248 1249 1250 1251 1252 1253 1254 1255 1256 1257 1258 1259 1260 1261 1262 1263 1264 1265 1266 1267 and lipids) are needed. Ruuska et al. 23 . such interaction is also indicated by studies on the diatom Cyclotella cryptica (Roessler 1988) and some green algae. indicating starch can be an important storage compound and its synthesis precedes oil accumulation.. it could be fruitful to initiate research on the metabolic link between starch and lipid metabolism.. 1). the plant embryos or seeds accumulate 40% less oil (Periappuram et al. starch was transiently accumulated and starch metabolism was most active before the oil accumulation phase (Kang and Rawsthorne 1994. TAG and starch may be inter-convertible. degradation and interaction with lipid metabolism in algae need to be studied.. Therefore. the nature of the interaction is unknown. In this respect. de novo starch synthesis. 2000. In algae. A fundamental understanding of ‗global‘ regulatory networks that control the partitioning of carbon between lipids and alternative storage products will be absolutely essential for metabolic engineering of algal cells for over-production of lipids. Therefore. 2004).
CO2 Starch AGPPase Glc6P Central Glc6P 3-PGA Starch synthase Amylases Metabolic Pyruvate PDH COPathway 2 3-PGA Mitochondria Pyruvate Acetyl-CoA Oxaloacetate Chloroplast Acetyl-CoA ACCase KAS I TCA cycle Glycolipids Galactolipase? KAS II SAD C16-C18 CoA Phosphatidic acid GDAT? Diacylglycerol (DAG) Acetyl- ER Phospholipids CoA DAGT PDAT? Triacylglycerol (Neutral lipids) Lipid Body 1268 Figure 1: Major pathways for the fatty acid and TAG synthesis in plants and algae 3-PGA: 3-phosphoglycerate. KAS: 3-ketoacyl-ACP. AGPPase: ADP glucose pyrophosphorylase. PDAT: Phospholipids: DAG acyltransferase. Glc6P: glucose-6-phosphate. 24 . leading to TAG via three sequential acyl transfers from acyl CoA in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) (Fig. Accase: acetyl CoA carboxylase. ACP: acyl carrier protein. GDAT: putative glycolipids: DAG acyltransferase. 1269 1270 1271 1272 1273 1274 1275 Lipid Synthesis and Regulation Primary Pathway for Lipid Synthesis The major pathway (Kennedy Pathway) for the formation of TAG involves de novo fatty acid synthesis in the stroma of plastids and subsequent incorporation of the fatty acid into the glycerol backbone. 1). ER: Endoplasmic reticulum. At the biochemical level. however. PDH: pyruvate dehydrogenase (putative pathways were proposed in dashed lines).
In addition. It has been further hypothesized that the chloroplast may be the major site for alterative pathways of TAG synthesis and is involved in biogenesis of cytosolic lipid bodies. the annotation of genes involved in lipid metabolism in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has revealed that algal lipid metabolism may be different from that in plants. the fate of the abundant glycoglycerolipids remains unclear. Thus. To address the above hypothesis. 2008. Under stress conditions. Stahl et al. as the degradation of chloroplasts occurs.. As noted above. Alternative Pathways to Storage Lipids Microalgae may possess multiple pathways for TAG synthesis and the relative contribution of individual pathways to overall TAG formation depends on environmental or culture conditions. how the algal cell coordinates the distribution of the precursors to the two distinct destinations or the inter-conversion between the two types of lipids needs to be elucidated. alternate pathways to convert membrane lipids and/or carbohydrates to TAG have been demonstrated in plants and yeast (Arabolaza et al. Dahlqvist et al. ~20%) and sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerol (SQDG. involved in lipid metabolism in algae. If this proves to be true. 2000. studies that compare oleaginous algae (such as Haematococcus pluvialis and Pseudochlorococcum sp. 2004). Dahlqvist et al. For example. Because fatty acids are common precursors for the synthesis of both membrane lipids and TAG.. whereas alternative pathways that convert starch. and other components into TAG play an important role for cell survival under stress. Assuming that the ability to control the fate of fatty acids varies among algal taxonomic groups or even between isolates or strains of the same species. 2008. an acyl-CoA independent pathway for TAG synthesis is mediated by a phospholipid: DGAT acyltransferase (PDAT) that use phospholipids as acyl donors and DAG as an acceptor (Arabolaza et al. excess membrane lipids.. 2004). it will be a challenge to extrapolate information learned about lipid biosynthesis and regulation in laboratory strains to production strains.. for example. We lack. it will be difficult to use information regarding lipid biosynthesis in plants to develop hypotheses for strain improvement in algae. with smaller amounts of digalactosyldiacylglycerol (DGDG. ~15%) and phosphatidyglycerol (PG. as indicated by the presence and/or absence of certain pathways and by the size of the gene families that relate to various activities (Riekhof et al.. As an example. in effect. It has been proposed that a house-keeping pathway produces a basal/minimum level of TAG under favorable growing conditions. Stahl et al. the thylakoids of chloroplasts are the main intracellular membranes of algae. 2005). and their lipid composition dominates the extracts obtained from cells under favorable growth conditions. if any. the basal lipid/TAG content may. represent an intrinsic property of individual species or strains. The algal chloroplasts have monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) as their main lipid (~50%). 2) TAG formation from starch reserves. . de novo fatty acid and lipid synthesis need to be studied in order to identify key genes/enzymes and new pathways.. critical knowledge regarding both the regulatory and structural genes involved in these pathways and the potential interactions between pathways.) and the non-oleaginous algae (such as Chlamydomonas reinhardtii) are needed to elucidate four distinct pathways of TAG synthesis: 1) de-novo Kennedy Pathway. 3) 25 .. ~15%) (Hardwood 1998).1276 1277 1278 1279 1280 1281 1282 1283 1284 1285 1286 1287 1288 1289 1290 1291 1292 1293 1294 1295 1296 1297 1298 1299 1300 1301 1302 1303 1304 1305 1306 1307 1308 1309 1310 1311 1312 1313 1314 1315 1316 1317 1318 1319 1320 information about fatty acid and TAG synthetic pathways in algae is still fragmentary. Similarly. 2000.
Fatty acids can be assembled into glycerolipids at the envelope membranes of plastids or they can be exported and assembled into lipids at the ER to provide building blocks for extraplastidic membranes. Ostreococcus tauri.jgi.gov/genomeprojects/pages/projects. including Chlamydomonas reinhardtti.jsf). proteins and other macromolecules. Some of these glycerolipids. Thalassiosira pseudonana and Phaeodactylum tricornutum (http://www. the TAG synthesis pathway may play more active and diverse roles in the stress response. In addition to the obvious physiological role of TAG serving as carbon and energy storage. will provide information about photosynthetic carbon partitioning and lipid synthesis in algae. with few exceptions. Cloning and transforming genes that influence the synthesis of lipids or improve robustness in growth performance in selected algal strains proven amenable to mass culture will enhance the overall performance and sustainable production of TAG or other lipids. a rich complement of lipid trafficking phenomena contributes to the biogenesis of chloroplasts (Benning 2008). Such work is necessary in algae to better understand the interaction among organelles related to lipid formation and lipid trafficking phenomena. excess electrons that accumulate in the photosynthetic electron transport chain may induce over-production of reactive oxygen species.doe. return to the plastid where they are remodeled into the plastid typical glycerolipids. Oxidative Stress and Storage Lipids Under environmental stress (such as nutrient starvation). which may in turn cause inhibition of photosynthesis and damage to membrane lipids.1321 1322 1323 1324 1325 1326 1327 1328 1329 1330 1331 1332 1333 1334 1335 1336 1337 1338 1339 1340 1341 1342 1343 1344 1345 1346 1347 1348 1349 1350 1351 1352 1353 1354 1355 1356 1357 1358 1359 1360 1361 1362 1363 1364 1365 1366 pathway to convert membrane phospholipid into TAG. Under stress. Cyanidioshyzon merolae. particularly in aged algal cells or under stress. the algal cell quickly stops division and accumulates TAG as the main storage compound. and 4) pathway to convert membrane glycolipids into TAG. assembled at the ER. Synthesis of TAG and deposition of TAG into cytosolic lipid bodies may be. Currently there are few algal species for which near-full genome information has become or will shortly become available. metabolic engineering through genetic manipulation represents yet another promising strategy for the production of algal oils. Chlorella NC64A. The formation of a C18 fatty acid consumes 26 . As a result of this cooperation of different subcellular membrane systems. the default pathway in algae under environmental stress conditions. A large-scale EST sequencing for oleaginous algae (such as Pseudochlorococcum sp. Dunaliella salina. The plastid internal matrix (stroma) is the primary location for fatty acid biosynthesis in plants and algae. The available approaches may include random and targeted mutagenesis and gene transformation. Based on such information. Organelle Interactions The chloroplast boundary consists of two envelope membranes controlling the exchange of metabolites between the plastid and the extraplastidic compartments of the cell. Considerable progress has been made in recent years towards a better mechanistic understanding of lipid transport across plastid envelopes in bacteria and plants. and together with cDNA microarray and/or proteomic studies. The de novo TAG synthesis pathway serves as an electron sink under photo-oxidative stress. and Haematococcus pluvialis) under different cultural conditions will give us better knowledge on genes differentially expressed under different oil production conditions.
cell division and storage lipid formation in algae requires further study. with acyl and glycerol moieties exchanging between the different lipid classes.and glyco. the pathways/mechanisms for lipid biogenesis and composition. such as EPA and DHA. bcarotene. Nevertheless. 2002). their apparently widespread distribution and their great abundance in many lipid-storing seeds. The molecules (e. phatidylethanolamine and galactolipids or toxic fatty acids excluded from the membrane system as acyl donors. Rather. The TAG synthesis pathway is usually coordinated with secondary carotenoid synthesis in algae (Rabbani et al. This relationship may be both metabolic. In order to understand lipid metabolism in algae. References 27 . thereby serving as a mechanism to detoxify membrane lipids and deposit them in the form of TAG.lipids. and the structure and function of lipid bodies and their interactions with other organelles related to storage lipid formation require further study.g. The proposal that lipid bodies in microalgae are not mere carbon stores but that they are more centrally involved in membrane lipid turnover is echoed by recent findings from higher plants—studies that also imply lipid-body TAG is metabolically active in seeds and other organs (Murphy 2001). there have been relatively few studies on lipid bodies in algae compared with plants and fungi.1367 1368 1369 1370 1371 1372 1373 1374 1375 1376 1377 1378 1379 1380 1381 1382 1383 1384 1385 1386 1387 1388 1389 1390 1391 1392 1393 1394 1395 1396 1397 1398 1399 1400 1401 1402 1403 1404 1405 1406 1407 1408 1409 1410 1411 approximately 24 NADPH derived from the electron transport chain. in the light of currently available evidence. Lipid Body Formation and Relationship to Other Organelles Despite the economic importance of microalgae as source of a wide range of lipophilic products. cytosolic TAG-rich droplets ranging from 1–8 m in size were observed. Lipid bodies may dock with different regions of the ER and plasma membranes. or with other organelles such as mitochondria and glyoxysomes/peroxisomes. with growing evidence of direct physical continuities between lipid bodies and bilayer membranes. and spatial. a close relationship is often found between neutral lipids like TAG and the membrane phospho. oleosins may be primarily associated with the stabilization of storage lipid bodies during the severe hydrodynamic stresses involved in dehydration and rehydration in many types of seeds (Murphy 2001). there are now significant doubts about the role of oleosins in the biogenesis of plant lipid bodies. The exact relationship between oxidative stress.. it is suggested. including vitamins. In those cases where lipid-body accumulation in algae has been studied. 1998. as rapid lipid body accumulation occurs. and thus relaxes the over-reduced electron transport chain under high light or other stress conditions. Zhekisheva et al. in order to load or discharge their lipid cargo.. This is understandable in view of their exclusive localization on lipid-body surfaces. TAG synthesis may also utilize phosphatidylcholine. which is twice that required for synthesis of a carbohydrate or protein molecule of the same mass. lutein or astaxanthin) produced in the carotenoid pathway are sequestered into cytosolic lipid bodies. The peripheral distribution of carotenoid-rich lipid bodies serves as a ‗sunscreen‘ to prevent or reduce excess light striking the chloroplast under stress. In oil-producing microorganisms. The study of lipid-body biogenesis in plants has focused largely on the role of oleosins. hydrocarbons and very long-chain ω-3 and ω -6 fatty acids.
Microbiol. Von Lintig J et al. Rodriguez E. Plant Physiol. Alan R. ―Valuable products from biotechnology of microalgae.. Lipid Res. . 17:477-489. 625-648 Rabbani S. (2000) Phospholipid : diacylglycerol acyltransferase: An enzyme that catalyzes the acyl-CoA-independent formation of triacylglycerol in yeast and plants.G. App. Beyer P. Raven. Oelmuller R (2001) Principles of redox control in photosynthesis gene expression. Eukaryot. MA: Blackwell Science Felle H (1989) pH as a second messenger in plants . Jarvis E et al. Physiol.1412 1413 1414 1415 1416 1417 1418 1419 1420 1421 1422 1423 1424 1425 1426 1427 1428 1429 1430 1431 1432 1433 1434 1435 1436 1437 1438 1439 1440 1441 1442 1443 1444 1445 1446 1447 1448 1449 1450 1451 1452 1453 1454 1455 1456 Arabolaza A. W. S. Lenman M et al. J. Gross. Malden. Plant. Sears BB. Proc. Function and Genetics. Hardwood JL (1998) Membrane lipids in algae. Ind. Cell 4:242-252 28 .. Browse J (1995) Lipid biosynthesis. Tsoglin. Natl. Altabe S et al. Physiologia Plantarum 107: 240-249. (2004). J. 54:621-639 Kang F. 116:1239-1248 Reinfelder et al. E. Plant Cell 7:957-970 Periappuram C. (1998) Induced beta-carotene synthesis driven by triacylglycerol deposition in the unicellular alga Dunaliella bardawil. 53-64 (Kluwer. J. New York:. (2008) Multiple pathways for triacylglycerol biosynthesis in Streptomyces coelicolor. 122:1193-1199 Pfannschmidt T. F. de la Jara et al. P. (2000) The plastidic phosphoglucomutase from Arabidopsis. 6:795-805 Klyachko-Gurvich. Appl. Rawsthorne S (1994) Starch and Fatty-Acid Synthesis in Plastids from Developing Embryos of Oilseed Rape (Brassica-Napus L). Biodiversity and application of microalgae.F. plants and microorganisms. Riekhof WR. Aquatic photosynthesis.. (1997). 1999. Inc. Plant J. 74:2573-2582 Benning C (2008) A role for lipid trafficking in chloroplast biogenesis. 97:6487-6492 Falkowski.. Benning C (2005) Annotation of genes involved in glycerolipid biosynthesis in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii: Discovery of the betaine lipid synthase BTA1Cr. J. (65). Plant Physiol. 15: 433-438 (2003) Dahlqvist A.J. Sonnewald U. and V.. In Siegenthaler PA and Murata N (eds): Lipids in Photosynthesis: Structure. N.A. A. 2000 Nature 407:996-999. Liss. I. Lipid Res. Shebalina. Microbiol. 145–166. 10:227-235 Metting. Environ. Prog. Fernie AR (2007) The complex network of non-cellulosic carbohydrate metabolism. pp. L. Prog. U. O. J. L. Barton DL et al.. Plant J. (2008) Microalgal triacylglycerols as feedstocks for biofuel production: perspectives and advances. pp. Allen JF. B. the Netherlands). Stahl U. W. 47:381-389 Chisti 2007 Biotechnology Advances 25:294-306 (2007). Doucha. B.. Desaturation of fatty acids as an adaptive response to shirts in light intensity... D. Sommerfeld M. Hu Q. Physiol. Lytovchenko A. Sci. Murphy DJ (2001) The biogenesis and functions of lipid bodies in animals. 40:325-438 Ohlrogge J. Kopetskii. Steinhauer L. G. Acad. Semenko.‖ Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 1996. 112:1-9 Pulz. A reversible enzyme reaction with an important role in metabolic control. pp. & Morre. In: Second Messengers in Plant Growth and Development ( Boss. eds) .
. (2004) Glucose-induced expression of carotenoid biosynthesis genes in the dark is mediated by cytosolic pH in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. Phycol. which are generally H 2-uptake enzymes) in their active sites. and there is evidence for a third.. Mohlmann T. 26:310-317 The Ecology of Algae by Round. Khozin-Goldberg I et al. J. Curr. Boussiba S.E (1981) London: Cambridge University Press Ruuska SA. light-independent. 279:25320-25325 Schwender J.. including algae and cyanobacteria. (2002) Contrapuntal networks of gene expression during Arabidopsis seed filling. 135:1324-1335 Vigeolas H. Close Out Report TP-580-24190.. Carlsson AS. Song JY. F.. Thevelein JM (2001) Glucose-sensing mechanisms in eukaryotic cells. (2002) Accumulation of oleic acid in Haematococcus pluvialis (Chlorophyceae) under nitrogen starvation or high light is correlated with that of astaxanthin esters. A Look Back at the US Department of Energy‘s Aquatic Species Program – Biodiesel from Algae. Ohlrogge J. Plant Physiol. Benemann J et al. Biotechnol. 2007). All pathways have the reduction of ferredoxin (FD. Lee JM et al. Opin. 136:2676-2686 Zhekisheva M. Two distinct light-driven H2-photoproduction pathways have been described in green algae. de Sturler E. Biol. Plant Physiol. Long SP.Sci. (1998) US Department of Energy‘s Office of Fuels Development. Chem. J. Dunahay T.→ O2 + 2H2. 38:325-331 Zhu XG. Hydrogenases are enzymes that can reduce protons and release molecular H 2. More information about these O 2-sensitive enzymes are available (Ghirardi et al. July 1998. Figure 2) in common as the primary electron-donor to a hydrogenase. 7:309-317 Sheehan J. Opin. fermentative H2 pathway coupled to starch degradation. Martini N et al. Ort DR (2008) What is the maximum efficiency with which photosynthesis can convert solar energy into biomass? Curr. Lenman M et al... can produce H2 from the world‘s most plentiful resources in the following reactions: 2H2O + light energy → O2 + 4H+ + 4e.1457 1458 1459 1460 1461 1462 1463 1464 1465 1466 1467 1468 1469 1470 1471 1472 1473 1474 1475 1476 1477 1478 1479 1480 1481 1482 1483 1484 1485 1486 1487 1488 1489 1490 1491 1492 1493 1494 1495 1496 1497 1498 1499 1500 1501 Roessler PG (1988) Effects of Silicon Deficiency on Lipid-Composition and Metabolism in the Diatom Cyclotella-Cryptica. 24:394-400 Rolland F. Plant Physiol. The light-driven pathways can either use water as the 29 . 145:513-526 Zhu XG. Golden. J. CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The major types of enzymes contain either iron ([FeFe] hydrogenases. Benning C et al. Long SP (2007) Optimizing the distribution of resources between enzymes of carbon metabolism can dramatically increase photosynthetic rate: A numerical simulation using an evolutionary algorithm. Phycol. (2004) Embryo-specific reduction of ADPGlc pyrophosphorylase leads to an inhibition of starch synthesis and a delay in oil accumulation in developing seeds of oilseed rape. Stahl U. Plant Cell 14:1191-1206 Ryu JY. which generally are H2evolving) or both nickel and iron ([NiFe] hydrogenases. 19:153-159 Biohydrogen: Direct Biophotolysis and Oxygen Sensitivity of the HydrogenEvolving Enzymes Certain photosynthetic microbes. Girke T. Trends Biochem. PCC 6803. Winderickx J. Shachar-Hill Y (2004) Understanding flux in plant metabolic networks. (2004) Cloning and functional characterization of a Phospholipid: Diacylglycerol acyltransferase from Arabidopsis. Plant Biol.
Carbon is fixed under normal photosynthesis with water as the donor.. (b) identifying metabolic pathways that compete with hydrogenases for photosynthetic reductant by genomics approaches.. 2003). 2005). the dark. 30 . and (d) inefficiencies in the utilization of solar light energy at sunlight intensities. Many laboratories around the world are addressing these challenges by (a) engineering hydrogenases to improve the enzyme‘s tolerance to the presence of O2 (Cohen et al. ATP is required for carbon fixation but for not H2 production). and (d) engineering the photosynthetic antenna pigment content to maximize the amount of solar light that can be used effectively in a photobioreactor (Polle et al. similar to those found in many anaerobic systems. If all of the research challenges can be over come. Colorado School of Mines for the drawing). and engineering their down-regulation during H2 production. (Drawing courtesy of Prof. but the electron acceptor is switched at the level of ferredoxin (FD) from CO 2 to protons under conditions that lead to H2 production. M. (c) engineering the photosynthetic membrane to significantly decrease the efficiency of photosynthetic-electron-transportcoupled ATP production (not depicted in Figure 2.1502 1503 1504 1505 1506 substrate (employing both photosystems II and I) or NADH from the glycolytic breakdown of stored carbohydrate (employing only photosystem I) to product H 2. Rather than utilizing light-driven reduction of FD. Four biological challenges limiting biohydrogen production in algae have been identified as (Seibert et al. (b) competition for photosynthetic reductant at the level of ferredoxin. fermentative pathway may involve a pyruvate-ferredoxin-oxidoreductase (PFOR) enzyme.. (c) regulatory issues associated with the over production of ATP. 1507 1508 1509 1510 1511 1512 1513 1514 1515 1516 1517 1518 1519 1520 1521 1522 1523 1524 1525 1526 1527 1528 Figure 2: Three different pathways for H2 production Two are driven by light and the third occurs in the dark. Either water or starch can be the electron donor. 2007) (a) the O2 sensitivity of hydrogenases. Posewitz.
include the application of biological knowledge of photosynthesis and hydrogenase structure/function to developing biohybrid systems (those employing biological and synthetic components) and. several challenges must be addressed: (a) improve photosynthetic efficiency to increase the yield of carbohydrate accumulation. accounting for their ability to adapt quickly to changing environmental conditions. Other future areas of investigation that researchers are staring to examine. ultimately. This temporal separation of H2 production from photosynthesis has been demonstrated in the unicellular cyanobacteria Cyanothece sp. To circumvent the inhibition of hydrogenase by O2. (van der Oost et al. Similarly under non-N2 fixing condition.1529 1530 1531 1532 1533 1534 1535 1536 1537 1538 1539 1540 1541 1542 1543 1544 1545 1546 1547 1548 1549 1550 1551 1552 1553 1554 1555 1556 1557 1558 1559 1560 1561 1562 1563 1564 1565 1566 1567 1568 1569 1570 1571 1572 1573 1574 H2-cost projections developed by the US Department of Energy suggest that biohydrogen could compete with gasoline at about $2. 1997). All cyanobacteria examined thus far employ the Embden-Meyerhof-Parnas (EMP) pathway for degradation of glucose to pyruvate. While many of the same challenges identified in eukaryotic algae are also inherent in cyanobacteria. using the carbon reserves produced during the day. 2009). [NiFe] hydrogenases that are found in some of these organisms rather than nitrogenases. and (c) express multiple (both 31 . which reduces ferredoxin for subsequent H2 production via either nitrogenases or hydrogenases (Stal and Moezelaar. found in algae. From here several cyanobacteria were found to couple reductant to pyruvate-ferredoxin oxidoreductase.. 2008) and Oscillatoria (Stal and Krumbein. (b) remove or down-regulate competing fermentative pathway thus directing more of the cellular flux toward H2 production.. In cyanobacteria. the advantages of working with these prokaryotic organisms are that they are more easily engineered than algae and have more O2-tolerant hydrogenases (Ghirardi et al. 2008). This is due to the production of organic waste by-products described above along with ethanol. fermentation is constitutive. In order to fully realize the potential of H2 production via indirect biophotolysis. totally artificial photosynthetic systems that mimic the fuel-producing processes of photosynthetic organisms. Using hydrogenase as the catalyst. and CO2. researchers have begun to re-examining the prospects for using cyanobacteria to produce H2.. Fermentative Hydrogen Production (Indirect Biophotolysis) Both algae and cyanobacteria carry out oxygenic photosynthesis. On the other hand. another option for H2 production is to take advantage of the fermentation pathways that exist in both microbes for H2 production at night.. These studies are making use of bidirectional. 1989) It is well established that dark fermentation suffers from low H 2 molar yield (less than 4 moles of H2 per mol hexose) (Turner et al. ATCC 51142 (Toepel et al. . the [FeFe] hydrogenases. the hydrogenase from Cyanothece PCC 7822 produces H2 in the dark and also excretes typical fermentation by-products including acetate. 1987) using nitrogenase as the catalyst. 1998). The former stores starch and the latter stores glycogen as the main carbon sink.50 a kg (a gallon of gasoline contains the energy equivalent of about a kg of H2) Recently. are better catalysts than the [NiFe] hydrogenases found in cyanobacteria (citation). formate. the unicellular non-N2-fixing cyanobacterium Gloeocapsa alpicola evolves H2 in the resulting from the fermentation of stored glycogen (Serebryakova et al.
M. E. Rev. Melis. pp. and M. P.T. Ghirardi.. S. Moezelaar. ―Differential transcriptional analysis of the cyanobacterium Cyanothece sp. Seibert and P. Hankamer. Journal Biological Chemistry 280:34170-34177. J. 2008. L. Dubini. J. Chemical Society Reviews 38: 52-61.. Welsh. References Cohen. Bader. ―Finding Gas Diffusion Pathways in Proteins: Application to O2 and H2 Transport in CpI [FeFe]-Hydrogenase and the Role of Packing Defects‖.B. 166:89-94. M. J.L.M. T. Bacteriol. Polle. Thomas-Hall. King. ―Prolongation of H2 Photoproduction by Immobilized.A. M. 2008. 273-291. Seibert and A. S. Krumbein. M.. Kim. S.. Posewitz. 2009. ―Temporal separation of nitrogen fixation and photosynthesis in the filamentous non-heterocystous cyanobacterium Oscillatoria sp. and A. ―tla1. Yu and P.C. Tsygankov.V. Ghirardi "Photosynthetic WaterSplitting for Hydrogen Production. Seibert. O. A. ―Photobiological Hydrogen-Producing Systems‖. Pakrasi.L. ―Hydrogenases and Hydrogen Photoproduction in Oxygenic Photosynthetic Organisms‖. Serebryakova.A. Kanakagiri and A.. ―Improved Photobiological H2 Production in Engineered Green Algal Cells‖. C. Plant Physiology 122:127-135. Tsygankov. L. G. L.P.1575 1576 1577 1578 1579 1580 1581 1582 1583 1584 1585 1586 1587 1588 1589 1590 1591 1592 1593 1594 1595 1596 1597 1598 1599 1600 1601 1602 1603 1604 1605 1606 1607 1608 1609 1610 1611 1612 1613 1614 1615 1616 1617 1618 1619 [FeFe] and [NiFe])hydrogenases in green algae and cyanobacteria so that electrons from both ferredoxin (Fd) and NAD(P)H can serve as electron donor to support H2 production. Washington DC. P.L.E.C. 2003. Seibert. ―Fermentation in cyanobacteria‖. Ginazzi and B. Rupprecht. 2005.. Kosourov. M. Laurinavichene. Harwood. 149:76-80. Schulten. Structure 13:1321-1329. and A. and W.L. J." in Bioenergy (J. Zhang. Schenk. Sulfur-Limited Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Cultures‖. ―Reversible hydrogenase activity of Gloeocapsa alpicola in continuous culture‖. Ghirardi. Summerfield. Annual Review Plant Biology 58:71-91. S. Maness. K. Lett.N. Forestier.L. Stal.C. J.‖. Seibert.J. A. 2008. Stal. M. Kosourov. ―Sustained Photobiological Hydrogen Gas Production upon Reversible Inactivation of Oxygen Evolution in the Green Alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii‖. Dubini. L. P. M.. a DNA Insertional Transformant of the Green Alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii with a Truncated Light-Harvesting Chlorophyll Antenna Size‖. 2000.S. 2007. Arch Microbiol. Maness. FEMS Microbiol. 190:3904-3913. and L.W. 1998.E. 1987. M. strain ATCC 51142 during light-dark and continuous-light growth‖. Sherman. Ghirardi. King.. A. K. 2009.L. Demain. FEMS Microbiol. M. Seibert. and R.A. A. Ghirardi and M. Eds. Wall. M.. Kruse.C.N..J. Ghirardi.. Journal Biotechnology 134:275-277. Posewitz. J. Planta 217:49-59. Posewitz. Melis.. Yu and M. H. M. Biotechnology and Bioengineering 102:50-58. M. T. 32 .. ―Hydrogen Photoproduction by Nutrient-Deprived Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Cells Immobilized within Thin Alginate Films under Aerobic and Anaerobic Conditions‖. K. Sheremetieva. Toepel. J. Melis. 21:179-211.) ASM Press. 1997. and M. M.
gaining this information should require a much shorter time frame than that for agricultural development because high-throughput analysis tools including genomics. CHO. and the other would involve species or strains with characteristics useful for large-scale growth. food supplements. P.1620 1621 1622 1623 1624 1625 1626 1627 1628 1629 1630 1631 1632 1633 1634 1635 1636 1637 1638 1639 1640 1641 1642 1643 1644 1645 1646 1647 1648 1649 1650 1651 1652 1653 1654 1655 1656 1657 1658 1659 1660 1661 1662 1663 Turner. isoprenoids. alcohols (either directly or through biomass conversion). or methane (via anaerobic digestion). co. ―Renewable hydrogen production‖.. 2008. enabling detailed analyses of multiple aspects of cellular metabolism simultaneously. Mann. Proposing to develop large scale algal culturing technology for biofuels production without this understanding is analogous to establishing agriculture without knowing how plants grow. J. One consideration in choosing model systems is the type of fuel or co-product to be produced. With decisions made about fuel product and additional co-products. there is a lack of understanding of the fundamental processes involved in the synthesis and regulation of lipid and other potential fuel products in microalgae. Ghirardi. etc. Energy Res. Adapting the lessons learned on laboratory model species to species already known to be capable of growing in large scale might be easier. we cannot be certain that laboratory strains and productions strains will be sufficiently related to allow for lessons in the former to be applied to the latter. lipids. one can assume that the DOE will only be willing to support such an effort if the path to production of significant quantities of algal biofuel is clearly delineated. Coproducts could include pharmaceuticals (therapeutic proteins. Genomics and Systems Biology Currently. but as noted above. ethanol. Discussions at the Workshop revealed that some commercialization strategies focused on the non-fuel co-product as the path to profitability. M. or materials for nanotechnology in the case of the silica cell wall of diatoms (See Section 7).). J. Sverdrup.C. Fuel/intermediate to be produced (H2. Intl. While this strategy may be successful. since the basic tools are in place.Blake. Archives of Microbiology 152:415-419 (1989). G. a reasonable first approach to identify model species optimal for production of a desired fuel by surveying the literature or environment for species that naturally make abundant amounts of it. and D. Species with sequenced genomes and transgenic capabilities are the most amenable to investigating cellular processes.K. carbohydrates. transcriptomics.J. cellular metabolism is already 33 . lipids. metabolomics. Evans. Development of Algal Model Systems Criteria for Choosing Algal Model Systems There are two general types of model system to consider: one would involve species or strains amenable to providing information on the basic cellular processes and regulation involved in synthesis of fuel precursors. B. R.products. proteomics. Kroposki. Maness. secondary metabolites). and lipidomics can be applied. M. In the case of algal biofuels. van der Oost et al. In such a strain. Possible fuel types could include H2. 32:379-407. however it was shown in the Aquatic Species Program (ASP) that not all strains that grow well in the laboratory are suitable for large-scale culturing.
Unicellular microalgae are the product of over 3 billion years of evolution. Survey the phylogenetic tree to expand number of potential candidates. An example of this is the Algenol process making use of engineered cyanobacteria to convert photosynthetically derived sugars to ethanol. 2004). and thus are not free to form an organic hydrocarbon phase in solution. In some species. Capability of heterotrophic or mixotrophic growth. A potentially serious disadvantage of addition of external carbon sources is the possibility of increased contamination by undesired microbes living off the carbon source. but this can be determined. which simplifies characterization and possible development for production.g. Pilot-scale experimentation and further metabolic engineering is required to evaluate possible advantages and disadvantages of secretion. Other traits like the ability to grow to high cell density in continuous culture may allow a strain to be maintained while at the same time reducing the amount of water to be processed daily (See Section 9). although there are algae known to secrete lipids (e. Certainly rapid growth is important both for overall productivity but also for the ability to compete with contaminating strains. Finally the ability to flocculate without addition of chemical flocculating agents could reduce the costs of harvest as long as it could be controlled to avoid settling in the cultivation system. which will necessitate the use of closed photobioreactors (PBRs). Also to be considered is whether secretion actually makes the product more readily available. Heterotrophic or mixotrophic growth capabilities may be attractive attributes of algal strains. Characteristics pertaining to process demands. Miao et al.. Multiple endosymbiotic events have occurred during the 34 . For example. Finally. 2006). However. secretion of either intermediates or products into the growth medium could make these compounds available to contaminating microbes for catabolism. and are highly diverse (Falkowski.. Garcia Camacho et al. even under mixotrophic conditions where the substrate is not known to be transported into the cell (Ceron Garcia. an abundance of exported lipids could unfavorably alter fluidics properties or provide a carbon source favoring growth of contaminants. 2006).. then collection of the atmosphere above the culture may be required to isolate it. Katz et al. there may be practical problems. If the desired product is volatile. but very little is known about the characteristics of culture robustness. The ability of an algal species to secrete fuel precursors may be attractive because it could reduce or avoid the cell harvesting step. Secretion of products/intermediates.1664 1665 1666 1667 1668 1669 1670 1671 1672 1673 1674 1675 1676 1677 1678 1679 1680 1681 1682 1683 1684 1685 1686 1687 1688 1689 1690 1691 1692 1693 1694 1695 1696 1697 1698 1699 1700 1701 1702 1703 1704 1705 1706 1707 1708 1709 geared towards production.. a potential advantage is growth in both light and dark periods. Botryococcus braunii). (Bannerjee et al. For example. 2002) Even if sustainable secretion could be achieved it is not clear what the effect of a lipid emulsion in an algal culture would be. Resistance to predators and to viruses could also be a useful phenotype. It is not clear what the relative amount of fuel precursor production under photosynthetic and heterotrophic conditions will be. they still are associated with the cells in a lipid biofilm matrix. Culture stability over long periods will be a key to low cost production of biofuel. addition of supplemental carbon results in increased lipid accumulation (Xu. If the carbon source can be utilized by the cell.
. A significant advantage of cyanobacteria over green algae is that they are much easier to manipulate genetically. and metabolome. Given the phylogenetic diversity of microalgae.. they can be genetically manipulated. Having a sequenced genomic is critical. In addition to the requirement for making fuel precursors. is at least partly regulated by nuclear-encoded gene products. For example. However. so it will be important to provide sufficient resources to allow for detailed analysis of the data. fatty acid synthesis. However. and transgenic capabilities. and high-throughput analytical techniques have been applied to the study of its transcriptome. It must be noted though. A recent transgenic approach has enabled cyanobacterial cellulose and sucrose secretion (Nobles and Brown 2008). a comprehensive understanding of carbon metabolism and regulation is not yet available. which occurs in the chloroplast. and these are likely to have significant effects on metabolic pathways and regulation of fuel precursor synthesis. a large number of model systems could be studied. and previous work enabled ethanol production (Deng and Coleman 1999). therefore allowing systematic genetic analysis and engineering of metabolic pathways. making them attractive organisms for biofuels production. The important carbon storage compounds (sinks) in this cyanobacterium include 35 . grow readily. higher solar conversion efficiencies. Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) have many advantages over land plants. 2006). The model cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. Continued exploration of the evolutionary diversity of algae is important to identify species that are adept at making fuel precursors and those with high productivity under various environmental conditions. Moreover. Many photosynthesis and carbon metabolism mutants have been generated. considering that new sequencing technologies can generate a eukaryotic genome‘s worth of data in a week. The genome of this strain was sequenced over a decade ago. that the genomic data are only as useful as the annotation.1710 1711 1712 1713 1714 1715 1716 1717 1718 1719 1720 1721 1722 1723 1724 1725 1726 1727 1728 1729 1730 1731 1732 1733 1734 1735 1736 1737 1738 1739 1740 1741 1742 1743 1744 1745 1746 1747 1748 1749 1750 1751 1752 1753 1754 1755 evolution of microalgae. PCC 6803 has the potential to become a platform organism for the study of carbon metabolism toward production of hydrocarbon fuels and intermediates. as the first among photosynthetic organisms. Buchel et al. In order to redirect carbon to a fuel production pathway. proteome. the number to be studied in depth should be limited because a critical mass of researchers is required on a given species to make progress. it will be necessary to remove the normal carbon sinks. other factors related to what model species to study include ease of application of molecular and biochemical techniques. and to understand the consequences at cellular and molecular levels. e. hindering the development of genetic engineering strategy for biofuel production. in a practical sense. and the ability to biosynthesize fuels and relevant biocatalysts. Choice of the number of algal model systems to study.g. Cyanobacteria Cyanobacteria generally do not accumulate storage lipids but they can be prolific carbohydrate and secondary metabolite producers. and both fix atmospheric nitrogen and produce hydrogen. and there are fundamental differences in the interaction between the nucleus and chloroplast in algae with different extents of endosymbiosis (Wilhelm. much smaller land footprint. shorter growth cycle. but lack of genome sequence at the outset should not be considered a barrier.
The genome sequence of 36 . The latter is a filamentous strain that can form heterocysts. Synechococcus 7002 was also studied for ethanol production. They have a reasonable number of researchers working on them. sucrose. have sequenced genomes. Nitrogenase produces hydrogen as a by-product. For example. and in addition to a sequenced genome and well developed transgenic capabilities. Heterocysts are essentially anaerobic thus provide an environment for the nitrogenase and/or an oxygensensitive hydrogenase to operate. and several species of Chlorella have been transformed (Leon and Fernandez 2007). can be sexually crossed.. Miao et al. Glucosylglycerol accumulates under salt stress. 2006). It is not an abundant lipid producer. reinhardtii is the fact that foreign genes introduced into the nucleus are silenced (Cerutti. and have transgenic capabilities.org/ChlNC64A_1/ChlNC64A_1. A systems biology approach on various carbon sink mutants will greatly advance our understanding of carbon metabolism and developing ―designer organism‖ for biofuel production. addition of an external carbon source induces heterotrophic growth. Green algae. Chloroplast transformants are stable. In C. Glycogen accumulates under normal growth conditions. protothecoides. cells with specialized structure and metabolism for nitrogen fixation. It produces abundant lipids (Weldy and Huesemann). lack of stable nuclear expression is a barrier to analysis. A possible serious drawback of C. it can be grown under extreme conditions that should reduce the growth of possible contaminating organisms.jgipsf. but since most genes are located in the nucleus. especially under salt stress. 1997) – hence no stable nuclear transgenic capability is yet possible. Chlorella is another well-studied class of green algae.1756 1757 1758 1759 1760 1761 1762 1763 1764 1765 1766 1767 1768 1769 1770 1771 1772 1773 1774 1775 1776 1777 1778 1779 1780 1781 1782 1783 1784 1785 1786 1787 1788 1789 1790 1791 1792 1793 1794 1795 1796 1797 1798 1799 1800 glycogen. Johnson et al.html). and some species are abundant lipid producers.home. and because it has outstanding salt tolerance (from 0. Synechococcus 7002 and Anabaena 7120 are studied for their hydrogen production potential. glucosylglycerol. Eukaryotic Algae Some eukaryotic algae are already fairly well-established model systems for biofuels production. which increases both growth rate and lipid production. and polyhydroxybutyrate.1 M to near saturation).. The knowledge gained from cyanobacterial genetic analysis will also guide the development of biofuel production from green algae. resulting in greater than 50% dry weight lipid (Xu. and chloroplast protein expression systems are well developed. Dunaliella salina has several useful characteristics for large-scale biofuels production. Several other cyanobacterial strains also have excellent genetic systems and are studied for the production of renewable fuels. but can still serve as a model system for understanding the fundamentals of lipid synthesis and regulation. The genome sequence of Chlorella NC64A was recently completed (http://genome. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is the most well-studied eukaryotic algae. Sucrose accumulates when glycogen and GG sinks are not available. PHB accumulates under N depleting conditions.
. and one reason for the variation is likely to be the accumulation of repeated sequences in the larger genomes (Hawkins.nrel. Oliver et al.C. 2006). the gene manipulation toolkit for diatoms will be fairly complete. in which costs have been substantially reduced while more coverage is obtained in a shorter period of time. even in closely related species (Connolly.. Kim et al. Zaslavskaia L. 2008).. and their requirement for silicon as a nutrient for growth. Silicon limitation is one trigger for lipid accumulation in diatoms. obtaining a genome sequence should be considered a necessity for any species to be developed for biofuels research or production.. 37 .pdf). however. and transgenic strains have been reported (Li. Especially with the development of more powerful pyrosequencing methods. therefore the silicon starvation induction response is simplified relative to other nutrient limitations. Apt K. et al. size 130 Mbp). and Kröger N.E. 1996.. Xue et al.. 2005). assembly of such data (especially with short read lengths) can be more challenging in repeat-laden genomes.G.gov/docs/legosti/fy98/24190. therefore... Transgenic techniques are well established for several diatom species (Dunahay T. Two diatom genome sequences are complete (Thalassiosira pseudonana and Phaeodactylum tricornutum). 2000). Genome size and repeat structure. 1995. Diatoms. Diatoms are highly successful and adaptable in an ecological sense and are responsible for 20% of the total global carbon fixation. A distinguishing feature of diatoms is their silica cell walls. because silicon metabolism is not tightly coupled with the metabolism of other nutrients or involved in cellular macromolecule synthesis. there will always be advantages to sequencing smaller genomes. et al. salina is currently being determined (est.G. and four more are underway (http://www. Even though new sequencing technologies readily enable accumulation of data for large genomes. et al.A. This is advantageous for studying the lipid induction response. Genome size in microalgae can vary substantially. Jarvis E.jgi.. Lippmeier J. Kroth-Pancic P. Criteria for Selection/Prioritization of Organisms for Genome Sequencing & Annotation Many of the same criteria cited above for the selection of model organisms pertain to strains chosen for genome sequencing.E. 1999. Sequencing and Annotation of Algal Genomes The Value of Genome Sequences Sequenced genomes are an essential information source for the interpretation of transcriptomic and proteomic data. and regulatable gene expression control elements have been identified (Poulsen N.gov/). With the development of robust gene silencing approaches and possibly homologous recombination. Robl et al. since fewer copies of a given gene may be present. Manipulation of smaller genomes should be simplified as well. Diatoms were a major focus in the Aquatic Species Program.doe. Fischer. because as a class they tend to accumulate high amounts of lipid suitable for biofuels production (http://www.1801 1802 1803 1804 1805 1806 1807 1808 1809 1810 1811 1812 1813 1814 1815 1816 1817 1818 1819 1820 1821 1822 1823 1824 1825 1826 1827 1828 1829 1830 1831 1832 1833 1834 1835 1836 1837 1838 1839 1840 1841 1842 1843 1844 1845 D. None of the sequencing projects has focused on biofuels.. 2007). additional criteria specific to sequencing projects. There are.
Scenedesmus sp. and a special focus on classes or individual species within classes that make abundant fuel precursors is essential. Alternative approaches could be considered.. A genomic survey of representatives from all major algal classes is desirable. Coordination with the Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Microbial Sequencing Program at the Joint Genome Institute The advent of reasonable-cost high throughput sequencers and low cost commercially available sequencing services brings into question the need for coordination with established sequencing facilities such as JGI. 2006).1846 1847 1848 1849 1850 1851 1852 1853 1854 1855 1856 1857 1858 1859 1860 1861 1862 1863 1864 1865 1866 1867 1868 1869 1870 1871 1872 1873 1874 1875 1876 1877 1878 1879 1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890 Need to study diverse species (i.. Katz et al. for example... Phytoplankton are distributed among at least eight major divisions or phyla. Dunaliella sp. Comparing closely related species that may make slightly different fuel precursors. access to sequencing is limited by one‘s queue position in the pipeline. Peudochlorococcum sp.. since even though the overall gene content may be highly conserved. A stand-alone facility for sequencing and bioinformatics would facilitate high quality data production and analysis. Identification of Species for Sequencing Efforts 38 .. support of a stand-alone facility dedicated only to sequencing of algal biofuels candidate species. because of high demand from diverse projects. Species to be considered for algal genomics include Chlorella sp. primary and secondary endosymbionts). Buchel et al. could be advantageous. which could impact the regulation and processes of fuel precursor production. This could include the requirement of using a particular sequencing approach that provides sufficient coverage of ESTs to ensure accurate gene modeling. especially at the basic level of gene annotation. 2004). It is likely that the different symbioses have affected communication between the plastid and nucleus (Wilhelm. or accumulate them to different levels. Quality standards and appropriate training should be established to ensure consistent and useful annotation. and represent a complex series of primary and secondary endosymbioses (Falkowski. However. Chlorococcum sp. Although JGI provides a tremendous service. Nannochloropsis sp. Bioinformatics: Development of Streamlined Methods Bioinformatics analysis of sequenced genomes. and a variety of diatom species. can represent the largest stumbling block to achieving that goal..e. genetic drift could complicate identification of certain types of genes that have low conservation. is essential to make sequence data usable.. Comparison of organisms that specialize in production of different types of fuel precursors could enable identification of the genes involved by their presence or absence in the different species.. and if not properly done. Comparative Analysis between Diverse and Closely Related Species A benefit of comparing diverse species is that genes involved in the core production of a given type of biofuel precursor should be conserved between species and thus be more easily identifiable. subtle differences in gene sequence could enable identification of the cause for the different phenotypes.
which involves identification and analysis of metabolites. different metabolomic analysis tools. maintenance. excess data will result in incomplete interpretation and inefficient progress. 2007) and should be considered in investigations of gene expression regulation.. Bailey et al. To ensure the highest reproducibility in comparison between species. however small RNAs play major regulatory roles in eukaryotes (Bartel 2004. and quantification of their relative abundances. Tanner.1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 Although sequencing of large numbers of candidate biofuels algal species is possible. High throughput approaches enable in depth analyses to be performed in a whole cell context. with an initial focus on a small number of currently studied species.. have to be applied. Proteomics The cellular complement of protein reflects its metabolic potential. and not only enables protein identification. and NMR (Dunn. Establishment of an Integrated Systems Biology and Bioinformatics Framework to Develop a Fundamental Understanding of Carbon Partitioning in Algae Identification of important traits: Funnel-through systems analysis Based on the criteria described above for strain selection. There is a distinction between metabolomics. and involving researchers from different laboratories in the process. Shen et al. Castellana. the highest potential can be realized by performing the various analyses on extracts from the same culture. Payne et al. Cerutti and Casas-Mollano 2005).. Due to experimental variability. Metabolomics The metabolome is the collection of small molecular weight compounds in a cell that are involved in growth. Transcriptomics New. protein databases on algal biofuel species should be established. It is recommended that a master plan for genome analysis of species be developed. Most transcriptomic approaches evaluate mRNA levels. a standardized set of analysis approaches should be decided upon and implemented. but quantification and determination of whether post-translational modifications are present (Domon and Aebersold 2006. especially with regard to translational regulation. and metabonomics which is the quantitative measurement of the dynamic multiparametric metabolic response of living systems to pathophysiological 39 . the effort can branch out with a survey of major algal classes. and have been identified in microalgae (Zhao. 2008).. After annotation. GC/MS. 2007. species will be analyzed using high throughput analysis approaches to determine the underlying cellular processes and regulation involved in producing the attributes of the strain. high-throughput sequencing technologies enable comprehensive coverage of transcripts. Mass-spectrometrybased proteomic analysis enables robust evaluation of soluble and membrane-associated proteins. 2005). Because the chemical nature of metabolites varies more than for mRNA and proteins. including LC/MS. Li et al. The information gained with each strain will provide the framework needed to facilitate the analysis of all subsequent strains. and then species with specific desirable characteristics within the classes (the latter two can overlap). With these baseline data in place. and function.
and the approaches are well defined conceptually. Quantitative comparison of lipid type and abundance are critical components of lipid-based biofuels approaches. graduate students).. tools should be developed that have application across multiple species. Because it is clear that biological productivity is a key driver for economic viability (see Section 11). to reduce the development time for a particular species. Infrastructure and Investment To maximize efficiency and reproducibility in analysis. plant breeding. As much as possible. Develop a critical mass of expertise Genetic manipulation approaches have been developed for microalgae. However. and can be a risky endeavor for personnel at particular stages in career development (e. One solution would be to establish a center devoted to developing genetic manipulation tools for all candidate algal biofuel species. the development of these tools will be slow. therefore comparison of metabolite concentration in conjunction with protein level is required to determine the overall effect of protein induction on cellular metabolism. Lindon et al. Integrated data analysis To extract the most information from the ―omic‖ approaches. Such a facility could serve as a central resource for algal biofuels researchers and be used for training programs to develop the next generation of trained experts. takes a long time. Enzymes have different rates of function that can be affected by feedback or posttranslational modification. genetics.g. This would enable the coordinated development of tools for multiple species. 2007).. where standardized equipment and procedures are used. and determination of whether regulatory mechanisms are in place to control translation of mRNA into protein. 40 . Dettmer. the development of microalgal transformation systems requires a critical mass of researchers. the latter may be more important. Unless sufficient qualified researchers are interested in developing genetic manipulation tools for a particular species. 1999). Aronov et al. Development & Adaptation of Genetic Tools and Deployment of Synthetic Biology Systems for Metabolic Engineering of Model Algal Organisms Introduction Development of algal biofuel technology will draw on past efforts in agronomy. Lipidomics Lipid analysis is done using mass spectrometry based approaches (Han and Gross 2005. it is recommended that a core ―omics‖ facility dedicated to algal biofuels be established. molecular biology. in a practical sense. an integrated analysis of data from each applied technique is desirable.1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 stimuli or genetic modification (Nicholson. and industrial biotechnology. requires a comparison of relative changes in transcript and protein. For example. In terms of algal biofuels research. the ability to improve on native strains is a critical element in this research effort. mRNA translatability is a significant regulatory step in gene expression.
. or to completely replace the native gene in order to generate the phenotypic effect... 1994). One caveat is that the mutated gene may need to be expressed at a higher level than the native gene (Nelson. For example. Considerations of which antibiotic to use include whether the antibiotic is sensitive to light.E. 1994). The fundamental basis of genetic manipulation is the ability to introduce DNA into the cell.. et al.. 1993. One overarching requirement for genetic manipulation is the ability of a strain to grow on agar plates.. This typically involves using control elements from a highly expressed gene in that species. et al. A direct comparison of the two has shown that the nourseothricin system generates larger numbers of transformants (Poulsen.. Purton et al.. 41 .G. and development of universal transformation vectors. but in other unicellular eukaryotes. Schnell et al. Manavathu et al. Dunahay T. 1995). Saveriede et al. Saveriede et al. and select for cells in which the DNA is present... Jarvis E. Abarca et al. which automatically selects for that ability. Hallmann and Rappel 1999). Sophisticated metabolic engineering could require introduction of multiple selectable markers. Chesley et al. 2006).1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 Genetic Toolbox The ability of cells to grow on agar plates. et al. et al. 1995)... Typically. 1985. Jarvis E. however. 1985.. Several markers have been developed for microalgae. 1989. Jarvis E. Identification of selectable markers. Nelson. Chesley et al.G.. 1996. Debuchy. most environmental strain isolation procedures involve plating. markers based on resistance generated by conserved ribosomal protein mutations have also been successful (Del Pozo. One goal of the development of transformation vectors for algal biofuels applications should be generate those that function in multiple species.. 1995). and nourseothricin (Poulsen. Fortunately. however some modification of the procedure may be necessary. Dunahay T.E. 1989). there are examples of control elements that work across evolutionarily diverse species (Dunahay T. Kroth-Pancic P. whereas nourseothricin is inactivated enzymatically.G. and whether its potency is modulated by the salinity of the growth medium. zeocin (Apt K. This is highly desirable since isolation of control elements is time consuming. this is accomplished by introducing an antibiotic resistance gene (Hasnain. presumably because requirements for expression levels of the gene are lower.E. 2006).. The mechanism of resistance can be an important factor. Most current markers are derived from bacterially-derived genes.. such as embedding cells in agar. because this is the usual way in which clonal populations of manipulated cells are isolated. however complementation of mutants has also been achieved (Kindle. constructs need to be made to place the resistance gene under control of expression elements that function in the species of interest.E. Once an appropriate antibiotic is identified. zeocin resistance requires stoichiometric binding of the antibiotic by the resistance protein. including resistance to neomycin / kanamycin (Hasnain.G. Manavathu et al.
Klemm et al. intermediate.2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 2033 2034 2035 2036 2037 2038 2039 2040 2041 2042 2043 2044 2045 2046 2047 2048 2049 2050 2051 2052 2053 2054 2055 2056 2057 2058 2059 2060 2061 2062 2063 2064 2065 2066 2067 2068 2069 2070 2071 2072 Transformation methods (Nuclear and chloroplast). random insertion. 2005). If methods exist to remove the cell wall. or vortexing with glass beads (Kindle. Gene replacement via homologous recombination can be more desirable because it is one method to overcome phenotypic dominance issues when a copy or copies of a wild type gene is/are present in addition to a modified gene. A commonly successful method for introducing DNA into alga cells is the bolistic approach (Armaleo. With the exception of Chlamydomonas.. Dunahay T. 1998). Sexual crossing (breeding). Algal strains contain multiple copies of their genome and so recessive genotypes (like gene knockouts). or reduced levels of expression may be desirable. The nitrate reductase promoter has proven useful in this regard in microalgae. Ye et al.. inducible and repressible promoters that can be actuated by simple manipulations are desirable.. The fundamental challenge to introducing DNA into a cell is the nature of the cell wall – hence. A useful aspect of a genetic manipulation toolkit is the use of gene expression control elements that drive expression to different mRNA accumulation levels. et al..E. and Kröger N.. In addition.E. and repressed with ammonium (Poulsen N. Jarvis E. 1995). Gillham et al. 1988. Control element strength can be evaluated by monitoring mRNA levels by quantitative PCR or high throughput transcriptomics. 1995). In addition. but this methodology could be extremely important for following reasons: Some diatoms can be propagated vegetatively only for a limited number of generations and must be crossed periodically to maintain culture viability Breeding of desired characteristics from a number of phenotypic variants can allow for strain development without resorting to GM algae. Other successful methods include electroporation (Shimogawara. successful approaches include the addition of long flanking regions to the gene of interest (Deng and Capecchi 1992). because it is induced with nitrate in the growth medium. 1991) or silicon carbide whiskers (Dunahay 1993). et al. Richards et al. Hegemann et al.G.G. Identification of useful gene expression control elements (constitutive and inducible). 42 . 2005). 1990). classical genetic approaches are not well developed in microalgae. and usually these control elements impart the same control over synthetic gene constructs using them. Fujiwara et al.. Homologous recombination/ gene replacement vs. then chemically based methods of transformation could be attempted.. however.. homologous recombination can be used to knockout genes. Identification of other inducible or repressible control elements would be useful. Frequently. considering the need for balance in cellular metabolism. Obtaining successful homologous recombination has not always been straightforward. use of single stranded DNA (Zorin. DNA introduced into the nucleus of microalgal cells generally integrates randomly into the genome (Dunahay T. may not be manifested by an altered phenotype unless that genotype is allowed to ―breed true‖ though a series of sexual crosses. slightly elevated.. or co-introduction of recombinase genes (Reiss. transgenes are overexpressed by using very strong control elements. because they allow control over the timing of expression of a gene. in certain species approaches may be limited.. which is useful for both nuclear and chloroplast transformation (Boynton. 1996). however. Jarvis E.
Tagging proteins with fluorescent markers is useful in determining their intracellular location and can provide at least semi-quantitative evaluation of their abundance in a simple measurement.. 2004).2073 2074 2075 2076 2077 2078 2079 2080 2081 2082 2083 2084 2085 2086 2087 2088 2089 2090 2091 2092 2093 2094 2095 2096 2097 2098 2099 2100 2101 2102 2103 2104 2105 2106 2107 2108 2109 2110 2111 2112 2113 2114 2115 2116 2117 2118 Downregulation approaches: RNA interference (RNAi). however. Sarkar et al. only a small percentage of selected transformants will have functional RNAi. Two general types of RNAi vectors can be constructed. Regoes and Hehl 2005). one containing an inverted repeat sequence from the gene to be silenced. 2004). RNAi operates through double stranded RNAs that are cut down to small size and used to target suppression of expression of specific genes by base pairing. which necessitates extensive screening (Rohr.. This approach requires that the transformed cell can transport tryptophan (Rohr. this approach is limited by the low frequency of naturally occurring mutations. Mutants are more readily generated by standard chemical or UV-based mutagenesis approaches. Deerinck et al. Targeted or tagged mutagenesis offer the advantage of simplified identification of the mutated gene since the gene is known at the outset. Sarkar et al. This information could be useful in monitoring intracellular metabolic processes associated with biofuel precursor production. Liu et al. spontaneous mutants arising from errors in DNA replication can be identified. 2002.. Targeted approaches rely on homologous recombination (if the native gene is to be entirely replaced) or can involve changes in expression or modification of a modified copy of that gene that inserts elsewhere into the genome.. Even on vectors containing both a selectable marker and an RNAi construct. and another in which bidirectional transcription generates the double stranded RNA. reinhardtii where the selection process was based on functional RNAi (Rohr. Protein tagging technologies. Altuvia et al. As long as an appropriate screening process is developed. or the mutated gene incorporates an easily-identifiable foreign piece of DNA. Green fluorescent protein and its derivatives are the most widely used and versatile protein tag. Nondirected mutagenesis approaches. 2005). selecting for functional RNAi can be problematic. Colombo et al. RNAi is a useful tool to downregulate gene expression. 43 . In a practical sense. which necessitates a large amount of screening. 2004). One solution to this problem was developed in C. Sarkar et al. or through the use of transposons (Miller and Kirk 1999). but others have demonstrated utility and some possible advantages (Gaietta. Tagging can be accomplished by introducing a selectable marker randomly into the genome (Adams. Isolation and Characterization of Mutant Species/Strains The generation and characterization of mutants is a powerful approach to understand gene function and potentially generate strains with desirable characteristics.. Directed mutagenesis approaches.. Drawbacks of this approach include the introduction of multiple mutations in a genome and the difficulty in identifying the locus of the mutations which requires a full resequencing of the entire genome. RNAi can inhibit transcription (Storz. 2005) and control translation by either cleaving specific mRNAs or sequestering them away from the ribosome (Valencia-Sanchez. 2006)..
the desire for rapid commercialization of algal biofuels demands that all relevant approaches be tested in parallel. Kanakagiri et al.. potential for toxin production. this level of regulation integrates the proteome with the metabolome. it is likely that regulatory agencies will closely scrutinize the deployment of GM algae (See Section 10). Indeed. although the current state of transformation efficiency in algae would likely demand that the directed evolution take place in a more amenable host. 2002) or increased neutral lipid accumulation via Nile red staining (Cooksey. Although time consuming. or to exhibit a characteristic phenotypic change that is easily assayed.. Any mutagenesis approach requires an appropriate screening technique to enrich for and isolate mutants. Gentically Modified Organisms (GMO) There is a great deal of uncertainty regarding the need for or the wisdom of deploying genetically modified algae (GM algae. here defined as algal strains carrying coding sequences obtained from a foreign species). iterative selection could be used to generate algal strains with the desired properties but without the need to generate GM algae— something which may be desirable for large-scale algal production. or potential for large scale blooms and subsequent anoxic zone formation. Despite this uncertainty regarding the development of GM algae as production strains. In the first place. References 44 .2119 2120 2121 2122 2123 2124 2125 2126 2127 2128 2129 2130 2131 2132 2133 2134 2135 2136 2137 2138 2139 2140 2141 2142 2143 2144 2145 2146 2147 2148 2149 2150 2151 2152 2153 2154 2155 2156 2157 2158 2159 2160 2161 2162 Screening approaches.. 1987) can be good screening criteria. in consideration of plans for large scale deployment as well as an understanding of the basic biology that will inform such aspects as lateral gene transfer. approaches to modify proteins by genetic engineering so that they function more efficiently or have other favorably altered characteristics could be valuable for the development of algal biofuels technology. it has been deemed worthwhile to build in safeguards to prevent release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to avoid disruption of ecosystems. This can include either a requirement for mutants to grow under certain conditions (e. Especially with core cellular metabolic processes. Secondarily. Without a clear ability to judge these and other risks.. including allosteric activation and metabolic feedback. eg. the data generated in the genetic manipulation of algal strains may provide the clues necessary to generate a comparable strain obtained through means that do not require use of foreign coding sequences. Given a well-developed screening approach. The stringency of these safeguards varied with the size of perceived risk. a substantial amount of regulation occurs at the protein level. and have been relaxed over the ensuing years in recognition that in most cases the risk was quite low. GM algae represent a novel situation. For the latter. in the presence of an antibiotic). From the beginning of development of genetic engineering methodologies. development of genetic tools for this work is critical. changes in fluorescence properties. Guckert et al. Directed evolution of enzymes/proteins.g. reduced chlorophyll fluorescence (Polle.
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Though they are unlikely to be sterilizable. so it seems prudent to support cultivation R&D projects that are closely associated with ongoing TE analysis. microalgae have a number of compelling characteristics that argue for their development over other biofuel crops: Given the absence of economic impacts on food production and the large net CO2 emissions predicted for scaling up other biofuel crops Figure 3: Microalgal production raceway in (Fargione et al. for renewable transportation fuel appears very Carlsbad. 1953). the use of microalgae southeast New Mexico. it is important to acknowledge the advantages and disadvantages of both systems. despite advances and over 50 years of pilot-scale algal research (Burlew. The most important fundamental limitation to overall algal productivity is the light-to-biomass conversion rate discussed in section 2. They may require periodic cleaning because of biofilm formation and though they will lose much less water than open ponds due to evaporation. Algal Cultivation Introduction Advantages of Algae as a Biofuel Crop Microalgal cultivation affords the promise of renewable production of liquid transportation fuels with dramatically lower net carbon emissions than petroleum-based fuels. they will not receive the benefit of evaporative cooling and so temperature maintenance may be more of a problem. Courtesy of the CEHMM. 1996. economic and regulatory barriers that must be addressed to support the development of a large-scale algal biofuel industry. Traditionally. There are however. they can be cleaned and disinfected and so culture maintenance is likely to be superior to that of open ponds over long periods. as noted above. While it is true that capital costs for photobioreactor construction are currently higher than for open ponds. Photobioreactors can also provide a higher surface to volume ratio and so it 48 . Algal Bioreactor Designs It is too early to determine whether closed.2296 2297 2298 2299 2300 2301 2302 2303 2304 2305 2306 2307 2308 2309 2310 2311 2312 2313 2314 2315 2316 2317 2318 2319 2320 2321 2322 2323 2324 2325 2326 2327 2328 2329 2330 2331 2332 2333 2334 2335 2336 2337 2338 3. relevant information is so scarce that a recent review of nine alternative energy options fails to mention algal biomass (Jacobson. www.. Chisti. photobioreactors have suffered from problems of scalability especially in terms of mixing and gas exchange (both CO2 and O2). 2009).org promising. 2007).cehmm. NM. Algal Biology. as highlighted in the Introduction and discussed in detail in Section 11. Indeed. 2008). Although current production costs for algal biomass are not competitive with petroleumderived fuel prices (Benemann and Oswald. open (see Figure 3) or hybrid designs will ultimately prevail. challenging technical.
There seems to be a general agreement that photobioreactors could play a critical role as breeder/feeder systems linked to open raceways. Though TE analyses for both open pond and photobioreactor systems have been published or presented (See Section 11). the cost-benefit analysis of supplemental CO2 in large-scale algal cultivation has yet to consider the intricacies of biological carbon concentration mechanisms (Wang and Spalding. predators and pathogens. it remains to be seen which system will be superior at scale over long periods of operation. Many of the disadvantages listed above are being addressed (mainly by algal biofuel companies) through improved material usage and improved engineering designs. Addressing Feedstock Productivity Feedstock productivity can be defined as the quantity of desired product per unit area per time. protein. including CO2. and lipids into a variety of useful products. This model would require a downstream biorefinery capacity to process simple and complex carbohydrates. However. For example.e. based on assumptions. only the heterotrophic options have received much attention (e. The cultivation enterprise must accomplish these tasks while balancing daily and seasonal variations in light intensity and temperature. Because of the pervasiveness of issues related to scale.. At the other extreme.g. As a result. must also be managed in a way that balances productivity and pathogen sensitivity with the plasticity of algal physiological adaptation. mixed or natural assemblage of organisms (i. the dark fermentation process under development by Solazyme). Other algal cultivation options are being discussed including off-shore cultivation.. TAGs) in harvested material. providing high cell density unialgal inocula for production ponds (Ben-Amotz. much of the information used is either out of date. it was suggested at the Workshop that an investment in ―open source‖ test bed facilities for public sector R&D may provide an opportunity for this sort of research to be carried out. or based on proprietary information. It is important to note that feedstock productivity may NOT scale directly with total biomass productivity depending on cultivation methods (Bennemann and Oswald..g. 49 . 2006). 2007). Scale-Up Barriers The inherent difficulties of scaling up from laboratory to commercial operations present both technical and economic barriers to success. 1995) or a series of linked turbidostats or chemostats (Benson et al. heterotrophic/mixotrophic cultures. One approach to algal cultivation for biofuel production is to develop. an ecosystem) in an attempt to maximize total harvested biomass. monocultures are inherently difficult to maintain and will require significant investment in methods for detection and management of competitors.2339 2340 2341 2342 2343 2344 2345 2346 2347 2348 2349 2350 2351 2352 2353 2354 2355 2356 2357 2358 2359 2360 2361 2362 2363 2364 2365 2366 2367 2368 2369 2370 2371 2372 2373 2374 2375 2376 2377 2378 2379 2380 2381 2382 2383 likely that they can support higher volumetric cell densities (though not areal productivities) reducing the amount of water that must be processed and thus the cost of harvest. grow and maintain highly productive strains to maximize the concentration of the desired chemical feedstock (e. and the use of algal mat cultivation schemes. 1996). another approach is to cultivate a more stable. Nutrients. Of these options.
empirical. 2009). and iv) Water conservation. Beyond these general concerns. four broad areas of R&D needs emerged from the Workshop that must be addressed for economically viable. and recycling requirements. management.000 and several million phytoplankton species against only 150 formal descriptions of phycoviruses. Wilson et al. Regulation. 2004. i) Stability of Large-Scale Cultures Issues Systems for large-scale production of biofuels from algae must be developed on scales that are orders of magnitude larger than all current worldwide algal culturing facilities combined. (2009) point out that conservative estimates suggest there may be between 40.. Cheng et al. Perhaps the most worrisome component of the large-scale algae cultivation enterprise is the fact that algal predators and pathogens are both pervasive and little understood ((Becker. Honda et al. 2008. 2004 ). Fungal and viral pathogens are well-known although current understanding of their diversity or host ranges is embryonic. Wilson et al. Brussaard. 2008) but very little is known about host specificity and even less is known about host resistance mechanisms.. 1994. regulatory issues need to be coordinated with multiple regulatory agencies at both the federal and state level (see Section 10. optimization research. Little is known about artificial pond ecology or pathology. Large-scale culture stability requires a combination of fundamental research and laborious.. iii) Nutrient source scaling. Finally. Questions raised at the Workshop concerning this threat to large-scale algal cultures included: Are agricultural or municipal waste streams—a potentially significant source of nutrients for algal cultivation—actually a major liability because of significant reservoirs of algal pathogens and predators? 50 . 1999. agricultural and environmental concerns are not coordinated across multiple agencies. commercial-scale algal cultivation: i) Culture stability. These barriers are discussed below with recommendations for each. Corresponding Standards. sustainability and management...2384 2385 2386 2387 2388 2389 2390 2391 2392 2393 2394 2395 2396 2397 2398 2399 2400 2401 2402 2403 2404 2405 2406 2407 2408 2409 2410 2411 2412 2413 2414 2415 2416 2417 2418 2419 2420 2421 2422 2423 2424 2425 2426 2427 2428 Nutrient sources and water treatment/recycling are technically trivial and inexpensive at small scales and yet represent major technical and economic problems at commercial scales. Chytrid fungi have been known to cause the collapse of industrial algal cultivation ponds (Hoffman et al. In particular. Tapping into existing agricultural or municipal waste streams will lower nutrient costs but could introduce unacceptable pathogens or other chemical compounds or heavy metals into the biomass stream (Hoffman et al. and Policy). ii) Standardized metrics for system-level productivity analysis.. Also water management. procedures for environmental risk assessment and review/approval for use of genetically modified algae need to be established and standardized. and investigation in these areas will be critically important for the development of cultivation risk mitigation and remediation strategies.
2008) or flow-cytometry-based taxonomic assays (e. and inexpensive... and Final stages of viral infection in the marine phytoplankton.g. 2005. Dynamic pond monitoring will be important for both wild-type and genetically modified algae. It bears repeating that monocultures are expensive to establish and maintain as predation. This information will also inform efforts at developing robust. Early detection schemes for invasive species. competitive production strains. infection. The methods must be sensitive... TSA-FISH. ii) Overall System Productivity Issues According to Oswald and Benemann (1996). 2006. 2008. and competition from ―weedy‖ species is inevitable. physiological adaptations and/or genetic modifications to production strains that afford a growth advantage over competitors and pathogen resistance must also be a priority. predators and pathogens is expected (Hoffman et al. The frequency of contamination events that equire decontamination/restarts will be an important parameter in the cost of production because of productivity lossed during down time. Thus. there are four major areas of concern related to system productivity: species control... selective. low-cost harvesting. The development of chemical treatments. Boutte et al. 2005).. 2009) 51 . whose competitiveness in the field cannot be accurately predicted. ―Environmental‖ DNA sequence analysis can contribute to the development of PCR-based (Zhu et al. (Marie et al. molecular-level algal ecology will be an essential component of the investment portfolio required for developing the potential of algae. and because of the potential need to either discard or treat the contaminated culture prior to water recycle. (Wilson et al. Also developing an understanding of pond speciation and ecology dynamics will be critical. production of biomass with high lipid content. Viprey et al. Continuous monitoring will be critical since seasonal variation in competitors.2429 2430 2431 2432 2433 2434 2435 2436 2437 2438 2439 2440 2441 2442 2443 2444 2445 2446 2447 2448 2449 2450 2451 2452 2453 2454 2455 2456 2457 2458 2459 2460 2461 2462 2463 2464 2465 2466 2467 2468 2469 2470 2471 2472 2473 To what extent will local ―weedy‖ phytoplankton invade and take over photobioreactors and raceways? What prevention or treatment measures might limit such take-overs? Roadmap Recommendations Methods for automated or semi-automated biological and chemical monitoring in production settings will be essential for assessing the health and compositional dynamics of algal ponds. Wilson et al. a significant investment towards basic research in multitrophic. as well as potentially provide for real time monitoring. Pavlova virescens. 2009). predators and pathogens will be the key to the success of remedial actions and for determining when decontamination and subsequent restart procedures represent the only alternative.
inexpensive high throughput pond monitoring. Research at the interface between basic algal biology. and adapted for rapid... The synthesis of new non-toxic. nitrogen nutrition was known to affect lipid accumulation in phytoplankton (Ketchum and Redfield. 1996. 52 . There would appear to be ample justification to support R&D on both approaches. Addressing global warming and the need for international efforts to control GHG emissions provides both motivation and opportunity for microalgae science. Sheehan et al. The issue of species control was addressed above. Gao et al. 1938. followed by lipid content and production efficiency. automated. supplemental CO2 has long been known to increase the growth rate. Roadmap Recommendations Fluorescent and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance-based methods for rapid lipid content screening in microalgae have been developed and applied to many different types of phytoplankton with mixed results (Cooksey et al. yet this area is receiving new attention due to the search for renewable. as siting requirements for efficient microalgal cultivation may rarely coincide with high-volume point sources of CO2 (Section 9). 1998). From a productivity standpoint. These new approaches are split between using microalgae to scrub CO2 from emission gasses (Rosenberg et al. prospects for genetic engineering approaches to increasing the flux of carbon into lipid and pure hydrocarbon metabolites in microalgae are high.. Benemann and Oswald. Douskova et al. and cultivation science and engineering must yield significant improvements in productivity while at the same time lower the cost of production. Eltgroth et al. 2008. and diverging business models are already apparent on these issues. 1987. permeable. 2005.2474 2475 2476 2477 2478 2479 2480 2481 2482 2483 2484 2485 2486 2487 2488 2489 2490 2491 2492 2493 2494 2495 2496 2497 2498 2499 2500 2501 2502 2503 2504 2505 2506 2507 2508 2509 2510 2511 2512 2513 2514 2515 2516 2517 2518 very high productivities near the efficiency limits of photosynthesis. The cost of CO2 transportation and the volatile market for carbon credits will be a major challenge for techno-economic feasibility studies. These tools as well as others such as Near Infra Red spectroscopy need to be more rigorously studied. and low-cost harvesting is discussed in Section 4. Spalding 2008). fluorescent indicators other than Nile Red should be encouraged. For example. 1999. 2008). 2008... sustainable fuels in the context of growing incentives for carbon sequestration technologies.. 2009) and approaches based on better understanding of biological CO2 concentration mechanisms from ambient air (Lapointe et al. Finally.. Shifrin and Chisholm 1981. Long ago. More recent data suggest that high salt and high light stress of some marine phytoplankton may also result in increases of lipid content (Azachi et al.. Utilization of existing and new knowledge related to physiological regulation of lipid accumulation with scalable cultivation schemes should lead to enhancements in productivity. 2002). This discussion will focus on the issue of CO2 supplementation in context of large-scale cultivation productivity. 1994). Reed et al.. derivatives of the Bodipy molecule with higher lipophilicity or lower quantum yields in aqueous solvent may prove to be more reliable indicators of microalgal lipid contents (Gocze and Freeman.
Strain selection (section 2. The use of carbon-based nutrients (e. However. phosphorous. nitrate. such as sulfur. iron. perhaps in co-culture with the eukaryotic algae that synthesize oil. must be considered.. Finally. metabolites. and normalization. Some national and international efforts toward generating quality assurance policy standards early on in the development of an algal biofuel industry will likely pay large dividends. etc.g. vitamins. or urea. The best form of nitrogen is a function of relative costs and the specific strain‘s biology. phosphorous. Sustainability. physiologists. and the changing world of regulatory and incentive policies (e. costs are tied to fossil fuel prices. This calculation takes into account a 50% rate of nutrient recycle. chemical. but vary depending upon the specific strain and water source chosen. 1996). coordinated research amongst analytical chemists. iii) Nutrient Sources. The economic viability of the microalgal cultivation enterprise is a very interdependent equation involving multiple interfaces with technical research. Phosphorous appears to be an especially contentious issue as there have been calculations that the world‘s supply of phosphate is in danger of running out within the century (reference). sugars) for heterotrophic growth systems was also outside the scope of this discussion but will ultimately affect the economics of such systems. biochemists and genetic.2519 2520 2521 2522 2523 2524 2525 2526 2527 2528 2529 2530 2531 2532 2533 2534 2535 2536 2537 2538 2539 2540 2541 2542 2543 2544 2545 2546 2547 2548 2549 2550 2551 2552 2553 2554 2555 2556 2557 2558 2559 2560 2561 2562 Along these lines. densities. carbon credits). and thus a high requirement for key inorganic nutrients. Algal Biology) should take nutrient requirements into account. The primary focus was on the major nutrients nitrogen. Because synthetic nitrogen fixation processes utilize fossil fuels (particularly natural gas). there is an immediate need to standardize productivity models and establish protocols for measurement of yields. such a scheme will certainly have some impact on overall productivity levels as photosynthetic energy will be diverted from carbon fixation to nitrogen fixation. trace metals. rates.S. Along with standards. and production siting. and silicon (for the case of diatoms) because they represent the biggest impacts on cost and sustainability. dollars (Benemann and Oswald. Note also that flue gas fed to algal 53 . which may or may not be compensated for by the ―free‖ nitrogen (citation). It is tempting to consider the use of nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria as a way to provide nitrogen biologically. there is a critical need to ensure that R&D teams are closely coordinating with TE assessment teams. Nitrogen. civil and mechanical engineers is needed for rapid progress.g. Nitrogen is typically supplied in one of three forms: ammonia. and the very large required energy inputs need to be accounted for in life cycle analyses. Requirements for additional nutrients. Microalgae have a high inorganic and protein content relative to terrestrial plants. and Management Issues The Workshop participants discussed several issues about nutrient supply for algal cultivation as they have a sizeable impact on cost. accounting for 6-8 cents per gallon of algal fuel in 1987 U. Note that commodity prices of this sort can fluctuate wildly. integration and optimization research. sustainability. and iron additions represent a somewhat significant operating cost.
utilizing the nutrient content of municipal. algae are used in some wastewater treatment facilities because of their ability to provide oxygen for the bacterial breakdown of organic materials and to sequester nitrogen and phosphorous into biomass for water clean-up. 1996). then the nitrogen will be lost to the system. Also. 1998). The processes through which these nutrients are re-mobilized and made available for algal growth are 54 . Additionally. Alernatively. Utilizing agricultural run-off also poses economic benefits by preventing eutrophication. phosphorous. Note also that this discussion ties into the Standards. From an economic perspective. Finding inexpensive sources of nutrients will be important. for example. Wastewater treatment facilities. The final fuel product of microalgae contains no nitrogen. particularly for disposal of blowdown water and utilization of biomass residues. If the protein content of the algae is used for animal feed. and it is not practical to transport wastewater over long distances. careful control of nutrient levels is critical. unused nutrients in the culture medium pose a problem for waste water discharge. tend to be near metropolitan areas with high land prices and limited land availability. nitrogen. a certain amount of ―blowdown‖ water must be removed to prevent salt buildup. Currently. it may be necessary to expand the limits of analysis to include recycling of nutrients from animal waste. or iron. nutrient recycle may prove to be more valuable than animal feed. all of the nutrients are lost. and Policy discussion in Section 10. or industrial waste streams is a very attractive alternative. treated by anaerobic digestion to produce biogas. Therefore. A potential problem with this approach. phosphorous. then most of the nutrients will remain in the digestor sludge and can be returned to the growth system (Benemann and Oswald. these nutrients end up primarily in the spent algal biomass after oil extraction. Agricultural or commodity grade nutrients are more applicable. is the impact on facility siting. But if the biomass residues are. or silicon) as a means to induce oil accumulation in the cells (Sheehan et al. What makes this scenario particularly attractive is that the wastewater treatment component becomes the primary economic driver. Regulation. but from a sustainability perspective (especially considering the finite nature of the phosphate supply). as pathogen and heavy metal loads in wastewater could pose serious issues. with the oil-rich algae being simply a useful co-product. Too much of a particular nutrient may prove toxic. Another approach to reducing nutrient costs is to pursue a diligent recycle. Further research into the availability and compatibility of wastewater resources is warranted.g.. If whole biomass is used as feed. but their costs are still significant. Although economics dictate that the bulk of water derived from the harvesting step must be returned to the cultivation system (where remaining nutrients can feed subsequent algal growth). Reagent grade sources of nutrients could easily take the price of a gallon of algal oil above $100 per gallon. If this blowdown water contains substantial nitrogen and phosphorous.. this is not a problem assuming that the value of animal feed exceeds the cost of nutrients. however. agricultural.2563 2564 2565 2566 2567 2568 2569 2570 2571 2572 2573 2574 2575 2576 2577 2578 2579 2580 2581 2582 2583 2584 2585 2586 2587 2588 2589 2590 2591 2592 2593 2594 2595 2596 2597 2598 2599 2600 2601 2602 2603 2604 2605 2606 2607 2608 cultures may provide some of the nitrogen and sulfur needed from NO x and SOx (citation). for example. disposal will be a problem due to concerns over eutrophication of surface waters. but it may be desirable to use nutrient limitation (e. Limitation of a key nutrient will have serious impacts on biomass productivity.
therefore. municipal wastewater. A critical part of the analysis that goes into siting an algal facility 55 .. which is a loss of 13. The research priorities in this area include: TE and LCA to understand the cost. productivity. and sustainability issues. e.5 cm per day (Weissman and Tillet.g. Note. including saline water from aquifers and seawater. the water used to fill the pond can be saline. this topic is recommended as a research priority for longer-term. and continually making up the volume with low-quality water will concentrate salts. the water being lost to evaporation is fresh water. Studies to explore the mechanisms of nutrient recycle. An advantage of enclosed photobioreactors over open ponds is a reduced rate of evaporation. brackish. The added cost of such systems must be balanced against the cost savings and sustainability analysis for water usage for a given location. however. however. and sustainability implications of various nutrient sources and recycle scenarios. and other materials in the culture. 20 cm deep open pond will require 530. evaporative losses can exceed 0. energy. This can be prevented by adding fresh water—a costly and often unsustainable option—or by disposing of a portion of the pond volume each day as ―blowdown. and Geographic Information System (GIS) analyses of wastewater resources to understand availability. However. With large cultivation systems.2609 2610 2611 2612 2613 2614 2615 2616 2617 2618 2619 2620 2621 2622 2623 2624 2625 2626 2627 2628 2629 2630 2631 2632 2633 2634 2635 2636 2637 2638 2639 2640 2641 2642 2643 2644 2645 2646 2647 2648 2649 2650 2651 2652 not well understood. Conservation of water can be addressed to some extent through facility design and siting. Roadmap Recommendations Nutrient sourcing and the control of nutrient levels are vitally important factors for cultivation economics. This may be particularly problematic for recycling of silicon. which is a component of the diatom cell walls.‖ The amount of blowdown required for salinity control is dependent upon the acceptable salt level in the culture and the salinity of the replacement water. or other low-quality water stream. water management poses some of the largest issues for algal biofuels. iv) Water Management. and Recycling Issues One of the main advantages of using algae for biofuels production is their ability to thrive in water unsuitable for land crops. If not addressed properly. 1989). water can easily become a ―show-stopper‖ either because of real economic or sustainability problems or because of loss of public support due to perceived problems. and potential impact of such sources on algal biofuels production. water demands will be enormous. Closed systems that spray water on the surfaces or employ cooling towers to keep cultures cool will lose some if not all of the water savings of such systems under these conditions.000 gallons per day from the 1 ha pond. produced water from oil wells. Conservation. that evaporation plays a critical role in temperature maintenance through evaporative cooling under hot conditions. government-sponsored research that is not being done in the private sector. a hypothetical 1 hectare (ha). At the same time. In desert areas. compatibility with cultivation sites. toxics. from anaerobic digestion sludges. Of course.000 gallons to fill. For example.
from flue gas). groundwater. or biological inhibitors produced by the strains themselves could impair growth if recycled to the culture. or may require decontamination.. The blowdown water exiting the process will also most likely require extensive treatment. processand location-dependent. and live cells Research at universities and/or private sector to develop cultivation systems with minimal water consumption.g. however. residual nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizer. An actively growing algal culture can easily double its biomass on a daily basis. Treatment may be essential for water entering and exiting the process. Recommendations included the following efforts: GIS analysis of water resources. This could include reducing evaporative cooling loads through such means as selecting thermotolerant strains of algae. activated charcoal filtration.. To contain costs. could be a serious problem. sterilization of blowdown water would be a very costly and energy-intensive proposition. or other remediation before use. Workshop participants agreed that government-sponsored research in this area is warranted. toxics (including heavy metals). and residual live algal cells. disinfection. However. flocculants.2653 2654 2655 2656 2657 2658 2659 2660 2661 2662 2663 2664 2665 2666 2667 2668 2669 2670 2671 2672 2673 2674 2675 2676 2677 2678 2679 2680 2681 2682 2683 2684 2685 2686 2687 2688 2689 2690 2691 2692 2693 2694 2695 2696 will be to analyze the ―pan evaporation‖ rates at specific sites to weigh in conjunction with water cost and availability (see Section 9). accumulated salts. including the geology of these aquifers and associations with freshwater systems Analysis and definition of the regulatory landscape surrounding discharge of water containing various levels of salt.000 gallons per day in the 1 ha example above). or seawater) may be suitable as is.g. Water recycle is essential. which could contain salts. desalination. flocculants. Roadmap Recommendations Because of the importance of issues surrounding the use of water. This is an enormous amount of water (260. However. Treatment (e. accumulated toxics. while effectively managing the accumulation of salt and other inhibitors 56 . including saline aquifers. Incoming water (surface water. Disposal of the spent water. live cells could adversely affect biodiversity of neighboring ecosystems or result in the dissemination of genetically modified organisms. it is desirable to recycle most of that water back to the culture.) of the recycled stream would likely be cost prohibitive. but the amount that can be recycled is strain-. wastewater. chemical flocculants used in harvesting. Surface disposal and reinjection into wells may be an option as regulated by EPA and already practiced by oil industry. heavy metals (e. water-. etc. Research on water recycle and methods to maximize recycle (and minimize blowdown). and their proximity to utilizable cultivation sites that may have lower pan evaporation rates Studies aimed at understanding the long-term effects of drawing down saline aquifers. meaning that half the culture volume must be processed daily.
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Optimizing flocculant type. polyacrylamide polymers. and chemistry to maximize algae recovery will very likely depend on strain selection. however. therefore. lime. Manipulating suspension pH with and without additives is also effective. mixtures. and on empirical determinations in particular processes.. surfactants. some form of forced flocculation usually involving chemical additives is required to promote sedimentation at harvest. combined with appropriate R&D efforts of specific processing technologies to support those designs as well as a fundamental understanding of how algal biology can impact harvesting and dewatering strategies. therefore. Addressing these issues require careful analysis of engineering designs. make harvesting more difficult. and extraction of fuel precursors (e. and other man-made fibers are some chemical additives that have been studied. and water quality and recycling issues. Flocculation leading to sedimentation occurs naturally in many older cultures. chitosan. Sedimentation may produce slurries with up to 1% algae and over 80% algae recovery.g. Cultures with as low as 0. lipids and carbohydrates). Culture manipulation techniques. In managed cultures.2788 2789 2790 2791 2792 2793 2794 2795 2796 2797 2798 2799 2800 2801 2802 2803 2804 2805 2806 2807 2808 2809 2810 2811 2812 2813 2814 2815 2816 2817 2818 2819 2820 2821 2822 2823 2824 2825 2826 2827 2828 2829 4. Processing Technologies Flocculation and Sedimentation Microalgae remain in suspension in well-managed high growth rate cultures due to their small size (1 to 30 m). Future research in flocculation chemistry must take into account the following: 59 . Alum. A feasible algae-to-fuel strategy. Their small sizes. Final slurry concentration also impacts plant location because of transportation. Downstream Processing: Harvesting and Dewatering Introduction Conversion of algae in ponds or bioreactors to liquid transportation fuels requires processing steps such as harvesting. concentrations. dewatering.02-0. Chemical additives that bind algae or otherwise affect the physiochemical interaction between algae are known to promote flocculation. Energy costs climb steeply above that achievable through mechanical dewatering as the desired percentage of dry mass increases.07% algae (~ 1gm algae/5000 gm water) in ponds must be concentrated to slurries containing at least 1% algae or more given known processing strategies. may be useful for promoting flocculation. salts. cellulose. The final slurry concentration will depend on the extraction methods employed and will impact energy input. Bioflocculation where algae are co-cultured with another organism that promotes sedimentation has also been considered. It is possible to imagine selecting/designing strains to aggregate on cue or designed with a particular flocculant interaction in mind. understanding of the mechanisms of algae-flocculant interactions. must consider the energy costs and siting issues associated with harvesting and dewatering. This facilitates the transport of cells to the photoactive zone through pond or bioreactor circulation.
Flocculants are added to increase the size of the algae aggregates. and fuel conversion and use must be considered. The environmental impact of flocculent in released water effluent. and then air is bubbled through the suspension causing the algal clusters to float to the surface. Materials can be used that optimize filtration and the ability to remove the algae later. the presence of flocculent in further downstream extraction and fuel conversion processes must be understood and controlled. and flocculant reclamation) are also encountered in flocculation and DAF. All of the issues arising from the use of flocculants in sedimentation (e. recovery is largely dependent on bubble size and distribution through the suspension.. Culture purity becomes important as a distribution of microorganism size will affect filtration efficiency and blinding rates. Flocculation and Dissolved Air Flotation Flocculation and Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) was established for sewage treatment and later studied in algae harvesting. Filter material also influences filtration and recovery efficiency. Finally. optimized sedimentation tank designs with integration into further downstream dewatering techniques with water recycling and flocculate recovery are required. DAF facilities require optimized integration with any engineered design for further downstream processing. Likewise. Suspensions with up to 1% algae with 98% algae recovery have been achieved.g. Decreasing pore size. Small algae pass through larger pores decreasing filter efficiency. and can be optimized through further understanding of several issues: The filter pore size is critically important as it is defined by the size of the algae species and algae aggregation rate. 60 . however. leads to blinding. floc optimization. but potentially very expensive. In addition to flocculant efficiency. Most strains considered for energy feedstocks have cell diameters less than 10 m. which increases the challenge of filtering.5-3% algae content.2830 2831 2832 2833 2834 2835 2836 2837 2838 2839 2840 2841 2842 2843 2844 2845 2846 2847 2848 2849 2850 2851 2852 2853 2854 2855 2856 2857 2858 2859 2860 2861 2862 2863 2864 2865 2866 2867 2868 2869 2870 2871 2872 2873 Flocculant recovery techniques are required to minimize cost and control water effluent purity. water and algae purity. the blocking of filter pores and reduction of filtering rates. For instance. Filtration Filtration without prior flocculation can be used to harvest and dewater algae. The algae-rich top layer is scraped off to a slurry tank for further processing. The effect of residual flocculent in recycled water on culture health and stability and lipid production must be understood and controlled. Filtration is conceptually simple. Recovery rates are as high as 80% with slurry concentrations of 1.
However. This has important implications for plant design in that simple questions like. Finally. Other Techniques A number of other techniques at various stages of R&D have been proposed to harvest and dewater algae. and DAF can achieve slurry concentrations up to 3% algae and centrifugation and belt filter presses up to 20%. Moving filters have been used in drum and cylinder press designs. methane drum dryers and other oven-type dryers have been used.. Washing the filter is one practice. the energy requirements of these processes are not only largely unknown but unbounded. and important step is recovering the algal biomass from the filter. Air-drying is possible in low-humidity climates. the costs climb steeply with incremental temperature and/or time increases. breakthroughs are needed in each. Solutions involving either solar and wind energy are also possible. acoustic focusing to concentrate algae at nodes. Given the lack of obvious solutions. These include but are not limited to the use of organisms growing on immobilized substrates where the amount of initial water is controlled and the growth substrate easily removed. given the importance as well as current cost and achievable scale of harvesting and dewatering. Because drying generally requires heat. and bioharvesting where fuel precursors are harvested from higher organisms (e. Power costs will certainly influence design. shrimp and tilapia) grown with algae. the manipulation of electric fields. The efficiency is dependent on species selection (as related to size). Durability and blinding are also issues. Centrifugation Centrifugation is widely used in industrial suspension separations and has been investigated in algal harvesting.2874 2875 2876 2877 2878 2879 2880 2881 2882 2883 2884 2885 2886 2887 2888 2889 2890 2891 2892 2893 2894 2895 2896 2897 2898 2899 2900 2901 2902 2903 2904 2905 2906 2907 2908 2909 2910 2911 2912 2913 2914 2915 2916 2917 2918 filter materials with controlled hydrophobicity and/or algae affinity can be developed. but will be require extra space and considerable time. new strategies should be developed to combine and integrate these processes into a pilot-scale or demonstration facility that takes an algae culture and converts it into a slurry of a specific concentration. Further. drying is required to achieve higher dry mass concentrations. thus significant cost and energy savings must be realized before any widespread implementation of this approach can be carried out. This has yet to be accomplished and remains a significant challenge. but doing so leads to a re-dilution of the product. Systems Engineering While specific process technologies have been studied. ―What percentage of 61 . Drying While flocculation. Filtration designs should consider minimal or no washing requirements. Different configurations and collection designs have been tested with up to 20% algae content and recoveries in excess of 90% achieved. Centrifugation technologies must consider large initial capital equipment investments and operating costs and high throughput processing of large quantities of water and algae. The current level of technology makes this approach cost prohibitive for most of the envisioned largescale algae biorefineries.g. Filtration design is an important variable with both static and dynamic filtering operations. sedimentation.
and therefore. and proteins and the typical percentage of each in algae are considered.10 to 0. The energy requirements for flocculation and sedimentation and the belt filter press are expected to be minimal (dewatering curve). Ultimately. We do know that the cost of harvesting and dewatering will depend on the final algae concentration needed for the chosen extraction method. represents the minimum theoretical energy required for drying. The cost will likely be a significant fraction of the total energy cost of any algae-to-fuel process and a significant fraction of the total amount of energy available from algae. and a gentle belt filter press would increase this further to 2 volume %. However. The likely operating curve would start with pond water having an algae concentration of 0. carbohydrates.54 watt-hours/gram. There is thus a need to develop strains of algae with much higher energy content than available today. Further. and depreciation. the water lost to evaporation in the drum dryer is not insignificant in terms of both amount and importance. requiring at least 60% of the energy content of algae.7 volume %. and drying as a function of the volume percentage of algae in the harvested biomass. 62 . a unit operations analysis of energy input for a range of dry weight content based on extraction needs is required with consideration of capital equipment investments. the maximum consistency which would be pumpable to and through the lysing and extraction operations. The drying energy curve does not include any inefficiency in the production or application of this energy. operations. Nonetheless.2919 2920 2921 2922 2923 2924 2925 2926 2927 2928 2929 2930 2931 2932 2933 2934 2935 2936 2937 2938 2939 2940 2941 2942 2943 2944 2945 2946 2947 2948 2949 2950 2951 2952 2953 2954 2955 2956 the total plant energy requirements or what percentage of that made available by algae must be directed toward harvesting and dewatering?‖ cannot be answered. It is possible to estimate the energy requirements in watt-hours/gram of algae for harvesting. this analysis shows that any harvesting/extraction scheme involving dry algae is energy prohibitive. Flocculation and settling would increase this to approximately 0. de-watering. yet not included in this preliminary analysis.15 volume %. Energy in the drum dryer is based on the latent heat of vaporization of water and is calculated at 0. A quick and preliminary energy balance shown below provides food for thought regarding harvesting and dewatering technologies. The example illustrated in Figure 4 depicts energy needs for flocculation and sedimentation followed by a belt filter press and then a methane burning drum dryer. the analysis does not include the cost of the flocculant (and energy required in its production) or the cost of flocculant recovery and water clean-up. A Preliminary Look at Energy Balance The energy content of most algae cells is of the order of 5 watt-hours/gram if the energy content of lipids. maintenance.
belt filter pressing. 63 . sedimentation. and drying considering a process of flocculation. The point at which the floc is no longer pumpable is shown. The status line across the top shows the likely pond concentration. the consistency (volume percentage of algae) achievable by flocculation and settling. dewatering. the consistency achievable by the belt filter press. and the region of dryness requiring thermal energy input.2957 2958 2959 2960 2961 2962 2963 2964 Figure 4: Approximate energy curve for harvesting. and drum oven heating.
Current Practices for Lipid Extraction/Fractionation The basis for lipid extraction from algal biomass is largely in the realm of laboratory scale processes that serve analytical rather than biofuel production goals. carbohydrates and protein further complicates the extraction schemes for biofuels. and the lack of standardized agronomic methods for harvesting or extraction. While extraction methods used for terrestrial oilseed plants have been proposed for microalgae. discusses government‘s role and potential path forward toward algal-based biofuels. Organic Co-Solvent Mixtures: The Origins of Two Solvent Systems 64 . smaller cell size. Other challenges include difficulties in harvesting: while many feedstocks can be removed from their terrestrial environment at total solids >40%. However. the presence of large amounts of bulk water. Starchbased feedstocks have been converted into biofuels at the commodities level with terrestrial cellulosic feedstocks following on a rapid course for deployment. algal biomass suffers from a lack of well-defined and demonstrated industrial-scale methods of extraction and fractionation. the dynamics of extraction in aqueous phase systems serves as a starting place for both continuous and industrial scale extraction operations. Feedstock sources range from agricultural and forestry residues. as discussed above algae require a high degree of concentration before extraction can begin. these differences identify some of the missing information required to extract and fractionate high-energy polymers from microalgae for biofuel production. transgenic species. which is highly characterized for higher plants as compared to microalgae. identifies gaps in the missing information. The microalgae differ from traditional biomass feedstocks in several respects. Microalgae‘s potential to produce high levels of lipids. and lastly. Identifying the particular biological component for extraction depends heavily on the algal species and growth status. energy crops. Extraction and Fractionation of Microalgae Introduction A wide variety of biomass feedstocks have been identified as suitable candidates for fractionation and conversion into biofuels. municipal solid wastes (MSW). food crops such as soybeans and corn. while many terrestrial feedstocks have defined routes for extraction and recovery of sugars and/or oils prior to their conversion into finished fuels.2965 2966 2967 2968 2969 2970 2971 2972 2973 2974 2975 2976 2977 2978 2979 2980 2981 2982 2983 2984 2985 2986 2987 2988 2989 2990 2991 2992 2993 2994 2995 2996 2997 2998 2999 3000 3001 3002 3003 3004 3005 3006 5. However. and manures (DOE&USDA 2005). To address the shortfall of relevant information a comprehensive research program needs to address barriers to algal-based biofuel development and begin to fund research groups to address these informational shortfalls. most are ineffective and have little utility. such as in cell wall chemistry. review the existing technologies for extraction and fractionation of algal biopolymers. by comparison. biosolids. This section addresses the assumptions and potential scenarios for algal-based biofuels.
pure alcohol solutions of greater carbon length (i. In this sense. More. One example is the hexane/ethanol extraction co-solvent system (Molina et. ethanol) solvents have been tried (Nagle et.. other combinations of cosolvents have been proposed for the extraction of lipids: hexane/isopropanol for tissue (Hara et. if not slightly better. applications using pure alcohol (ethanol. At this point the methanol and lipid molecules partition into the respective phases. 1990). 1959. analyte) containing tissue to a miscible co-solvent mixture comprised of an alcohol (methanol) and an organic (chloroform). single alcohol (1butanol. As methanol is more ―like‖ water (i.3007 3008 3009 3010 3011 3012 3013 3014 3015 3016 3017 3018 3019 3020 3021 3022 3023 3024 3025 3026 3027 3028 3029 3030 3031 3032 3033 3034 3035 3036 3037 3038 3039 3040 3041 3042 3043 3044 3045 3046 3047 3048 3049 3050 3051 The concept of like dissolves like is the basis behind the earliest and well-known cosolvent extraction procedure of Bligh and Dyer. and other lipid and non-lipid contaminants (Fajardo et al 2007).1978). al. These results suggest that the two effects most important when selecting a co-solvent system to extract lipids are: (1) the ability of a more polar co-solvent to disrupt the cell membrane and thus make is sufficiently porous and 65 . and hexane/isopropanol for microalgae (Nagle et. More precisely. al. After the extraction reaction has been run to completion.e. 1996). DMSO/petroleum ether for yeast (Park et. There is also the issue that chloroform will extract more than just the saphonifiable lipids (i.e. isopropanol) have been nominated in place of methanol because they are less toxic.e. the unsaponifiable lipids such as pigments. than alcohol/hexane mixtures. but never more than 90% of the Bligh and Dyer co-solvent method. al. As the lipid molecules are more ―like‖ chloroform. 1-butanol) performed similarly. thereby improving downstream separations. al. the great majority of lipid molecules partition into the chloroform phase. In these applications. The hexane system has been promoted because the hexane and alcohol will readily separate into two separate phases when water is added. the alcohol is first added as the extracting solvent. 1990). methanol and chloroform combine to form a co-mixture solvent that favorably interacts (in terms of the four types of interactions mentioned previously) with the lipids. al. less volatile and toxic alcohols (ethanol.e. Similarly. thus leading to their dissolution into the co-solvent. In general. Separation is then achieved by adding both hexane and water in proportions that create a two phase system (hexane and an aqueous hydroalcoholic) that partitions the extracted lipids into the nonpolar hexane (Fajardo et. 2007). In other cases. Consequently. 2007). the molecular interactions between the water and methanol are stronger than they are between the methanol and chloroform while the interactions between the lipid and chloroform molecules are stronger than the interactions between the lipids and water/methanol solvent. in terms of polarity) the great majority of methanol molecules partition into the water phase. proteins. al. water (which is not miscible with chloroform) is added to the co-solvent mixture until a two phase system develops in which water and chloroform separate into two immiscible layers. The method exposes the lipid (i. butanol) have not compared well against the hexane/ethanol co-solvent system. amino acids. Hexane/ethanol for microalgae (Cartens et. 1994). al.
was almost exclusively applied for the investigation of fatty acids in tissues. one should be aware that while the use of more polar solvents will improve the range of lipids extracted. and then transesterified to fatty acid methyl esters before being characterized by gas chromatography (GC). To address this issue. as defined above. chloroform. this approach suggested that a one-step reaction that added the alcohol (e. Moreover. making it more difficult for less polar solvents such as chloroform to contact. acetyl chloride) directly to the biomass sample and followed with heating at 100C for 1 hour under sealed cap would increase fatty acid concentrations measured (as compared to Bligh and Dyer co-solvent system). in general. In general. As discussed above.g. solvents that extract polar lipids are not miscible with relatively high ratios of nonpolar lipids. These important results have a key impact on liquid phase extraction systems applied to ―wet‖ biomass because they suggest that the water will form a solvent shell around the lipids. 1984 proposed the direct transesterification of human milk and adipose tissue without prior extraction or purification for improved recovery of fatty acids.g.. and then water).. and extract the lipids. or the addition an additional methanol. they may also decrease the carrying capacity of the solvent because.. Rodriguez-Ruiz and coworkers found that the entire reaction could be shortened to 10 minutes if the mixture was incubated at 100 C under a sealed cap. Lewis and coworkers demonstrated that the extraction of lipids was significantly more efficient when solvents were added in order of increasing polarity (i. give relatively high recoveries of volatile medium chain triglycerides.3052 3053 3054 3055 3056 3057 3058 3059 3060 3061 3062 3063 3064 3065 3066 3067 3068 3069 3070 3071 3072 3073 3074 3075 3076 3077 3078 3079 3080 3081 3082 3083 3084 3085 3086 3087 3088 3089 3090 3091 3092 3093 3094 3095 3096 3097 (2) the ability of a second less polar co-solvent to better match the polarity of the lipids being extracted. They explained their results in terms of initial contact of the biomass with nonpolar solvents weakening the association between the lipids and cell structure. chloroform. The sequence of solvent addition can also affect extraction (Lewis et. Starting from freeze dried biomass. Direct Transesterification of Lipids into FAMES Using Organic Solvent Systems The original work on lipid extraction. (2001) found that the Bligh and Dyer method grossly underestimated the lipid content in samples of marine tissue that contained more than 2% lipids but worked well for samples that contained less than 2% lipids. if one wishes to avoid the use of elevated temperature and pressure to push the solvent into contact with the analyte (at the cost of a very high input of energy).. methanol. (1998) applied this method to microalgal biomass and modified the approach to include hexane in the reaction phase in order to avoid a final purification step. Lepage and Roy. It is also noteworthy that the extraction efficiency was not improved (when water was added first) despite the addition agitation in the form of sonication. Rodriguez-Ruiz et al. As such. Finally. purified. and methanol. prior to their dissolution in the monophasic system of water. solubilize.e. methanol) and acid catalyst (e. these approaches were limited by incomplete recoveries owing to multiple factors such as low solvent carrying capacity and solvent-lipid polarity mismatch. the lipids were first extracted. and eliminate the need to use antioxidants to protect unsaturated lipids. Also. al. This suggests that when designing co-solvent systems to extract the entire range of lipids. Carvalho and Malcata (2005) found that when applying direct 66 . Application of OrganicTwo-Solvent Systems for Lipid Extraction from Microalgae Iverson et al. a prior step to physically disrupt the cell membrane is useful. 2000).
acetyl chloride). Accordingly. In general these findings suggest that the effectiveness of the second co-solvent (i. the efficiency of the reaction is increased when a second ―less polar‖ solvent such as diethyl ether or toluene was mixed with the methanol to modify the polarity of the reaction medium. Pressure also helps to force the solvent into matrices that would normally not be contacted by solvents under atmospheric conditions. (2) physically contact the lipid material. 1996). however. and (3) solvate the lipid. lipids) wherever they are 67 . by decreasing the activation energy required for the desorption process).e. Despite these advantages. Increased pressure facilitates increased transport of the solvent to the analytes that are trapped in pores. in order to favor the continuous penetration of persistent biomembrane-enclosed regions. These costs increases dramatically if water is present. and (iii) other more intensive homogenization techniques such as bead beating. the application of pressure and temperature increase process energy and operating costs. and (B) the elevated pressures can reduce the dielectric constant of an otherwise immiscible solvent (and by analogy the polarity) to values that match the polarity of the lipids (Herrero et. it is only efficient on biomass samples containing less than 2% w/w lipids). Efficient extraction requires that the solvent be able to fully penetrate the biomass matrix in order to contact the target analytes (i.e.g. remains largely a bench scale method that is difficult to scale up into an industrial process due to the actual toxicity of methanol and chloroform and the low carrying capacity of the solvent (i. Cell Rupture) To be successful. Mechanical Disruption (i. This observation is a key driving force behind the consideration of solvent extraction systems at elevated temperature and pressure. multi-pass homogenizers. al.e. The use of higher temperatures is assumed to increase the capacity of solvents to solubilize analytes because the thermal energy increase provided by the increase in temperature can overcome the cohesive (solute-solute) and adhesive (solutematrix) interactions (e. any extracting solvent must be able to (1) penetrate through the matrix enclosing the lipid material. This generally requires that the native structure of the biomass must be mechanically disrupted prior to employment of a mixture of co-solvents.. The most common of these are (i) lyophilization followed by grinding in a pestle and mortar. reaction medium) depends upon its ability to solubilize the target lipids coupled with its miscibility with methanol. the issue of solvent access to the material being extracted is as important as the miscibility of the analyte in the solvent. Consequently. Mechanical means are initially employed to disrupt the cell membrane prior to the application of the extraction solvents.. and extreme ultrasonication.3098 3099 3100 3101 3102 3103 3104 3105 3106 3107 3108 3109 3110 3111 3112 3113 3114 3115 3116 3117 3118 3119 3120 3121 3122 3123 3124 3125 3126 3127 3128 3129 3130 3131 3132 3133 3134 3135 3136 3137 3138 3139 3140 3141 3142 3143 transesterification using an acid catalyst (i. however. (ii) grinding cells while frozen in liquid nitrogen. Temperature and pressure are two non-chemical parameters that increase solvation power of a particular solvent.e. and so the application of these process parameters favor the use of completely dried biomass. As such the development of any extraction process must also account for the fact that the tissue structure may present formidable barriers to solvent access.e. The co-solvent system. single solvent systems at elevated temperature and pressure have gained favor for two principle reasons: (A) the elevated temperature and pressure increase the rate of mass transfer and degree of solvent access to all pores within the biomass matrix.
. al. it has been applied for the selective extraction of essential oils from plant matter (Eikani et. In addition. originally termed ―pressurized hot water extraction‖. at temperatures just below the critical temperature. al. lower costs of the extracting agent. al. As such. to selectively extract polar compounds from lipid rich samples. 2004). however. 2007). Accelerated Solvent Extraction Accelerated solvent extraction (ASE) was first proposed in the mid 1990‘s by Richter et al. 2001). 2007). Some of the more important advantages described for subcritical water extraction include shorter extract times. and lipids from microalgae (Schafer 1998). With respect to microalgae. under these conditions. whether grown phototrophically or heterotrophically. al 1996. More recently. higher quality of extracts. and to fractionate lipids from biological samples. Denery et. was initially applied to whole biomass hemicellulose and a pretreatment prior to its use as a fermentation substrate (Mok et. There is also the added benefit of solvent access into the biomass matrix that occurs at the higher temperatures as discussed above. 2006).(1996). In addition to improving yields and dramatically reducing extraction time. however. lipid) . al. A major constraint. is difficulty designing a system at large scale and the high-energy load required to heat the system up to subcritical temperatures. In general. one of the more attractive aspects is the use of water as the solvent. al. this suggests mechanical disruption offsets the need to use elevated temperature and pressure processes that force the solvent into contact with the analyte. the extraction of functional ingredients from microalgae (Herrero et. Various absorbents can also be added to the extraction cell in order to improve 68 . and pressure high enough to keep the liquid state (Ayala et. The basic premise to subcritical water extraction is that water. Compressed gas is used to purge the sample extract from the cell into a collection vessel. The solvents used are those normally used for standard liquid extraction techniques for Soxhlet or sonication. thereby eliminating the need for the dewatering step. as the water is cooled back down to room temperature. generating significant additional energy use challenges.3144 3145 3146 3147 3148 3149 3150 3151 3152 3153 3154 3155 3156 3157 3158 3159 3160 3161 3162 3163 3164 3165 3166 3167 3168 3169 3170 3171 3172 3173 3174 3175 3176 3177 3178 3179 3180 3181 3182 3183 3184 3185 3186 3187 3188 3189 stored. products miscible at the high temperature and pressure become immiscible at lower temperatures and are easily separated. 1996). al. It has been proposed for the extraction of liquid extracts (Richter et. and environmental compatibility (Herrero et. however. al. ASE is applicable to solid and semi-solid samples that can be retained in the cell during the extraction phase (using a solvent front pumped through the sample at the appropriate temperature and pressure). and saponins from oil-seeds (Guclu-Ustundag et. al 2006).e. and that the solvent‘s polarity must match that of the target analyte(s) (i. becomes less polar and organic compounds are more soluble than at room temperature. Accelerated solvent extraction uses organic solvents at high pressure and temperatures above their boiling point (Richter et. ASE can also be applied to remove co-extractable material from various processes. 1992). a solid sample is enclosed in a sample cartridge that is filled with an extraction fluid and used to statically extract the sample under elevated temperature (50 – 200C) and pressure (500 – 3000 psi) conditions for short time periods (5 – 10 min). as with accelerated solvent extraction. Subcritical Water Extraction Subcritical water extraction is based on the use of water. The technique. Large-scale design will require a significant cooling system to cool the product down to room temperature to avoid product degradation as well.
For example. There observations were that solvents with lower hydrophobicity reach critical concentrations 69 .9 ATM). the fluid returns to its original gaseous state while the extracted product remains as a liquid or solid. Denery et al. al. Its usefulness for extraction is due to the combination of gas-like mass transfer properties and liquid-like solvating properties with diffusion coefficients greater than those of a liquid (Luque de Castro et al. the solvent and product can be easily separated downstream once the temperature and pressure are lowed to atmospheric conditions. sulfur hexafluoride as well as n-butane and pentane (Herrero et. sample-solvent ratio. a step that also requires the input of energy. 2006). The process requires a dry sample that is placed into a cell that can be filled with the gas before being pressurized above its critical point. 2006). but other fluids used have included ethane. The temperature and pressure above the critical point can be adjusted as can the time of the extraction. it has been separated from the discussion on solvent extraction above because supercritical fluids are a unique type of solvent. ethane. Lipids have been selectively extracted from macroalgae at temperatures between 40 to 50C and pressures of 241 to 379 bar (Chueng 1999). nitrous oxide. Supercritical fluid extraction is relatively recent extraction technique based upon the enhanced solvating power of fluids when above their critical point (Luque de Castro et. (2002) proposed the two-phase system of aqueous and organic phases for the selective extraction of carotenoids from the microalgae Dunaliella salina. methanol. 1999). In this case. The majority of applications have used CO2 because of its preferred critical properties (i. In most cases. the addition of alumina (Al2O3 activated by placing in a drying oven at 350C for 15 hour). extraction temperature and time have been optimized. What remains unclear is the effectiveness of such an approach at large scale in terms of how to handle large amounts of biomass as well as the energy cost. Supercritical Methanol or CO2 Although supercritical fluid extraction is technically a solvent extraction technique.. low toxicity.3190 3191 3192 3193 3194 3195 3196 3197 3198 3199 3200 3201 3202 3203 3204 3205 3206 3207 3208 3209 3210 3211 3212 3213 3214 3215 3216 3217 3218 3219 3220 3221 3222 3223 3224 3225 3226 3227 3228 3229 3230 3231 3232 3233 3234 3235 the purity of the final sample (Dionex 2007). as well as functional ingredients and lipids from microalgae (Herrero et.1C and pressure of 72. ―Milking‖ Hejazi et al. 1994). For example. One of the more attractive points to supercritical fluid extraction is that after the extraction reaction has been completed. ASE can be an efficient technique assuming the extracting solvent. Supercritical fluid extraction has been applied for the extraction of essential oils from plants. examined these factors to optimize the extraction of carotenoids from Dunaliella salina and showed that higher or equal extraction efficiencies (compared to traditional solvent technology) could be achieved with the use of less solvent and shorter extraction times. moderate critical temperature of 31. al. water. al.e. and chemical inertness. The latter is also noteworthy in the context that accelerated solvent extraction by definition uses non aqueous solvents and therefore must use dried biomass. Super critical extraction is often employed in batch mode. and the extracted material dissolved into the supercritical fluid. Despite the range of products extracted from microalgae its application to the extraction of lipids for the production of biofuels is limited by both the high energy costs and difficulties with scale up. but the process can also be operated continuously.
This work has served as the basis for the development of technology that proposes to use solvents such as decane and dodecane in the presence of live microalgal cells that have been concentrated for the extraction of triglycerides without loss of cell viability and extraction of membrane bound free fatty acids. ease of scale-up. and the algae secrete oil into the fermentation media that can be recovered and later refined into a biofuel. If successful. Solazyme). 70 . By using solvents of higher hydrophobicity the effect of the solvent on the membrane could be decreased and the extraction efficiency for both chlorophyll and -carotene decreased as well. Pigments and other nutraceuticals can be further extracted by grinding or ball milling the dried algae. and in the process break down the cell membrane. However. long-term testing of cell viability in the context of continual production remains to be done. The ―Cell milking‖ technique. has gained some attention in terms of patents and small-scale pilot applications by private companies. or powders for consumption. the cells can be returned to their original bioreactor for continued growth and production of triglycerides for biofuels production. The potential benefits of this approach are the use of standard fermentation systems. betacarotene.3236 3237 3238 3239 3240 3241 3242 3243 3244 3245 3246 3247 3248 3249 3250 3251 3252 3253 3254 3255 3256 3257 3258 3259 3260 3261 3262 3263 3264 3265 3266 3267 3268 3269 3270 3271 3272 3273 3274 3275 3276 3277 3278 more easily. and related pigments for the nutraceuticals and food markets (Shahidi 2006). The algae are harvested. Conceptually. By applying a measurement of solvent hydrophobicity based on the partition coefficient of the solvent in a two-phase system of octanol and water. non-photosynthetic algae are grown using sugars as energy source and using standard industrial fermentation equipment. as described in this as context. Other methods for extraction and fractionation include the production of oils using heterotrophic algae. the business strategies of these companies often require extraction technologies to produce commercial products. higher productivity compared to photosynthetic systems. In many of these operations. using green solvents or supercritical extraction to increase the purity of the product may be the next step in product formulations. dried. and formulated into pellets. the final product is the algal biomass itself. Even so. pills. In the future. Commercially grown cyanobacteria are grown at large scale and are harvested using the cell itself as the finished product. screening viability and activity tests of Dunaliella salina in the presence of different organic phases indicated that cells remained viable and active in the presence of organic solvents with a log Poctanol > 6 and that -carotene can be extracted more easily than chlorophyll by biocompatible solvents. Most of these companies focus on cultivating and producing green and blue-green algae for food supplements. this approach significantly reduces the capital and operating cost for an extraction process (e.g. the ability to maintain the integrity of the fermentation catalyst and use of sugar-based feedstocks. avoidance of expensive extraction scheme(s). the number of companies producing algal-based products is quite modest. In this scenario. this method does offer the possibility of selectively extracting lipids suitable for biofuels and excluding the extraction of lipids that cannot be transesterified and pigments (such as chlorophyll) that can be difficult to separate from the desired lipids and create a very viscous and tarry final product. Nontraditional Extraction Approaches In the existing marketplace.
a solvent extraction system that is based upon using dried biomass is designed. The pressure also helps to force the solvent into matrices that would normally not be contacted by solvents under atmospheric conditions. however. At the cellular level. Consider for example. In this context. However. While water might otherwise block access to an organic. an algal strain that lacks a cell wall such that it is broken down during the centrifugation process must be used. the increased pressure will better force the solvent into the matrix where it can solubilize the analyte. which reduces surface tension and reduces the polarity of water. intracellular water can prove to be a barrier between the solvent and the solute. or participate in side reactions. Increasing the temperature helps to disrupt the solute-matrix interactions and to reduce the viscosity and surface tension of the water – thereby improving the contact between the solvent and the solute. the issue of solvent access to the material being extracted is as important as the miscibility of the analyte in the solvent. When present in the bulk solution.3279 3280 3281 3282 3283 3284 3285 3286 3287 3288 3289 3290 3291 3292 3293 3294 3295 3296 3297 3298 3299 3300 3301 3302 3303 3304 3305 3306 3307 3308 Challenges Presence of Water Associated with the Biomass The extraction process is affected by the choice of upstream and downstream unit operations and vice versa. This is a principle motivation behind the application of extraction techniques at elevated temperatures and pressures. then microalgae without a cell wall would be problematic as most of the oil would be lost in the centrifugation step and the presence of emulsions would prove very problematic. the cell wall needs to be understood in the context of the extraction process chosen. Increased pressure facilitates enhancing the transport of the solvent to the analytes that have been trapped in pores. at the elevated temperature. analytes in pores that have been sealed with water. water can either promote the formation of emulsions in the presence of ruptured cells. If. Energy Consumption and Water Recycle 3309 3310 3311 3312 Figure 5 Typical Energy Calculation for Algal Biofuels Production System Figure 5 shows a typical energy calculation for a production system that is scaled to produce over 3 million pounds of dried biomass per day. The presence of water can cause problems on both at many scales. Assuming reasonable heats of 71 . To use the emulsion technique.
Minimal environmental impact a. Goals While much of the data and information needed to understand the relationship between water chemistry. minimal waste and impact on the environment. Developing nth generation extraction technology using ―green technologies that recover >90% of the algal lipids. the primary drivers for a costcompetitive process is the product yield and both capital and operating costs (Mosier et. the total energy available is over 34 x 109 BTU per day. In moving from today‘s lipid-based extraction systems the more cost effective solutions of the future. Meets the water recycle requirements d. per day. Integrated with other unit processes such as algal biology and cultivation 3. Complete utilization of algal biomass (zero discharge) b. Uses only 10% of the total energy in the harvested biomass c. cell lipid production. and carbohydrate) a. as BTU. low energy consumption. al. polar and neutral lipids. specific characteristics of a ―successful extraction process‖ can be outlined. The breakout session at the DOE workshop set the following benchmarks: the extraction process. harvest. While this may seem significant. the value needs to be considered within the context of how much energy is used to produce. produced per day. The higher-level goals represent an advanced design that will incorporate high yields of extracted lipids. water and soil from extraction process 72 . other components such as carbohydrates and proteins may need multi-step processes to reduce cost and avoid waste discharges from the extraction facility. process economics. dewater. and separate the final products. Limit/exclude discharges into air. Specific goals for an extraction processes are: 1. 2005).3313 3314 3315 3316 3317 3318 3319 3320 3321 3322 3323 3324 3325 3326 3327 3328 3329 3330 3331 3332 3333 3334 3335 3336 3337 3338 3339 3340 3341 3342 3343 3344 3345 3346 3347 3348 3349 3350 3351 3352 3353 3354 3355 3356 combustion for lipid-free biomass. b. Based on process economic models for cellulosic ethanol. Recycles water from the process back to the cultivation process without impacting growth (avoiding chemical imbalances) 2. should consume no more than 10% of the total energy load. protein. Developing a 1st generation extraction process that recovers >75% of the algal bioproduct (includes lipids. proteins and carbohydrates. and algal cultivation are missing. Consumes no more than 15% of the energy in the final product c. It should be noted that early pioneer processes used for both algal cultivation and lipid extraction/fractionation will not be efficient or cost-effective and must evolve to enable greater efficiency and less operating costs. There is also the issue of the energy load of all the supporting operations. Efficient in a water rich environment (~85% moisture after harvesting) b. but on the primary productivity of the algal cultivation system as well. efficient water recycle. dry. a. The extraction yield depends not only on the efficiency of the extraction process. These goals should be used to guide future R&D. Allows for 95% conversion of extracted materials into fuels or quality byproducts.
the components for life are assembled and retooled as a function of growth. ultra-structure and lipid chemistry. carbohydrate deposition. both new tools and capabilities have been adopted to address the lack of fundamental knowledge of terrestrial plant cell wall chemistry. The ability to selectively remove desired components during the fractionation process is a hallmark for traditional petroleum refinery extraction processes. The use of enhanced imaging and spectrophotometric tools to identify the structural components defining the cellular structure provides insights to barriers to both thermochemical pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis of the existing cell wall of terrestrial plants. Ultimately. Chemistry. organized into cell membranes and other storage vessels. This targeted approach to conversion has led to a better characterization of corn stover. Using high temperatures and selective catalysts. Knowledge of how lipids are produced. plant growth. such as toxicity and costly solvent recycle. as a function of growth and cultivation practices. structure and amount of cellular carbohydrates. the development of ―green‖ extraction systems would be needed to avoid issues with organic solvents. To accomplish this goal. Lipid Genesis. and harvesting affects the type. Having demonstrated success with increasing the understanding of terrestrial plants. and Structure As algal cells grow. extraction and fractionation of multiple products in a minimal number of steps. Understanding the structural nature of cell wall chemistry is the goal for genomic control and production of feedstocks that have reduced recalcitrance to bioconversion and better yields in the field. a wide range of products and feedstocks are successfully removed from crude oil through selective processing.3357 3358 3359 3360 3361 3362 3363 3364 3365 3366 3367 3368 3369 3370 3371 3372 3373 3374 3375 3376 3377 3378 3379 3380 3381 3382 3383 3384 3385 3386 3387 3388 3389 3390 3391 3392 3393 3394 3395 3396 3397 3398 3399 3400 Missing Science Needed to Support the Development of New Extraction and Fractionation Technologies Algal Cell Wall Composition Successful bioconversion of terrestrial cellulosic feedstocks requires advanced knowledge of how cultivation. 73 . Early adopted extraction protocols may use organic solvent-based approaches. these tools and approaches could be applied to algal species to better understand the chemistry and compositional analysis for algal cell wall. however. Can we modify the lipid composition to improve the efficiency of oil extraction? From the standpoint of algal biology. the leading feedstock for DOE‘s 2012 cellulosic ethanol cost targets. Algal-based biofuels would follow in the same vein. can we ―customize‖ algal production strains for specific lipid characteristics that allow for low-energy extraction processes? Development of Multitasking Extraction Processes Algal lipids may be the first of several cellular components that will be fractionated from disrupted algal cells or removed through organic solvents. and how the controlling mechanisms affect the lipid composition will help in developing new extraction processes and understanding the effect of changes in lipid composition and cell wall structure through the cell cycle on the extraction processes. This knowledge is absolutely required for the development of efficient and effective conversion of cellulosic feedstocks into biofuels.
J.3401 3402 3403 3404 3405 3406 3407 3408 3409 3410 3411 3412 3413 3414 3415 3416 3417 3418 3419 3420 3421 3422 3423 3424 3425 3426 3427 3428 3429 3430 3431 3432 3433 3434 3435 3436 3437 3438 3439 3440 3441 3442 3443 3444 Conclusion Achieving significant petroleum displacement from biofuels using algal biomass requires an efficient and effective extraction/fractionation process that recovers lipids. Moina Grima. and Chub. and Dyer. Y.E. 120 – 126 Hara. A. proteins and carbohydrates from algal biomass.G. P. Canadian Journal of Biochemistry and Physiology." 53(2): 148-152 [Cartens.. and Garcia Sanchez. J.. such as cell wall composition. K. the impact of high water content and chemistry on the extracted materials. Kima. E. A. 90: p.. References Biomass as Feedstock for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry: The Technical Feasibility of a Billion-Ton Annual Supply: April 2005 DOE and USDA publication Bligh. Sanchez. Robels Medina. E. Lastly. 1978.. while preserving their potential for biofuels and other applications... 37: p.. 420 – 426 Park. Additionally.S. Gimenez Gimenez. Cerdain. 955 .L. 911 – 917 Fajardo... A. J. Garcia Camacho.. N.." Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology 24/25: 355 – 361] [Molina Grima. H.. A. Medina.R.. P. A. 71(9): p. E. M. Lipid extraction from the microalgae Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Analytical Biochemisry. "Eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) from the marine microalgae Phaeodactylum tricornutum. 109: p. and Radin. "Chemical disruption of yeast cells for the isolation of carotenoid pigments. and Lemke. There are large gaps in our knowledge needed to develop extraction/fractionation processes. the need for demonstration facilities to provide standardized materials and to develop new tools and methods is critical to accelerate progress toward the goal for biofuel production from microalgae." Journal of the American Oil Chemists‘ Society 73: 10251031] [Nagle.959] 74 . and ultrastructure. E. Comparison between extraction of lipids and fatty acids from microalgal biomass. 1994.. J.G. Fernandex. 2007.. L. and understanding the effect of cultivation and strain selection on the production of carbohydrates and lipids. E. European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology. F.. A. Journal of the American Chemical Society. "Production of methyl ester fuel from microalgae. A rapid method for total lipid extraction and purification. and Ibanez Gonzalez. A. (2007).A. F. Robels Medina. K.. 1959. (1996). and Molina Grima.R. tools and governmental programs already established for cellulosic ethanol.A. There is wide gap between the existing technologies and an industrialscale microalgal based biofuel process. Lipid extraction of tissues with a low-toxicity solvent. the development of algal-based biofuels can be accelerated by using many of the approaches. N. W. Gimenez Gimenez. (1990). chemistry.
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This section focuses on fuel conversion strategies from a variety of perspectives to establish the current state-of-the-art.). Distribution and Utilization. 2) they have the potential to be compatible with the existing fuel-distribution infrastructure in the U. as well as identify critical challenges and roadblocks. The primary objective of this section is to summarize a number of potentially viable strategies for converting algal biomass into domestically produced. These replacement fuels must be suitable for their applications in order to enable their widespread use.g. 77 . to pyrolysis oil and coke. ignition characteristics. and final fuel specifications are highly interdependent and must be considered together if an optimal process is to be identified. The ultimate fuel targets for this effort. First. This step is of top priority since there is little hope for substantial displacement of imported petroleum without abundant. low-cost feedstocks. etc. energy density. and jet fuel. distillation range. and jet fuel.‖ While a successful fuel-conversion strategy will address the full range of desired fit-for-purpose properties (e. since this is an upstream boundary condition for the entire downstream fuel-conversion process. As a result. however. Algal Biofuel Conversion Technologies Introduction (Producing “Fit for Purpose” Algal Biofuels) Most of the preceding discussion in this roadmap has focused on making the technological advancements required to domestically produce large volumes of inexpensive. When a fuel meets all customer requirements. the feedstock. are liquid transportation fuels: gasoline. These fuel classes were selected as the targets because 1) they are the primary products that are currently created from imported petroleum for the bulk of the transportation sector. diesel.. Potentially viable fuels that can be produced from algae range from gaseous compounds like hydrogen and methane. Several guiding truths became evident during the DOE‘s Algal Technology Roadmap Workshop in terms of addressing the conversion of algal feedstocks to fuels. renewable replacements for petroleum gasoline. Nevertheless. algae-derived feedstocks that subsequently can be used to produce fuels.. it is referred to as ―fit for purpose. diesel. high-quality. to conventional liquid hydrocarbons and oxygenates. conversion process. these are noted here to help establish a reasonable framework for the most promising concepts identified in this roadmap. and 3) adequate specifications for these fuels already exist. the process step of converting an algal feedstock into a fuel that meets all customer requirements is not trivial and is equally essential for the successful deployment of algal biofuels. these desired fuel characteristics are driven primarily by customer requirements and are discussed later in section 8. accurate and detailed feedstock characterization (including both composition and variability) is essential.S.3526 3527 3528 3529 3530 3531 3532 3533 3534 3535 3536 3537 3538 3539 3540 3541 3542 3543 3544 3545 3546 3547 3548 3549 3550 3551 3552 3553 3554 3555 3556 3557 3558 3559 3560 3561 3562 3563 3564 3565 3566 3567 6.
carbohydrates) to yield fuel molecules.g. but rather how best to use the algal remnants after the lipids or other desirable fuel precursors have been extracted. 2) those that process whole algal biomass to yield fuel molecules. The pathways can be classified into the following three general categories: 1) those that focus on the direct algal production of recoverable fuel molecules (e. Direct Production of Biofuels from Algae The direct production of biofuel from algal biomass has certain advantages in terms of process cost because it eliminates several process steps (e.g. such as Chlorella vulgaris and Chlamydomonas perigranulata. The process would essentially eliminate the need to separate the biomass from water and extract and process the oils.g. If these alcohols can be extracted directly from the algal culture media. although the compositional complexities of the output streams from algae must be dealt with effectively before these can be applied effectively. hydrogen. and a summary of each fuel-conversion technology is given. Alcohols Algae. These approaches are quite different from the usual algal biofuel processes that use algae to produce biological oils subsequently extracted and used as a feedstock for liquid fuel production. ethanol. These technologies are primarily based on similar methods developed for the conversion of terrestrial plant-based oils and products into biofuels. and 3) those that process algal extracts (e. cost. and these are discussed below. extraction) and their associated costs in the overall fuel production process. Hirayama et al. alkanes) from algae without the need for extraction... including alcohols.3568 3569 3570 3571 3572 3573 3574 3575 3576 3577 3578 3579 3580 3581 3582 3583 3584 3585 3586 3587 3588 3589 3590 3591 3592 3593 3594 3595 3596 3597 3598 3599 3600 3601 3602 3603 3604 3605 3606 3607 3608 3609 3610 3611 3612 Second. A large number of potential pathways exist for the conversion from algal biomass to fuels.. typically biodiesel. This can be accomplished through the production and storage of starch through photosynthesis within the algae. and hydrogen. and this conservation law also must hold true for the algae biorefineries of the future if they are to achieve significant market penetration and displace fossil fuels. complexity. Inputs. the greatest challenge in algal fuel conversion is not likely to be how to convert lipids or carbohydrates to fuels most efficiently. or by feeding the algae sugar directly. All of the petroleum feedstock that enters a conventional petroleum refinery must leave as marketable products. lipids. There are several biofuels that can be produced directly from algae.. and yields are provided (where known). the process may be drastically less capital. and subsequent anaerobic fermentation of these carbon sources to produce ethanol under dark conditions. Pros and cons of these pathways within each of these categories are discussed below. and key barriers and R&D opportunities are listed. 1998). 2006. are capable of producing ethanol and other alcohols through heterotrophic fermentation of starch (HonNami. lifecycle analysis of energy and carbon will be a key tool in selecting the preferred fuel conversion technologies from those discussed below.and energy-intensive than competitive algal biofuel processes. Third. alkanes. 78 . methane.
some 79 . This process can use different strains of algae to produce different types of alkanes. such as a power plant. the cheap availability of which is a key consideration for cost-effective production of biofuels. One key aspect of the system is that a source of cheap carbon. There have been reports of preliminary engineered systems. Further breakthroughs that enable more efficient production systems and the development of new process technologies may be critical in terms of long-term commercial viability. 1997). using a similar process technology. Metabolic pathway engineering within these algae.. high salinity.000-6. but more often are associated with the algae and thus must be recovered through dewatering and extraction (citation). This technology is estimated to yield 4. In addition to ethanol. With such yields. It is theoretically estimated that one ton of CO2 is converted into approximately 60-70 gallons of ethanol with this technology (citation). it is possible to use algae to produce other alcohols. and may require a price less than or equal to $10 per ton to remain cost competitive.000 gallons per acre per year. One example of this process technology links sugar production to photosynthesis with enzymes within individual algae cells. algae can be grown inside closed reactors without sunlight.000 gallons per acre per year within the next 3-4 years with significant R&D. the price of captured CO2 becomes significant. although the recovery of heavier alcohols may prove problematic and will need further R&D. There are claims that this process may consume more than 90% of the system's CO2 through photosynthesis. The algae are fed sugars. such as methanol and butanol. This appears to be the approach taken by Algenol in their efforts to commercialize ethanol production through cultivation of an engineered strain of cyanobacterium. The larger alcohols have energy densities closer to that of gasoline but are not typically produced at the yields that are necessary for commercial viability. Scaling of these systems to large-scale commercial biorefineries will also require significant advances in process engineering and systems engineering. is typically used to supply CO2 to the bioreactors to accelerate the algae growth. which were previous barriers to commercial-scale volumes (Hirano et al. with potential increases up to 10. The ethanol is secreted into the culture media and is collected in the headspace of the reactor and stored. 1997). Rather than growing algae in ponds or enclosed in plastic tubes that utilize sunlight and photosynthesis. Alkanes In addition to alcohols.. alkanes may be produced directly by heterotrophic metabolic pathways using algae.3613 3614 3615 3616 3617 3618 3619 3620 3621 3622 3623 3624 3625 3626 3627 3628 3629 3630 3631 3632 3633 3634 3635 3636 3637 3638 3639 3640 3641 3642 3643 3644 3645 3646 3647 3648 3649 3650 3651 3652 3653 3654 3655 3656 3657 3658 This process typically consists of closed photobioreactors utilizing sea-water with metabolically enhanced cyanobacteria that produce ethanol or other alcohols while being resistant to high temperature. may also be required to produce a commercially viable organism. in a pressure and heat-controlled environment. consisting of tubular photobioreactors (Hirano et al. These alkanes can theoretically be secreted and recovered directly without the need for dewatering and extraction. these sugars are themselves available from renewable feedstocks such as lignocellulosic biomass. wherein the sugars are converted into ethanol (citation). enabled by metabolic flux analysis and modern genomics tools. and high ethanol levels.
the algae get concentrated energy from the sugars fed into the process. Biological production of hydrogen (a. While their photosynthetic processes are suppressed. if. if so desired. and lignin monomers. keeping the algae ―in the dark‖ causes them to produce more alkanes than they do in the presence of sunlight. Hydrogen The production of hydrogen derived from algae has received significant attention over several decades. indirect biophotolysis. the growth rate of the algae can theoretically be orders of magnitude larger than traditional methods (citation). Algae may prove to be more resistant to these compounds and allowing sugar conversion to occur more cheaply. and dark-fermentation (See Section 2). These higher cell concentrations reduce the amount of infrastructure needed to grow the algae. to oil may have an advantage over many other microorganisms under development for advanced biofuel production. These include the restriction of photosynthetic hydrogen production by accumulation of a Green algae grown in photobioreactors for the production of hydrogen 80 . including direct biophotolysis. such as switchgrass or wood chips.3659 3660 3661 3662 3663 3664 3665 3666 3667 3668 3669 3670 3671 3672 3673 3674 3675 3676 3677 3678 3679 3680 3681 3682 3683 3684 3685 3686 3687 3688 3689 3690 3691 3692 3693 3694 3695 3696 3697 3698 3699 3700 3701 3702 3703 3704 algae produce a mix of hydrocarbons similar to light crude petroleum. Regardless of the source of sugars. indeed. however. Using algae to convert cellulosic materials. First. Secondly. When lignocellulosic biomass is pretreated to allow for enzymatic hydrolysis for production of sugars. there is limited availability and thus a zero sum game with other sugar-based biofuels. dewatering is necessary. photo-fermentations.k. other metabolic processes that convert sugar into alkanes can become active. Only autotrophic algae provide an opportunity to increase the overall production of biofuels beyond that envisioned by the Renewable Fuel Standard. further processed to make a wide range of fuels. This process of growing the algae heterotrophically may present some advantages over typical photoautotrophic-based technologies. these toxic compounds can to add process costs by requiring additional conditioning steps or by the concentration of biomass hydrolysate in the conversion step. and enable more efficient dewatering. furans.a. many toxic byproducts are released including acetate. This is possible because instead of getting energy for growth from sunlight. biohydrogen) technologies provide a wide range of approaches to generate hydrogen. These alkanes can be easily recovered if freely secreted into the culture media and. There are several challenges that remain before biological hydrogen production can be considered a viable technology. In most other processes.
These methods benefit from reduced costs associated with the extraction process. Pyrolysis Pyrolysis is the chemical decomposition of a condensed substance by heating. Processing of Whole Algae In addition to the direct production of biofuels from algae. it appears fast pyrolysis to create bio-oil.S. 2006). gasification. The bio-oil has an advantage that it can enter directly into the refinery stream and.e. For flash pyrolysis. Although synthetic diesel fuel cannot yet be produced directly by pyrolysis of algae. and the added benefit of being amenable to processing a diverse consortium of algae. Even with the increased interest in converting biomass into liquid transportation fuels. depending on the reaction parameters. Liquid product yield tends to favor short residence times.S. Several pilot plants for fast pyrolysis of biomass have been built in the past years in Germany. 81 .. Pyrolysis is being investigated for producing fuel from biomass sources other than algae. typical biomass must be ground into fine particles. and moderate temperatures (Huber et al. produce a suitable feedstock for generating standard diesel fuel. requirement for bicarbonate binding at photosystem II (PSII) for efficient photosynthetic activity. and competitive drainage of electrons by oxygen in algal hydrogen production. 2007). where finely divided feedstock is quickly heated to between 350 and 500oC for less than 2 seconds. and the U. in that it is extremely fast. The thermochemical treatment of the algae. It does not involve reactions with oxygen or any other reagents but can frequently take place in their presence. an alternative liquid (bio-oil) that is upgradable can be produced. fast heating rates. There are four major categories of conversion technologies that are capable of processing whole algae: pyrolysis. and the development of a robust hydrogen infrastructure throughout the U.3705 3706 3707 3708 3709 3710 3711 3712 3713 3714 3715 3716 3717 3718 3719 3720 3721 3722 3723 3724 3725 3726 3727 3728 3729 3730 3731 3732 3733 3734 3735 3736 3737 3738 3739 3740 3741 3742 3743 3744 3745 3746 proton gradient. competitive inhibition of photosynthetic hydrogen production by CO2. i. with some hydrotreating and hydrocracking. Also. anaerobic digestion. it is also possible to process whole algae into fuels instead of first extracting oils and post-processing. The future of biological hydrogen production depends not only on research advances. social acceptance. 2004). is a relatively new process (Bridgwater. with reaction times of the order of seconds to minutes. improvement in efficiency through genetically engineered algae and/or the development of advanced photobioreactors. This is one area algae have a major advantage over other biomass sources because it is already in fundamentally small units and has no fiber tissue to deal with. Pyrolysis has one major advantage over other conversion methods. can result in a wide range of products. though at least some level of dewatering is still required. higher efficiency can be achieved by the so-called ―flash pyrolysis‖ technology. Brazil. or other biomass.. but also on economic considerations. and supercritical processing (Figure 6). but bio-oil from pyrolysis is not a commercial product at the current time (Bridgwater. especially from algae.
research on the catalytic conversion of the resulting algal bio-oil needs to be conducted. Unfortunately. 2003). there are also significant gaps in the information available about the specifications for converting algal bio-oil and the resulting products. Another paper demonstrated that the bio-oil produced by pyrolysis of algae can be tailored by carefully controlling the algal growth conditions (Miao and Wu. Another area 82 . While algal bio-oil may be similar to bio-oil from other biomass sources.3747 3748 3749 3750 3751 3752 3753 3754 3755 3756 3757 3758 3759 3760 3761 3762 3763 3764 3765 3766 3767 3768 3769 3770 3771 3772 3773 3774 3775 Figure 6: Schematic of the potential conversion routes for whole algae into biofuels There are several reports on the pyrolysis of algae in the scientific literature (Demirbas.. 2004). it is expected that incremental improvements will occur and a breakthrough in conversion efficiency appears unlikely. and significant dehydration must be performed upstream for the process to work efficiently. since pyrolysis is already a relatively mature process technology. no comprehensive and detailed side-by-side comparison was found in the scientific literature. Additionally. 2006. A significant roadblock in using pyrolysis for algae conversion is moisture content. 1994). Additionally. It is unclear exactly how much more difficult it would be to convert algae into a bio-oil compared to other biomass sources due to uncertainties in the ability to dehydrate the feedstock. Wu and Miao. it may have a different range of compounds and compositions depending on the type of algae and upstream processing conditions (Zhang et al. The optimal residence time and temperature to produce different algal bio-oils from different feedstocks need to be carefully studied. Work also needs to be performed to understand the detailed molecular composition of the resulting bio-oils. It appears that pyrolysis will not be cost-competitive over the shortterm unless an inexpensive dewatering or extraction process is also developed.
2007. Neste Oil. Tars are high molecular weight molecules that can develop during the gasification process. First and foremost. primarily through Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis (FTS) or mixed alcohol synthesis of the resulting syngas. Another advantage is the possibility to integrate an algal feedstock into an existing thermochemical infrastructure. so the bio-oil may be more easily transported throughout the upgrading process. 2005). and it is reasonable to expect that once water content is adjusted for. since FTS is an exothermic process. The tars must be removed because they cause coking of the synthesis catalyst and any other catalysts used in the syngas cleanup process. Conversion of bio-syngas has several advantages to other methods. Additionally. A solvent tar removal demonstration was installed in a plant in Moissannes. making the process more flexible. with the exception of any upstream process steps that may be a source of contaminants which will need to be removed prior to reaching the FT catalyst. 2006). bio-syngas is a versatile feedstock and it can be used to produce a number of products. address the issue of availability for dedicated biomass plants. and impurities) are cleaned and upgraded to usable liquid fuels through a water-gas shift and CO hydrogenation (Okabe et al. it should be possible to use some of the heat for drying the algae during a harvesting/dewatering process with a regenerative heat exchanger.3776 3777 3778 3779 3780 3781 3782 3783 3784 3785 3786 3787 3788 3789 3790 3791 3792 3793 3794 3795 3796 3797 3798 3799 3800 3801 3802 3803 3804 3805 3806 3807 3808 3809 3810 3811 3812 3813 3814 3815 3816 3817 3818 3819 of interest is the development of stabilizers for the viscosity of the bio-oil and acid neutralizing agents. CO2. and Stora Enso. Additionally. FTS tends to require production at a very large scale to make the process efficient overall. The four basic mechanisms to deal with tar-related problems are: Fluidized-bed gasification + catalytic reforming Fluidized-bed gasification + solvent tar removal Fluidized-bed gasification + subsequent thermal tar cracker Entrained-flow gasification at high temperature A demonstration plant for gasification of wood chips with catalytic cracking of the tar is currently being built in Finland in a joint venture of the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT). 2009.. Balat. 2007. The synthesis of mixed alcohols using gasification of lignocellulose is relatively mature (Phillips. 83 . However. the gasification of algae to these biofuels would be comparatively straightforward. The key roadblocks to using FTS for algae are thought to be similar to those for coal (Yang et al... Srinivas et al. H2. the most significant problem with FTS is the cost of clean-up and tar reforming. Yung et al.. H2O. it is possible to create a wide variety of fuels with acceptable and known properties. France in 2006. It may be possible to feed algae into a coal gasification plant to reduce the capital investment required. Gasification Gasification of the algal biomass may provide an extremely flexible way to produce different liquid fuels.). FTS is also a relatively mature technology where the syngas components (CO. and improve the process efficiency through economy of scale.
84 . The most common type of algal extracts under consideration are lipidbased. The use of this conversion technology eliminates several of the key obstacles that are responsible for the current high costs associated with algal biofuels. Another approach for tar-free syngas was demonstrated in a pilot plant in Freiberg. (Raffelt et al.4 ml/g-d of biogas can be realized using a two-stage anaerobic digestion process with different strains of algae. Also. 2006).. There is an obvious and critical link between the type of extraction process used and the product composition. with a methane concentration of 65% (Vergara-Fernandez et al.. Anaerobic Digestion of Whole Algae The production of biogas from the anaerobic digestion of macroalgae. and as such may be a cost-effective methodology. it is difficult to reach such a small size with other biomass sources and doing so usually requires pretreatment. The pilot plant used two successive reactors.. as well as the anaerobic digestion and fermentation process steps that can be employed are also discussed (Figure 10). The first reactor was a low temperature gasifier that broke down the biomass into volatiles and solid char. Several studies have been carried out that demonstrate the potential of this approach. integrated wastewater treatment. If this approach can be modified for the use of microalgae. 1994). such as Laminaria hyperbore and Laminaria saccharina. Typically. it would be useful to leverage ongoing syngas-to-ethanol research using cellulosic sources for realization of algal biofuels. 1987).. The tar-rich gas was then passed through an entrained-flow gasifier where it was reacted with oxygen at high temperature. Germany built by Choren Industries GmbH. triacylglycerides.3820 3821 3822 3823 3824 3825 3826 3827 3828 3829 3830 3831 3832 3833 3834 3835 3836 3837 3838 3839 3840 3841 3842 3843 3844 3845 3846 3847 3848 3849 3850 3851 3852 3853 3854 3855 3856 3857 3858 3859 3860 3861 3862 3863 3864 Tar formation can be minimized or avoided via entrained-flow gasification at high temperatures (Hallgren et al. First. it is necessary to determine the optimum conditions for indirect gasification of algae. It would be desirable to determine the feasibility of using the oxygen generated by algae for use in the gasifier to reduce or eliminate the need for a tar reformer. e. there are still several areas that should be investigated and require R&D. and supercritical transesterification processes. and fuel conversion. Conversion of Algal Extracts The conversion of extracts derived from algal sources is the typical mode of biofuel production from algae. and as such a fundamental and exhaustive understanding of the different types of inputs to the conversion technologies must be in place. but certain species of algae may not require pre-treatment due to their inherent small size. is an interesting mode of gaseous biofuel production.g. including drying. Even though FTS is a mature technology. extraction. it may be very effective for situations like. chemical. algae may have a unique advantage in this process. and one that receives scant attention in the United States (Hanssen et al. 2008). where algae are grown under uncontrolled conditions using strains are not optimized for lipid production. While this technology requires sub-millimeter sized particles. which can be converted into biodiesel. A recent study indicated that biogas production levels of 180. Biochemical.
This technology is relatively mature and has been demonstrated to be the ―gold standard‖ in the conversion of vegetable oils into biodiesel (Hossain et al.. 2008). In order to compensate for this. 2006).. 2008). such as H3PW12O40/Nb2O5. biodiesel is then separated from the ether by a vaporizer under a high vacuum. Another route is found in acid-catalyzed transesterification reactions (Wahlen et al. Though acid catalysts have these advantages. Higher temperatures and longer reaction times are. and therefore mitigate saponification and emulsification. have been shown to lower the required temperatures and decrease the reaction times (Alsalme et al.. In addition to the classic base-catalyzed methanol approach. The products of these reactions are typically separated by adding ether and salt water to the solution and mixing well. therefore. HCl or H3PO4 is also considered an attractive alternative as the acidic catalysts are less sensitive to the presence of water and free acids. Recently. 2008).3865 3866 3867 3868 3869 3870 3871 3872 3873 3874 3875 3876 3877 3878 3879 3880 3881 3882 3883 3884 3885 3886 3887 3888 3889 3890 3891 3892 Figure 7: Schematic of the various conversion strategies of algal extracts into biofuels Transesterification The transesterification reaction is employed to convert triacylglycerols extracted from algae to FAMEs (fatty acid methyl esters). generally required as a result. The replacement of soluble bases by liquid acid catalysts such as H2SO4. Transesterification can be performed via catalytic or non-catalytic reaction systems using different heating systems that are required to initiate the reaction. thus enhancing product recovery (Ataya et al. 2008. heteropolyacids (HPA). 2009). they are not currently preferred due to their lower activity than the conventional transesterification alkaline catalysts. which is simply a process of displacement of an alcohol group from an ester by another alcohol (Demirbas.. 2008). Cao et al. it has been shown that transesterification of algal oil can be achieved with ethanol and sodium ethanolate serving as the catalyst (Zhou and Boocock. it was shown that HPA-catalyzed transesterification of vegetable oil achieves higher reaction rates than conventional mineral acids due to their 85 .. Finally.
2006). 2008). Hence the process of transesterification can run inline rather than using the time-consuming batch process used in traditional base-catalyzed transesterification (Stavarache et al. Although enzymatic approaches have become increasingly attractive.. These factors must be addressed before a commercially viable biochemical conversion process can be realized. 2009). 2008).. 2009). Use of biocatalysts (lipases) in transesterification of triacylglycerols for biodiesel production addresses these problems and offers an environmentally more attractive option to the conventional processes (Svensson and Adlercreutz. When the transesterification reaction is carried out in the presence of microwaves. ultrasonic waves cause the reaction mixture to produce and collapse bubbles constantly. These preliminary results indicate that microwave processing may be costcompetitive with the more mature conversion processes currently available. The presence of solvents is sometimes necessary to enhance the solubility of the triacylglycerols during the extraction process. In addition. It is estimated that industrial-scale ultrasonic devices allow for the processing of several thousand barrels per day. 2007). This cavitation provides simultaneously the mixing and heating required to carry out the transesterification process (Armenta et al. and require removal of alkaline catalyst from the product and treatment of alkaline wastewater. One critical area that needs to be addressed is the solvent and temperature tolerance of the enzymes in order to enable efficient biocatalytic processing. and energy input (Kalva.. One recommended research focus would be to further develop these homogeneous catalysts to tolerate the contaminants expected to be present in algal extracts. An alternative heating system that can be used to enhance the kinetics of transesterification involves the use of microwaves (Refaat and El Sheltawy. The apparent higher activity of certain HPAs with respect to polyoxometallates of higher strength resulted in lower pretreatment temperatures. entail difficulty in removing the glycerol. As a result. In addition to alternative catalysts... In the ultrasonic reactor method. Thus using an ultrasonic reactor for biodiesel production drastically reduces the reaction time. but will require further innovation to reach production levels sufficient for massive and scalable biofuel production. there are other processing variants that appear promising. the reaction is accelerated and requires shorter reaction times. 2008).. et al. 2007).. a drastic reduction in the quantity of co-products and a short separation time are also obtained (Lertsathapornsuk et al. 2008). reaction temperatures. they have not been demonstrated at large scale mainly due to the relatively high price of lipase and its short operational life caused by the negative effects of excessive methanol and co-product glycerol.3893 3894 3895 3896 3897 3898 3899 3900 3901 3902 3903 3904 3905 3906 3907 3908 3909 3910 3911 3912 3913 3914 3915 3916 3917 3918 3919 3920 3921 3922 3923 3924 3925 3926 3927 3928 3929 3930 3931 3932 3933 3934 3935 3936 3937 3938 higher acid strength (Xu et al. Biochemical Catalysis Chemical processes give high conversion of triacylglycerols to their corresponding esters but have drawbacks such as being energy intensive. and the enzymes used in the downstream conversion process must be able to function in the presence of these solvents to varying degrees to enable costeffective biofuel production (Fang et al. catalysts may be used to enhance the impact of microwave irradiation (Yuan et al. There have been some recent reports of 86 .
The catalysts obtained are stable and give high glycerol yield with high activities. Although very effective and relatively economical. In another example.. The presence of a co-solvent. optimizing specific enzyme activity to function using heterogeneous feedstocks. 2008. can play a vital role in achieving high conversion efficiencies of up to 98% (Soriano et al. Acid and basic catalysts could be classified as Brönsted or Lewis catalysts. in which A represents a hydrogen atom or an alkaline metal atom. 1998). these catalysts still require purification and removal from the product stream. 2008). Again. both types of sites could be present and it is not easy to evaluate the relative importance of the two types of sites in the overall reaction in terms of efficiency and cost. This work indicates that the use of this cosolvent mixture in the enzymatic biodiesel production has several advantages: (a) both the negative effects caused by excessive methanol and co-product glycerol can be eliminated completely. 2009). To that end. engineering. much R&D is needed in the discovery. have been proven as a viable means of converting triacylglycerols into fatty acid methyl esters. active catalysts during transesterification 87 . such as tehtrahydrofuran. In particular. as with other approaches.. Other important issues that need further exploration are developing enzymes that can lyse the algal cell walls. converting carbohydrates into sugars.. M a niobium atom or a tantalum atom.. 2005). Enzyme immobilization may also play a key role in developing an economic method of biocatalytic transesterification (Yamane et al. defining necessary enzyme reactions (cell wall deconstruction and autolysin). One potential solution to this is the development of immobilized heterogeneous and/or homogeneous catalysts that are very efficient and inexpensive (McNeff et al.. Chemical Catalysis The transesterification catalysts presented above are very strong and relatively mature in the field of biofuel production. one of the most significant roadblocks to demonstrating the validity of this approach lies in the conversion of algal oil extracts at a commercial scale and at competitive prices. 2008). 2003). and optimization of enzymes that are capable of producing these reactions in a variety of environments and on different types of oil feedstocks (Lopez-Hernandez et al. it has been noted that a co-solvent mixture may be critical in defining the optimal reaction medium for the lipases. though in many cases. which increases the overall costs. catalysts derived from the titanium compound possessing the general formula ATixMO. and x is an integer not greater than 7.. Liao et al. were employed in vegetable oil transesterification. (c) no catalyst regeneration steps are needed for lipase reuse. Bioprospecting for the enzymes in extreme environments may produce novel enzymes with desired characteristics that are more suitable for industrial applications (Guncheva et al. catalyzing nucleic acid hydrolysis. using HTiNbO3 as the catalyst. Vanadate metal compounds are stable.3939 3940 3941 3942 3943 3944 3945 3946 3947 3948 3949 3950 3951 3952 3953 3954 3955 3956 3957 3958 3959 3960 3961 3962 3963 3964 3965 3966 3967 3968 3969 3970 3971 3972 3973 3974 3975 3976 3977 3978 3979 3980 3981 3982 3983 3984 using a solvent engineering method to enhance the lipase-catalyzed methanolysis of triacylglycerols for biodiesel production (Su and Wei. Lewis acid catalysts. such as AlCl3 or ZnCl2. and converting lipids into a suitable diesel surrogate. A typical FAME yield of 91% and glycerol yield of 91% were obtained in a fixed-bed reactor at 200°C and 35 bar. (b) high reaction rates and conversion can be obtained. and (d) the operational stability of the catalyst is high.
This catalyst is also more active than HTiNbO3. 2009. hydrophobic (at reaction temperatures of about 170°C). Supercritical Processing Supercritical processing is a recent addition to the portfolio of techniques capable of simultaneously extracting and converting oils into biofuels (Demirbas.. and Al2O3..3985 3986 3987 3988 3989 3990 3991 3992 3993 3994 3995 3996 3997 3998 3999 4000 4001 4002 4003 4004 4005 4006 4007 4008 4009 4010 4011 4012 4013 4014 4015 4016 4017 4018 4019 4020 4021 4022 4023 4024 4025 4026 4027 4028 4029 4030 with TiVO4 being the most active (Cozzolino et al. there are no organic solvent residues in the extract or spent biomass (Demirbas. thus providing high purity and product concentrations.. Moreover. supercritical methanol or ethanol is employed as both the oil extraction medium and the catalyst for transesterification (Warabi et al. 2007). 2009). These catalysts are Lewis acids. This supercritical transesterification approach can also be applied for algal oil extracts. Although it has been only demonstrated for the simultaneous extraction and transesterification of vegetable oils. producing the same yields with lower residence times. supercritical fluids can be used on whole algae without dewatering. which translates to very costly plant design and construction requirements. The catalysts are active in the esterification reaction. at less than 50°C. CaO. Additionally. the process pressure is high (40-60 bar). 2008). While the occurrence of water in the reaction medium appears as a factor in process efficiency. One particular concern is the stability and longevity of the catalysts in a representative reaction environment. 2008). and this technique has been demonstrated to be extremely powerful in the extraction of other components within algae (Mendes. The supercritical extraction process can be coupled with a transesterification reaction scheme to enable a ―one pot‖ approach to biofuel production (Ani et al. with a conversion yield similar to that of the anhydrous process in the conversion of vegetable oils. In this process variant. Supercritical fluids are selective. Many of the catalysts presented above seem to be good candidates for industrial process development but must resist poisoning and the leaching of active components. At these temperatures. There remain significant fundamental studies and unanswered questions that must be completed before these catalysts are fully understood. reducing the concentration of free fatty acids in non-refined oil or in used oil. 2008). Vieitez et al. thus ensuring maximum product stability and quality. 2006). thereby increasing the efficiency of the process. 2004).. probably due to the hydrophobicity of their surface. Extraction is efficient at modest operating temperatures. Other catalyst examples include MgO. it has been demonstrated that this process is capable of tolerating water. Similar results have been observed for supercritical methanol 88 . it is envisioned as being applicable for the processing of algae. the decomposition of fatty acids is the main factor that limited the attainable ester content (Vieitez et al. Supercritical fluid extraction of algal oil is far more efficient than traditional solvent separation methods. Doublemetal cyanide Fe-Zn proved to be promising catalysts resulting in active transesterification of oil. One of the most difficult challenges is finding an ideal heterogeneous catalyst that has comparable activity in comparison to the homogenous catalyst at lower temperatures than the ones currently used (~220-240°C). they can be used even with oils containing significant amounts of free fatty acids and water. for example. Additionally. In the case of catalyst-free supercritical ethanol transesterification.. and insoluble.
and now it is apparent that it is beginning to return to biological feedstocks to keep the pipelines full. $0. It is. Because decomposition was a consequence of temperature and pressure conditions used in this study.e. further work should be focused on the effect of milder process conditions. unprocessed algae and that there is no negative impact due to the presence of other small metabolites. autoignition characteristics (as measured by octane number or cetane number). to the transesterification of the algal oil extracts. As noted in Section 8.26/gal vs. with similar yields and efficiencies at a level that can be scaled to commercial production. and efficiency. Although the predominant feedstock for the industry is crude oil. theoretically possible that if the other upstream algal processing costs could be mitigated through the addition of a transeterification conversion process. further study will also be needed to avoid saponification. The fuel products are a mixture of components that vary based on input stream and process steps.. jet fuel. in particular. It was found that the processing cost of the proposed supercritical technology could be near half of that of the actual conventional transesterification methods (i. therefore. A major characteristic of petroleum-derived fuels is high energy content which is a function of a near zero oxygen content. cost. the oil industry has begun to cast a wider net and has spent a great deal of resources developing additional inputs such as oil shale and tar sands. initial and final boiling point. and diesel are generally described as ―renewable‖ or ―green‖ if it is derived from a biological feedstock—such as biomass or plant oil—but has essentially the same performance specifications as the petroleum based analog.. In the case of combined extraction and transesterification of algae. separation and modification of the components in crude oil to yield an assortment of end products. The clear immediate priority is to demonstrate that these supercritical process technologies can be applied in the processing of algae. jet fuel. and diesel are must meet a multitude of performance specifications that include volatility. have been shown to be very favorable for large-scale deployment. gasoline. From a refinery‘s perspective. lower reaction temperatures. flash point. and cloud point.4031 4032 4033 4034 4035 4036 4037 4038 4039 4040 4041 4042 4043 4044 4045 4046 4047 4048 4049 4050 4051 4052 4053 4054 4055 4056 4057 4058 4059 4060 4061 4062 4063 4064 4065 4066 4067 4068 4069 4070 4071 4072 4073 4074 4075 4076 4077 processing of vegetable oils (Hawash et al.51/gal). the ideal conversion process would make use of 89 . 2009). and Jet Fuel All of the processes that take place in a modern petroleum refinery can be divided into two categories. the overall algal biorefinery could become cost-competitive with fossil fuels. and they are better defined by their performance specifications than by the sum of specific molecules. Conversion to Renewable Diesel. The economics of this supercritical transesterification process. 2008). Gasoline. In particular. it must be demonstrated that this process can tolerate the complex compositions that are found with raw. It also remains to be seen whether the processing of whole algae in this fashion is superior. Typical biological molecules have very high oxygen contents as compared to crude oil. either whole or its oil extract. Gasoline.. It is worth noting that the petroleum industry began by developing a replacement for whale oil. Conversion of biological feedstocks to renewable fuels. therefore is largely a process of eliminating oxygen and maximizing the final energy content. in terms of yield. One economic analysis has been conducted based on a supercritical process to produce biodiesel from vegetable oils in one step using alcohols (Anitescu et al. $0. at least in the case of vegetable oil processing.
This includes the anaerobic digestion of algal remnants to produce biogas. straight chain alkanes are poor starting materials for gasoline because they provide low octane numbers. as well as the fermentation of any recoverable polysaccharides into biofuels. Algal lipids can be processed by hydrotreating (basically. It will be desirable to tune catalysts such that the attack on the oxygen bearing carbon atoms will minimize the amount of CO and CO2 lost as well as the amount of H2 used. In addition. Fatty acids are well suited to conversion to diesel and jet fuel with few processing steps. the organic fractions of the algae remaining after oil extraction are amenable to anaerobic digestion. Glycerin will be converted to propane which can be used for s liquefied petroleum gas. Processing of Algal Remnants after Extraction One other critical aspect in developing a conversion technology that derives benefit from every potential input is the conversion of algal remnants after conversion of algal feedstock into fuel. demanding additional isomerization steps or high octane blendstocks. or carbon monoxide. nitrogen from extracted proteins. Crude algal oil may contain high levels of phosphorous from phospholipids. and metals (especially magnesium) from chlorophyll. catalytic hydrocracking and hydrotreating. the nitrogen can be recovered in the form of ammonia for recycle to the culture.g. Catalysts in current use have been optimized for existing petroleum feedstocks and have the appropriate specificity and activity to carry out the expected reactions in a cost effective manner. Refinery catalysts have also been developed to function within a certain range of chemical components within the petroleum stream (e. carbon dioxide. it can be used for the production of typical fuels without disruptive changes in processes or infrastructure Various refiners and catalyst developers have already begun to explore the conversion of vegetable oils and waste animal fats into renewable fuels. metals and sulfur and nitrogen heteroatoms) without becoming poisoned. In this way. a chemical reductive process). In particular. Anaerobic digestion can be effectively used as a means of producing biogas from algae and algal remnants after extraction (Ashare and Wilson. The liquid effluent contains soluble nitrogen from the original algal proteins. once the algae has been harvested. It is this process that provided the renewable jet fuel blends (derived from oils obtained from jatropha and algae) that have been used in recent commercial jet test flights. and catalytic structural isomerization. the feedstock is considered fungible with petroleum. On the other hand. It will be necessary to optimize both the level of purification of algal lipid as well as the tolerance of the catalyst for the contaminants to arrive at the most cost effective process. little if any pretreatment is required. 90 . There will also likely be a high amount of polysachharides and other oligosaccharides present in the algal remnants that are well suited for traditional fermentation into ethanol and other biofuels.4078 4079 4080 4081 4082 4083 4084 4085 4086 4087 4088 4089 4090 4091 4092 4093 4094 4095 4096 4097 4098 4099 4100 4101 4102 4103 4104 4105 4106 4107 4108 4109 4110 4111 4112 4113 4114 4115 4116 4117 4118 4119 4120 4121 4122 those operations already in place: thermal or catalytic cracking. The biogas product typically contains 60% methane and 40% CO2 by volume. The primary barrier to utilizing algae oils to make renewable fuels is catalyst development. and reduce double bonds to yield hydrocarbons. Hydrotreating will convert the carboxylic acid moiety to a mixture water. 1979).
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The amount of fossil-derived diesel used for transportation in the U.S. today is about 44 billion gallons/year (Source: 2007 data from U.S. Energy Information Administration; www.eia.doe.gov). Based upon calculations assuming the moderate productivity of 25 g/m2/day and 50% lipid (See Appendix) and assuming an 80% yield on biofuel from lipid, it would take 10 million acres (4 million hectares) of cultivation systems to displace this amount of fuel with algal biofuel, and it would result in the co-generation of about 190 million tons of lipid-extracted biomass per year. The ―guiding truth‖ is that if biodiesel production is considered to be the primary goal, the generation of other coproducts must be correspondingly low since their generation will inevitably compete for carbon, reductant, and energy from photosynthesis. Indeed, the concept of a biorefinery for utilization of every component of the biomass raw material must be considered as a means to enhance the economics of the process. This section will address these options and discuss how relatively few of these options will not readily saturate corresponding markets in the long term. This section will also address within the context of the biorefinery the possibility of coupling biodiesel generation with CO2 mitigation (for carbon credits) and wastewater treatment (for nutrient removal) to provide additional benefits to the technology, without invoking competing co-products. Using appropriate technologies, all primary components of algal biomass – carbohydrates, fats (oils), proteins and a variety of inorganic and complex organic molecules – can be converted into different products, either through chemical, enzymatic or microbial conversion means. The nature of the end products and of the technologies to be employed will be determined, primarily by the economics of the system, and they may vary from region to region according to the cost of the raw material (Willke and Vorlop, 2004). Moreover, novel technologies with increased efficiencies and reduced environmental impacts may have to be developed to handle the large amount of waste that is predicted to be generated by the process. The topic of conversion of algal biomass to other biofuels has already been discussed (See Section 6); this section will focus on non-fuel co-products.
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Figure 8: An Overview of the Biorefinery Concept
Under the biorefinery concept (Figure 8), the production of industrial, high-value and high-volume chemicals from amino acids, glycerol, and nitrogen-containing components of algal biomass becomes feasible (Mooibroek et al., 2007) and must be considered in determining the economics of the process. The use of terms such as ―high volume‖ or ―high value‖ can be extremely subjective, as a ―high value‖ product to a fine chemical producer might be well over several dollars/lb, but considerably under a dollar for a commodity producer. For the purposes of this report, a reasonably valued chemical is defined as one that will cost roughly $0.30 - $1.00/lb, and can be produced at a volume of roughly 100 - 500x106 lbs/yr.
Commercial Products from Microalgae
A large number of different commercial products have been derived from microalgae. As summarized in Table 4, these include products for human and animal nutrition, polyunsaturated fatty acids, anti-oxidants, coloring substances, fertilizers and soil conditioners, and a variety of specialty products such as bioflocculants, biodegradable polymers, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, polysaccharides, and stable isotopes for research purposes. By definition, these existing markets (and associated production plants and distribution channels) are for high-value products or co-products from algae, not commodity products. Yet the existing fossil fuels market is, and the future algal-based biofuels market (designed in part to supplant the fossil fuels market) must be commodities based to meet required volumes at price points acceptable to the consumer. With the possible exception of the existing market for microalgal biomass for animal nutrition and soil fertilizer, the biofuels markets will involve volumes (of biomass, product, etc.) and 96
Spirulina. and even dogs and cats. Malcolm et al. and fish (Benemann. 1996.g. e. The production includes ca. Phaeodactylum and Nitzschia (Spolaore et al. pigs. Nannochloropsis. Most frequently used species are Chaetoceros. 1996). appearance. All other PUFAs are more cost-effectively produced from non-algal sources (e. Dunalliella.200 t/yr Dunaliella. Pulz and Gross. Aquaculture: Microalgae are also used as feed in the aquaculture of mollusks. Chlorella and Scenesdesmus. currently at ~700 million US$.e.) as a feed additive for cows. 1. γ-linolenic acid (GLA). horses... Nitzschia. Isochrysis. ca. Phaeodactylum. weight gain.. Radmer 1994. crustaceans (shrimp).. 1990. 2006). GLA by Arthrospira. This situation. Chlorella. and to a lesser extent. is expected to grow in the future. Chlorella. 2004. Pavlova. better immune response. Nostoc and Aphanizomenon (Radmer. AA has been shown to be synthesized by Porphyridium. 2. etc. ii) Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) Microalgae can also be cultured for their high content in PUFAs. However. ca. and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). 1999). estimated to be about 300 million US$.. Animal Feed Additive: Microalgal biomass has also been used with good results (i. Therein lies a major conundrum associated with the nascent algal-derived biofuels market: in the long term. is anticipated to continue until 1) a sufficient number of the challenges outlined earlier in this roadmap for biofuel production will have been overcome and associated lifecycle costs reduced to realize sustainable biofuel production at volumes and pricepoints that meet consumer demands or 2) new coproducts that are low cost and have very large potential markets are developed. coproducts of higher value in the marketplace must be pursued in order to offset the costs of production of algal-derived biofuels. 600 t/yr Nostoc.4352 4353 4354 4355 4356 4357 4358 4359 4360 4361 4362 4363 4364 4365 4366 4367 4368 4369 4370 4371 4372 4373 4374 4375 4376 4377 4378 4379 4380 4381 4382 4383 4384 4385 4386 4387 4388 4389 4390 4391 4392 4393 4394 4395 4396 scales (sizes and numbers of commercial plants) that are significantly less than those associated with the existing high-value algae-derived products. is expected to expand significantly. Both the protein content and the level of unsaturated fatty acids determine the nutritional value of microalgal aquaculture feeds. ca. i) Food and Feed Human Health Food Supplement: The consumption of microalgal biomass as a human health food supplement is currently restricted to only a few species. and ca. Scenedesmus. The most commonly considered PUFAs are arachidonic acid (AA). which may be added to human food and animal feed for their health promoting properties (Benemann 1990. DHA by Crypthecodinium and Schizochytrium. The market size. Spirulina (Arthospira).000 t/yr Chlorella. fertility. and Thalassiosira.000 t/yr Spirulina. Spolaore et al. and EPA by Nannochloropsis. 2006). 500 t/yr Aphanizomenon. GLA from 97 . microalgal biomass up to a level of 5-10% (wt) can be safely used as a partial replacement for conventional proteins (Spoalore et al. Skeletonema. In poultry rations. massive lipid production dominates.5 billion US$. poultry. currently at about 2..g. The main species used in animal feed are Spirulina. yet in the short term. docohexaenoic acid (DHA). Tetraselmis. is quickly growing.. 2006). The market. 3. Dunaliella. only DHA has been produced thus far on a commercial scale by microalgae. The market for microalgal animal feeds.
. Radmer 1994. i. phycoerythrin and phycocyanin produced by the cyanobacterium Arthrospira and the rhodophyte Porphyridium. The most prominent is β–carotene from Dunaliella salina. Furthermore. has been successfully used as a salmon feed to give the fish meat a pink color preferred by the consumers (Olaizola 2003.e. 2006). and research. cosmetics (Spolaore et al. sold for the health food market. and the related carotenoids lutein and zeaxantin. iii) Anti-Oxidants A number of anti-oxidants. Pulz and Gross 2004).. Astaxanthin. Radmer 1996). 1986. Pulz and Gross 2004). Borowitzka 1986. 1986). which is sold either as an extract or as a whole cell powder ranging in price from 300 to 3. 2005.5 billion US$. have also been used in the feed of carp and even chicken (Puls and Gross. having presently a retail value of 1. Spolaore et al. Microalgal biomass could in principle serve the same purpose. 2001. macroalgae (i.. polysaccharides (Benemann 1990.. Singh et al. Spolarore et al. plant growth regulators could be derived from microalgae (Metting and Pyne.000 US$ per kg (Spolaore et al. 2006). the DHA oil market is quickly growing. iv) Coloring Agents Microalgae-produced coloring agents are used as natural dyes for food. are used as food dyes.. v) Fertilizers Currently. Although small. Olaizola 2003.. pharmaceuticals and bioactive compounds (Burja et al. vi) Other Specialty Products There are a number of specialty products and chemicals that can be obtained from microalgae. and stable isotopes for research (Benemann 1990... 2004. Pulz and Gross 2004). 2006).... Phycobiliproteins. 1990). seaweeds) are used as a plant fertilizer and to improve the water-binding capacity and mineral composition of depleted soils (Metting et al. Benemann 1990. Metting and Pyne. biopolymers and biodegradable plastics (Philip et al. Wu et al. pigments in cosmetics. The market for these specialty products is likely to be very small due to their rather large cost. 2006). have also been produced by microalgae (Borowtizka 1986. 2001).4397 4398 4399 4400 4401 4402 4403 4404 4405 4406 4407 4408 4409 4410 4411 4412 4413 4414 4415 4416 4417 4418 4419 4420 4421 4422 4423 4424 4425 4426 4427 4428 4429 4430 4431 evening primrose oil). or as pigments in animal feed (Borowitzka 1986. The market size for β–carotene is estimated to be greater than 280 million US$. Benemann 1990). 98 . a carotenoid produced by Hematococcus pluvialis. Astaxanthin.. 2006).e. and as fluorescent reagents in clinical or research laboratories (Spolaore et al. 2007. cosmetics. These include bioflocculants (Borowitzka 1986).
500 700 Sales Volume (million $US/yr) Reference Pulz&Gross (2004) Pulz&Gross (2004) Spolaore et al.. This is a high bar but has been achieved for some chemicals and proteins/nutritional products.000 2. growth promoters. fuel.. Here price is a major factor. soil conditioners 5. (2006) Pulz&Gross (2004) Pulz&Gross (2004) Pulz&Gross (2004) Metting&Pyne (1986) >280 100-150 Tocopherol CO2 Extract COLORING SUBSTANCES Astaxanthin < 300 (biomass) < 150 >10 >2 Phycocyanin Phycoerythrin FERTILIZERS/SOIL CONDITIONERS Fertilizers. 2. the only issue is price. Price becomes less of an issue if the product can be labeled ―organic‖.. Identical in functional performance to an existing chemical. (2006) Pulz&Gross (2004) Animal Feed 300 Additive POLY-UNSATURATED FATTY ACIDS (PUFAs) ARA 20 DHA PUFA Extracts GLA EPA ANTI-OXIDANTS Beta-Carotene 1. or other product. it must be produced at a cost 30% lower than the existing material (shutdown economics).000 1. This occurs with natural oils which manufacturers in many cases would prefer if the costs were comparable. The production cost of the new product must be equivalent to the material it replaces and to be competitive typically. to be commercially viable and acceptable.200 <300 1. (2006) Pulz&Gross (2004) Spolaore et al. or such replacements as algal proteins that can replace distiller‘s dried grains from corn dry grind ethanol processing. 99 . and thus sold for a premium. (2006) Pulz&Gross (2004) Spolaore et al. Identical to an existing chemical... but the source of the material can often provide some advantage.4432 4433 Table 4: Summary of microalgae commercial products market Commercial Product BIOMASS Health Food Aquaculture Market Size (tons/yr) 7. (2006) Pulz&Gross (2004) Pulz&Gross (2004) Spolaore et al.500 10 Pulz&Gross (2004) Pulz&Gross (2004) Spolaore et al. (2006) Spolaore et al.. In this instance.000 4434 4435 4436 4437 4438 4439 4440 4441 4442 4443 4444 4445 4446 4447 4448 4449 4450 Potential Options for the Recovery of Co-products Co-products from microalgae. must address one of these three criteria: 1. fuel or other product.
In this case. The most promising energy recovery technology. 4455 4456 4457 4458 4459 4460 4461 4462 4463 4464 4465 4466 4467 4468 4469 4470 4471 4472 4473 4474 4475 4476 4477 4478 4479 4480 4481 4482 4483 Figure 9: Overview of the five potential options for the recovery and use of co-products As shown in Figure 9. New material with unique and useful functional performance characteristics.4451 4452 4453 4454 3. which could then be either sold on the open market or used on-site in the various biorefinery operations. Therefore. is the anaerobic digestion of lipid extracted biomass. and the glycerol from the transesterification of lipids to biodiesel Option 5 – Recovery/Extraction of fuel lipids only.. with use of the residual biomass as soil fertilizer and conditioner Each option. the issues are less related to costs and more to the functional performance and potentially enhanced performance of the new product. it may be difficult to identify large enough markets for potential co-products. one option would be to convert as much of the lipid-extracted biomass into energy.e. both from a practical and economic perspective. Maximum Energy Recovery from the Lipid-Extracted Biomass. with Potential Use of Residuals as Soil Amendments Given the large amounts of lipid-extracted biomass residues that will likely be generated in future microalgal biofuels production systems. with potential use of residuals as soil amendments Option 2 – Recovery of protein from the lipid-extracted biomass for use in food and feed Option 3 – Recovery and utilization of non-fuel lipids Option 4 – Recovery and utilization of carbohydrates from lipid-extracted biomass. As reviewed in Huesemann and Benemann (2009). These are: Option 1 – Maximum energy recovery from the lipid extracted biomass. anaerobic digestion of whole (i. Option 1. non-extracted) 100 . and the associated technologies and future research needs are discussed below. there are at least five different options for recovering economic value from the lipid-extracted microalgal biomass.
these technologies are still in the testing and development stage. the mineral-rich ash generated by these thermochemical processes could possibly be used for nutrient recycle or as a soil amendment. could have poor or even negative energy balances (Huesemann and Benemann. which is significant in terms of reducing the overall cost of liquid biofuels production.pdf). as is currently already done for certain waste water treatment sludges (see http://www. Can the residues from anaerobic digestion and the ash generated by thermochemical processes be safely used as soil fertilizers or conditioners? Option 2.edu/p2/biodiesel/pdf/algae_salton_sea. 2007). nitrous oxides) could be recycled into the microalgal culture ponds. Recovery of Protein from the Lipid-Extracted Biomass for Use in Food and Feed Following the extraction of lipids from the microalgal biomass for liquid biofuel production. The R&D needs for Option 1 are as follows: Maximize the efficiency of the conversion of lipid-extracted biomass to energy by both anaerobic digestion and thermochemical processes. In addition to anaerobic digestion. Better understand the characteristics of lipid-extracted microalgal biomass as a feedstock for thermochemical conversion and anaerobic digestion. ammonia. poultry. the protein fraction from the residual biomass could be extracted and used as a food and feed supplement. and because of their large energy inputs (temperature and pressure). thereby reducing the expense for nitrogen fertilizers. Gain an increased understanding of nutrient recycling and recovery. fish.4484 4485 4486 4487 4488 4489 4490 4491 4492 4493 4494 4495 4496 4497 4498 4499 4500 4501 4502 4503 4504 4505 4506 4507 4508 4509 4510 4511 4512 4513 4514 4515 4516 4517 4518 4519 4520 4521 4522 4523 4524 4525 4526 4527 4528 4529 micro and macro-algal biomass has been successfully demonstrated. The economic value of the produced methane is equivalent to about $100 per ton of digested biomass.3 L per gram volatile solids.g.unh. thermochemical conversion technologies. pigs. As was pointed out above. Furthermore. the thermochemical conversion of lipid-extracted biomass has the potential advantage that the resulting nitrogen-containing gases (e. However. such as pyrolysis. Identify appropriate catalysts and determine the optimal process conditions and the net energy balances. 2009). Nevertheless. Find out if certain species are better suited for use in these processes. Can the gaseous nutrients be directly recycled into culture ponds or is some pre-treatment needed? Better understand the fertilization potential of residual product. The residuals remaining after anaerobic digestion could either be recycled as nutrients for algal cultivation or could be sold as soil fertilizers and conditioners. the market for animal feed (cattle.. The current price for DDGS ranges from $110-150 per ton 101 . with reported methane yields of about 0. could also be potentially considered for the recovery of energy from the lipid-extracted biomass (See Section 6). pets) is already very large and growing (estimated to rise to approximately 60 million tons per year for distillers dry grains plus soluble (DDGS)) (Berger and Good. gasification. and combustion.
usda. In addition. it may be possible to recover important enzymes such as cellulases or other industrial enzymes from the lipid-extracted biomass.. e. human nutrition may also benefit from supplementation with microalgal proteins.. the projected market for cellulases is potentially very large. specifically cellulases for pretreating lignocellulosic feedstocks prior to fermentation to fuel ethanol. Furthermore.5 billion gallons of lignocellulosic ethanol will be produced by 2020. However. supplementation with microalgal proteins could be advantageous. 1 billion kg.ams. i. Desire to reduce ethanol production cost by production of enzymes on site and move towards consolidated biorprocess in which the enzymes are produced by the ethanologen eliminating the need to purchase enzymes from an external source.e. Are there protein-based chemicals. Can we increase the yield of the desired protein or enzyme fraction without jeopardizing lipid productivities? Better understanding of amino acid recycling.4530 4531 4532 4533 4534 4535 4536 4537 4538 4539 4540 4541 4542 4543 4544 4545 4546 4547 4548 4549 4550 4551 4552 4553 4554 4555 4556 4557 4558 4559 4560 4561 4562 4563 4564 4565 4566 4567 4568 4569 4570 4571 4572 4573 4574 4575 (http://www. What tests can be done to ensure the continued quality of the protein.e. It must be said that entry into the cellulase market is fraught with uncertainty based on market share for industrial enzymes controlled by a handful of companies. i. glutamic acid. this option would require the use of specially selected or engineered microalgal strains capable of producing these enzymes. What is the effect of CO2 source (flue gas) on the quality of the protein (i. feed. The R&D needs for Option 2 are as follows: Better knowledge of the market for food.e. i. Assuming that (a) microalgal cellulases could be provided at a cost of less than $0.gov/mnreports/sj_gr225. the amino acids? Assessment of additional opportunities for protein-based chemicals. Since protein is generally a key.g. What extraction process is most effective and compatible with end-product use? Quality requirements for food/feed protein. avoid problems of heavy metal toxicity)? Are there any other impurities in the protein fraction that could be cause of concern? What is the shelf-life of the protein? How does the type of microalgal species affect the quality of the food/feed protein. with large market potential other than industrial enzymes that could be recovered from the lipid-extracted microalgal biomass? 102 .e.. and (c) at least 10. and often limiting ingredient in animal feed. and industrial enzymes. What is the potential market size? Who are the competitors? What are the price constraints? Improved understanding of the protein/enzyme extraction and recovery process.. The market for industrial enzymes. are certain species more suitable than others? To what extent are microalgal proteins assimilated by humans and animals and do they have beneficial effects? What are the regulatory requirements in terms of assuring the safety of microalgal proteins for human/animal consumption? Build molecular genetic tools for optimizing protein synthesis in microalgae.txt). (b) approximately 100 grams of cellulase are needed per gallon of ethanol. is potentially very large.20 per gallon ethanol.
Furthermore. and its applications include the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries (Datta et al. epoxies. Similarly. and specialty chemicals. butanol).. 2006).. etc. What is the fatty acid composition of the non-fuel fraction? Are there any impurities that could interfere with the manufacture of the desired co-products? Option 4. The R&D needs specific to Option 3 are stated below. including polymers that are currently produced from fossil oilderived ethylene and propylene. Hydrogen and ethanol could be used as biofuel. which is used in the formulation of a variety of industrial products such as 103 . succinic. Recovery and Utilization of Non-fuel Lipids It is well known that microalgae can synthesize a variety of fatty acids with carbon numbers ranging from C10 to C24. 2007). however to separate specific lipids present in the algal oil that have utility as chemical feedstocks s for the manufacture of surfactants. lubricants. butyric. a byproduct of the transesterification of microalgal lipids to biodiesel. 2007). For example. which can be converted into polypropylene oxide. Glycerol. Kamm and Kamm. It may be worthwhile. polycarbonates and polyurethanes. biodegradable plastics. propionic. depending on the algal species and culturing conditions (Hu et al. Since the generation of gasoline. Lactic acid. the residual microalgal biomass may contain sufficient levels of carbohydrates that could be converted through anaerobic dark fermentations to hydrogen.4576 4577 4578 4579 4580 4581 4582 4583 4584 4585 4586 4587 4588 4589 4590 4591 4592 4593 4594 4595 4596 4597 4598 4599 4600 4601 4602 4603 4604 4605 4606 4607 4608 4609 4610 4611 4612 4613 4614 4615 4616 4617 4618 4619 4620 4621 Option 3. solvents (acetone. acetic. 1995). ethanol. and the Glycerol from the Transesterification of Lipids to Biodiesel After the extraction of lipids. butanol is a valuable C4 compound for chemical synthesis of a variety of products. and specialty products such as urethanes. thus butanol could serve as a renewable substitute (Zerlov et al. jetfuel and diesel substitutes will require specific ranges of carbon chain length. could also be anaerobically fermented to the above mentioned and other end products (Yazdani and Gonzalez. and organic acids (formic. while butanol and organic acids could serve as renewable feedstocks for the chemicals industry. it is also used in the industrial production of green solvents. Kawaguchi et al. it will be necessary to either separate the product into the appropriate range or rearrange the carbon chains through catalytic cracking and catalytic reforming. glycerol could be converted by certain bacteria to 1. lactic) (Huesemann and Benemann. 2007. 2001).3propanediol.. 2008). Recovery and Utilization of Carbohydrates from Lipid-Extracted Biomass. green solvents and biodegradable plastics (Kamm and Kamm. detergents. What is the potential market size? Who are the competitors? What are the price constraints? Improved understanding of the fatty acid composition of microalgae used for biofuels production.. succinate is an intermediate in the production of a variety of industrial surfactants. 2009. bioplastics. is the starting material for the production of polyester. Better knowledge of the market for surfactants.
refined products including fuels and chemicals Overcome knowledge gaps related to the fermentation of microalgal sugars. Production of 1 billion gallons of biodiesel will result in the formation of more than 400.. antifreeze. proteins. including carbohydrates.biodieselmagazine. this option will also require R&D efforts as discussed under section 2. Choi. with Use of the Residual Biomass as Soil Fertilizer and Conditioner In case none of the above mentioned four options are economical. As was the case with Option 3. including sugars and complex carbohydrates. substituting for lignocellulosic materials derived from forestry resources. glycerol could be used to generate electricity directly in biofuel cells (Yildiz and Kadirgan. solvents. 1994).. Finally. aliphatic polyesters. What is the potential market size? Who are the competitors? What are the price constraints? Improved understanding of the market value of using algal carbohydrates as industrial starches vs.000 tons of glycerol (http://www.e. it is possible to revert to the most simple option (Option 5). such as easily accessible strain collections and data resources. adhesives. Once again. additional capacity from algal lipids may find it exceedingly difficult to find uses. 2007. What are the conversion yields and economics? What type of carbohydrate is specifically amenable to fermentation? How competitive is the process with sugars derived from agriculture (e. acids.. and the development of genetic engineering tools to improve yields of desired products. 2008). and carbohydrates is not cost-effective. and paint (Yazdani and Gonzalez. microalgal carbohydrates could be recycled into pulp and paper streams.com/article. which involves the extraction of 104 . Algal Biology.jsp?article_id=377). these are the development of high throughput technologies for the quantitative characterization of microalgal metabolites. the recovery and use of energy. i. The R&D needs for Option 4 are as follows: Better knowledge of the market for fermentation-derived solvents. and other specialty chemicals. non-fuel lipids. As the current production levels for biodiesel (700 million gallons in 2008) already has the market for glycerol saturated. It may also be possible to extract microalgal polysaccharides for use as emulsifiers in food and industrial applications (Mooibroek et al. specifically. the issue of scale enters in. corn) or agricultural wastes? How will impurities in the biomass feedstock (from flue gases?) impact the bioconversion of algal sugars to fuels and chemicals? Analysis of the impact of bioconversion of sugars on the complexity of biorefinery operations? How clean does the sugar stream have to be to be suitable as a fermentation feedstock? Availability of bioresource support services.4622 4623 4624 4625 4626 4627 4628 4629 4630 4631 4632 4633 4634 4635 4636 4637 4638 4639 4640 4641 4642 4643 4644 4645 4646 4647 4648 4649 4650 4651 4652 4653 4654 4655 4656 4657 4658 4659 4660 4661 4662 4663 4664 4665 4666 4667 polymers. Finally. This is really an overarching R&D need for Option 4 to be applicable. if desired. Recovery (Extraction) of Fuel Lipids Only. Option 5. 2007).g.
it is first necessary to have an understanding of the chosen process up until the point of lipid and co-product extraction. further studies founded on this perspective might be particularly useful and can appropriately be carried out by industrial entities—either alone or perhaps with government investment or partnership. When addressing the issue of co-products. if the correct conditions are not met. After the composition of the algae is broken down and the lipids are extracted. carbohydrates. it is most important to have knowledge of algal composition and lipid extraction.e. This material can be burned to produce little heat. is that it could be feasible or more cost effective to extract the co-product from the algae first and then remove the lipids later in the process.. that should be noted here.. but it is necessary to determine whether these same products can be produced from the residual biomass after lipid extraction. This issue has been observed with the dry feedstocks and is known as ―brown intractable material. for things such as animal feed or fertilizer.‖ After the carbohydrates are extracted from the feedstock (corn. the residual biomass composition (i. What is the potential market size? Who are the competitors? What are the price constraints? Improved understanding of the fertilization and soil conditioning potential of the residual biomass. it is assumed that the lipids are the primary product and as such they would be extracted first. proteins.e. This would need to be addressed before the process for lipid extraction is defined by the algal plant process model.) for the production of ethanol. However. This issue interfaces with the issues concerning conversion technologies (i. As was mentioned above. transesterification or thermochemical conversion) because depending on the conversion method used.4668 4669 4670 4671 4672 4673 4674 4675 4676 4677 4678 4679 4680 4681 4682 4683 4684 4685 4686 4687 4688 4689 4690 4691 4692 4693 4694 4695 4696 4697 4698 4699 4700 4701 4702 4703 4704 4705 4706 4707 4708 4709 4710 4711 only fuel lipids and the subsequent use of the biomass residues rich in nitrogen and organic matter as soil fertilizer and conditioners. For the purposes of the scope of this document. a particular co-product may not be feasible. and fats) may have structurally changed to the point where it is unusable for its intended purpose. but this is highly variable depending on the material that 105 . The R&D needs for Option 5 are as follows: Better knowledge of the market for soil fertilizers and conditioners derived from lipid-extracted biomass residues. then the residual biomass composition is virtually unusable for value-added co-products. In order to determine which co-products will be valuable to a particular algal plant process. One other option. What are the effects on soil quality? Is pretreatment needed? Is regulatory approval required? Crosscutting Areas / Interfaces There are a number of different interfaces with the other areas addressed in this roadmap that should be addressed. the market for organic fertilizer is large and potentially growing. etc. A number of different products can already be produced using algae. corn stover.
After the process for the scale-up production of a co-product is determined. 2004). whether this be by current standards of health and safety regulations for the applicable industry. The logistics related to the production and distribution of the chosen co-product(s) must be addressed in order to determine what the parameters are for scale-up production of the co-product. J. which could potentially change a great deal depending on the conversion method. fertilizer. an assessment must then be made as to whether the co-product still remains cost competitive. studies must first be conducted to determine whether co-products can actually be extracted from algae after the lipids are removed. It must then be determined whether the extracted co-products can be produced cost competitively. which were conducted by the DOE on sugars and lignin. J. The stability/sustainability of the residual biomass could potentially be a barrier to the production of the co-product on a large scale. then it must first be determined to be safe. then a site close to the intended distribution might be necessary. D. and G. For example. A study should be conducted that relates to the potential benefits and advantages of the size and siting of the algal plant with regard to the residual biomass streams. then it will not be worthwhile to invest in its production. needs to be addressed. If the sustainability of the produced co-product is limited. Health and safety codes must be maintained for any of the identified potential co-products from algae. Expectations for co-product revenues should be consistent with current market size for similar co-products. It is recommended that DOE. E. so a determination of whether the coproduct can be produced. White. maintained. J. F. T. It is recommended that the same methodology from these two studies be used to determine a list of the top costcompetitive co-products derived from algae. If the residual biomass is being used for animal feed. food supplements. The issues of quality and safety should coincide with both the production of the co-product and the scale-up production. 2007. This same problem could be faced after the lipid extraction from algae and therefore. There are also policy and regulatory implications and issues associated with the successful production and distribution of a cost-competitive co-product from algae. Johnson. Two such product analysis studies. Some of the risks associated with the logistics of co-product production may be alleviated by taking advantage of the size and siting of the algae plant itself. or under new regulations specific to algal coproducts. Werpy. if a suitable source of animal feed with a short life span is produced. produced a list of ―Top Ten Products‖ from sugars and from lignins (Bozell. and then shipped is also a factor that needs to be addressed. then issues related to siting and resources factor significantly into the discussion. then the site of the algae plant should be located near the animals that will consume it.. 106 . etc... In order to determine whether co-products are a viable option for algal plants wishing to produce them in conjunction with the production of fuel from lipids. J. Holladay.4712 4713 4714 4715 4716 4717 4718 4719 4720 4721 4722 4723 4724 4725 4726 4727 4728 4729 4730 4731 4732 4733 4734 4735 4736 4737 4738 4739 4740 4741 4742 4743 4744 4745 4746 4747 4748 4749 4750 4751 4752 4753 4754 4755 4756 4757 is left.. because if the co-product does not meet safety standards. Petersen. If it is possible to produce a cost-competitive co-product after removing the lipids. and other third parties like national labs.
. Johnson. Frank.R. Top Value Added Chemicals from Biomass.A. Jarvis. A. then the issue becomes whether it is cost competitive to scale up the production of the co-product(s) after they have been removed from the residual biomass..H. L. T. A. E. Darzins. and P. Abou-Mansour.. J.S. with special focus on Dunaliella sp.4758 4759 4760 4761 4762 4763 4764 4765 4766 4767 4768 4769 4770 4771 4772 4773 4774 4775 4776 4777 4778 4779 4780 4781 4782 4783 4784 4785 4786 4787 4788 4789 4790 4791 4792 4793 4794 4795 4796 4797 4798 4799 4800 4801 4802 participate in the development of the quality standards and regulations relating to the development of algal biofuels (section 10. 1986.pdf. cost-competitive coproducts from algae once the process for removing the lipids has occurred. ―Microalgae Products and Production: An Overview‖. Microbiological Sciences. 57:9347-9377. P.C. then the process for waste handling is also an area of concern that must be addressed. Department of Energy. Genomics. Choi. Good.R. Sommerfeld.P. ―Glycerol-based Biorefinery for Fuels and Chemicals‖. M. If biomass is produced that cannot be used as a valuable co-product. ―Biofuels from microalgae: Review of products. Ghirardi. ―Distillers Dried Grains Plus Solubles Utilization by Livestock and Poultry. F. Recent Pat. M. M. J. Borowitzka.G..gov/main/publications/external/technical_reports/PNNL-16983. Tsai. R. 2: 173-180.. and J. The Plant Journal. the issues relating to the quality of the co-products must be addressed in order to determine whether it is worthwhile to invest in the creating the co-product for market. 2001. Burgess.J. available at: www. 2008.S. B. Bonsignore. and S. In: The Alga Dunaliella: Biodiversity. Report PNNL-16983. and A. No. Benemann..L. ―Marine Cyanobacteria – A Prolific Source of Natural Products‖. Holladay. ―Technological and Economic Potential of Poly(lactic acid) and Lactic Acid Derivatives”. October 2007.M. 31:247-256. Suppl. Physiology. Wright. ―Catalytic processes towards the production of biofuels in a palm oil and oil palm biomass-based refinery‖.pnl. The topic of co-products from algae interfaces both with the process steps before and after their extraction. ―Microalgae as Sources of Fine Chemicals‖. Volume II – Results of Screening for Potential Candidates from Biorefinery Lignin. FEMS Microbiological Review 16:221-231.R. These are key barriers that interface with other sections in this roadmap. and Biotechnology. Banaigs. L. Developments in Industrial Microbiology... J. Burja. Seibert. References Benemann. Huesemann. Tetrahedon. It may not be possible to extract valuable. 2008. Also.H. E. S. J. Posewitz. University of Illinois. Bozell. 107 . M. If it is possible. Biotechnol. Ben-Amotz. processes. 3(12):372-375. Datta.‖. Bhatia.. 5). D. page 144). White. 54: 621-639. A Report from the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.. U. Bioresource Technology 99: 79117922. W. S. Moon and J. 2008. Q. and D.‖ in Corn-Based Ethanol in Illinois and the U.. Chew. M. J.L. 1990 (Journal of Industrial Microbiology. ―Microalgal Triacylglycerols as Feedstocks for Biofuel Production: Perspectives and Advances‖. Champaign-Urbana. E. and potential. Hu. 2007. Berger. J. M.
editor.V.. Adv. G. Shen. M.F.N. and J. ―Agronomic Uses of Seaweed and Microalgae‖.J. 2007. 108 . Richmond A. Sanders and A. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 66.W. and K.J.E. 76:85-90. 2006. Willke. 2004). editors. ―Industrial Bioconversion of Renewable Resources as an Alternative to Conventional Chemistry‖. 2007. ―Valuable Products from Biotechnology of Microalgae‖. Aquaculture. Spolaore. S. 174:323-342. Journal of Applied Phycology. 131-142. and B. I. Kate. and K. Science Publishers. S.D. 1996. and Z. 82:233-247. 2007. Applied Microbiology Biotechnology 77:257-267. Heasman. Biochem. 2009. Kawaguchi H. Radmer. T. 2005. B.A. M. 105:175-204. and D. Werpy. and A. S. Olaizola. Franssen. 65:635-648.H.4803 4804 4805 4806 4807 4808 4809 4810 4811 4812 4813 4814 4815 4816 4817 4818 4819 4820 4821 4822 4823 4824 4825 4826 4827 4828 4829 4830 4831 4832 4833 4834 4835 4836 4837 4838 4839 4840 4841 4842 4843 4844 4845 4846 4847 J. J. 101(2):87-96.. B. 2003. ―Evaluation of Live Microalgae and Microalgal Pastes as Supplementary Food for Juvenile Pacific Oysters (Crassostrea gigas)‖.. Bioresource Technology. J. Joannis-Cassan. 1990. and Z. Q. 46(4):263270. Keshavarz.J. Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering. Parker. Pulz.. Biotechnol.M. Scott. K. Netherlands. Roy. Toonen. Banerjee. and J. Crouch. Wu. ―H2 production from algal biomass by a mixed culture of Rhodobium marinum A-501 and Lactobacillus amylovorus‖. Biomolecular Engineering. McCausland. ―Accumulation of Poly-b-hydroxybutyrate in Cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. Pyne.Y. Hashimoto. 8: 386-394. H. and I. Gross. pp. Kamm. Miyamoto. Duran.P. 2004. and W. I. Department of Energy (August.. ―Commercial Applications of Microalgae‖. 2004. Giuseppin. Metting. O. 2001. 2001. M. Barrett. C. Kamm. ―Commercial Applications of Algae: Opportunities and Constraints‖...R. Hirata. E. Steinbüchel. PCC6803‖. Wu.Y. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. Brown. 20: 459-466. Singh. and U. Biosciences Bioengineering 91:277-282. SPB Academic Publishing. 1994. In: Introduction to Applied Phycology. 1999. The Hague. J. ―Polyhydroxyalkanoates: Biodegradable Polymers with a Range of Applications (Review)‖. Outdoors‖. ―Bioactive Compounds from Cyanobacteria and Microalgae: An Overview‖. New Hampshire. ―Optimization of a Plate Glass Reactor for Mass Production of Nannochloropsis sp..C. Philip. Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology. K. B. 1986. Isambert. ―Biologically Active Compounds from Microalgae‖. 85:259-269.. ―Algal Diversity and Commercial Algal Products‖. ―Assessment of Technological Options and Economical Feasibility for Cyanophycin Biopolymer and High-Value Amino Acid Production‖. T. Petersen. M.W. Metting. 6:93-98. 2001. van Staden. Critical Reviews in Biotechnology. B. R. Oosterhuis. Vorlop. 2004. BioScience. Engin. T. and M. Akatsuka. R. Diemar. E.. W. J. 25:73-95. H. 589-627. Enzyme Microbial Technology. Radmer. Subba Rao. and M. Cheng-Wu.‖ National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Polle. Zimmerman. P. ―Top Value Added Chemicals from Biomass: Volume 1 Results of Screening for Potential Candidates from Sugars and Synthesis Gas. Mooibroek. M.C. and G..A. N. ―Commercial Development of Microalgal Biotechnology: From the Test Tube to the Marketplace‖. ―Biorefineries – Multi Product Processes‖./Biotechnol..
. 2006. and R. and W. Electrochem. Yildiz. ―Bacterial Acetone and Butanol Production by Industrial Fermentation in the Soviet Union: Use of Hydrolyzed Agricultural Waste for Biorefinery‖.4848 4849 4850 4851 4852 4853 4854 4855 4856 Yazdani. S. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. Schwarz. and F. Current Opinion Biotechnology 18:213-219. 71:587-597.V.Soc. Zerlov. 109 . ―Anaerobic Fermentation of Glycerol: a Path to Economic Viability for the Biofuels Industry‖.S. Gonzalez.H. G. ―Electrocatalytic Oxidation of Glycerol‖.A. G. 141:723-730. O. Berezina. Velikodvorskaya. Kadirgan. J. V. 2007. 1994.
and 2) end-use that is clearly beneficial to the customer.g. Finally. Distribution In general. it is well known that the ethanol in ethanol-gasoline blends can be extracted out of the gasoline phase if the blend comes in contact with an aqueous phase. are readily compatible with current pipeline and tanker distribution systems. In contrast. In particular. and finally algal biofuels in the longer term but at the greatest scale. Additional tests are being conducted to learn how to avoid the potential accelerated corrosion. in the longer term (10 years). algae hold tremendous potential for the long-term biofuels strategy for transportation energy within the United States. It is also anticipated that gasoline range fuels that include higher alcohols. Early trials of shipping ethanol containing gasoline blends in pipelines revealed a potential for accelerated corrosion of the pipelines.e. the same cannot be said for all transportation biofuels. And while. such as butanol or other advanced (synthetic) pure hydrocarbons (e. 110 . will not require significant distribution system modifications. Distribution and Utilization The final two steps for successful large-scale production of algae-derived blendstocks and their penetration into existing petroleum-fuel markets are: 1) cost-effective distribution from the point of production to refueling locations. several different issues arise depending on the biofuels‘ molecules (i. the longer investment timeframe required for algae fits nicely with a strategic biofuels portfolio which also includes starch ethanol now.4857 4858 4859 4860 4861 4862 4863 4864 4865 4866 4867 4868 4869 4870 4871 4872 4873 4874 4875 4876 4877 4878 4879 4880 4881 4882 4883 4884 4885 4886 4887 4888 4889 4890 4891 4892 4893 4894 4895 4896 4897 4898 4899 8. ethanol presents several challenges with respect to distribution and blending into finished gasoline blends. those derived from isoprenoids). are they in the range of C4 to C10 molecules or diesel/jet fuel range hydrocarbons with C11 to C20 molecules). Ethanol is not directly compatible with existing pipeline equipment and practices. the transportation from refinery to refueling stations of non-oxygenated hydrocarbon biofuels produced from algae do not pose any unique challenges as compared to fossil-derived fuels. which include biodiesel (FAMEs) or hydrotreated algal oils. In considering distribution and utilization. Fuels that are blends.. For this and other reasons discussed in this report. biofuels from algae present an opportunity at the greatest scale with very attractive sustainability characteristics and concurrent opportunities for both co-product development and utilization of existing petrochemical infrastructure (from refining to distribution). petroleum product pipelines do not originate near the ethanol production facilities. cellulosic ethanol soon followed by other cellulosic biofuels shortly thereafter. Further. and their degree of oxygenation of the fuel.. the fractional contribution of particular hydrocarbon species in the final fuel. This phenomenon is referred to as a low ―water tolerance‖ and it is problematic since tanks and vessels used to store and blend petroleum products typically have an aqueous phase at the bottom of the tank/vessel.
.. emissions (regulated and unregulated). researchers should be continually re-evaluating the conversion process to seek algaederived compounds with improved performance. 2008e]). cold-weather performance. low-temperature heat release. metal content.4900 4901 4902 4903 4904 4905 4906 4907 4908 4909 4910 4911 4912 4913 4914 4915 4916 4917 4918 4919 4920 4921 4922 4923 4924 4925 4926 4927 4928 4929 4930 4931 4932 4933 4934 4935 4936 4937 4938 4939 4940 4941 4942 4943 4944 Utilization The last remaining hurdle to creating a marketable new fuel after it has been successfully delivered to the refueling location is that the fuel must meet regulatory and customer requirements. and environmental characteristics relative to their petroleum-derived hydrocarbon counterparts. flash point. These classifications were selected because the compounds comprising them are largely distinct and non-overlapping. distillation curve. The discussion below is divided into separate sections that deal with algal blendstocks to replace gasoline-boiling-range and middle-distillate-range petroleum products. Some notable examples included: elastomer-compatibility issues that led to fuel-system leaks when blending of ethanol with gasoline was initiated. Failure of a fuel to comply with even one of the many allowable property ranges within the prevailing specification can lead to severe problems in the field. at least not until significant market penetration has occurred). Within each of these classifications. Typically. water tolerance. corrosivity. hence. some of these are energy density. and ASTM. 2008c). latent heat.e. and sulfur and phosphorus content. The Workshop discussions on utilization issues surfaced another guiding truth that it is unreasonable to expect new specifications to be developed for algal fuels in the near term (i. 2008d. In addition to meeting fuel standard specifications. as with all transportation fuels.g. As mentioned in section 6. ASTM. handling. producers of algal fuels should strive to meet prevailing petroleum-fuel specifications. environmental fate. specific heat. 2007). hydrocarbon compounds and oxygenated compounds are treated separately. toxicity. since their production processes and in-use characteristics are generally different. lubricity.. odor/taste thresholds. and prohibiting or limiting the use of the oxygenated gasoline additive MTBE in 25 states because it has contaminated drinking-water supplies (USEPA. oxidative and biological stability. ignition quality. Algal Biofuel Conversion Technologies. compliance with specifications promulgated by organizations such as ASTM International ensures that a fuel is fit for purpose (ASTM. viscosity. such a fuel is said to be ―fit for purpose. Nevertheless. cold-weather performance problems that crippled fleets when blending biodiesel with diesel was initiated in Minnesota in the winter. [ASTM. elastomer compatibility. respectively. 111 . If significant benefits can be demonstrated. algal biofuels. 2008b. Petroleum refiners have shown remarkable flexibility in producing fit for purpose fuels from feedstocks ranging from light crude to heavy crude to oil shales to tar sands to gasified coal to chicken fat and are thus among the stakeholders in reducing the uncertainty about the suitability of algal lipids as a feedstock for fuel production.‖ Many physical and chemical properties are important in determining whether a fuel is fit for purpose. and ASTM. 2008a. must meet Environmental Protection Agency regulations on combustion engine emissions. new specifications can be developed (e.
algae are already capable of producing alcohol (ethanol) directly. Biodiesel has been demonstrated to be a viable fuel for compression-ignition engines. Algal lipids can be used to produce renewable diesel or synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPK). a blendstock for jet fuel. and 3) end-product variability. as was the case with algal biodiesel. The primary end-use issues for plant-derived biodiesel are: lower oxidative stability than petroleum diesel.. metals. [Aatola. phosphorus) from the algal biomass and/or growth medium. higher emissions of nitrogen oxides (NO x). Algal Blendstocks for Alcohol and Gasoline-Range Petroleum Products While much of the attention paid to algae is focused on producing lipids and the subsequent conversion of the lipids to diesel-range blending components (discussed above). Petroleum products in the alcohols and gasoline range provide the major volume of fuels used by transportation vehicles and small combustion engines in the United States. 2008d). Ethanol or butanols are the most common biofuels currently being considered for use in gasoline. The oxidative-stability and cold-weather performance issues of biodiesel preclude it from use as a jet fuel. both when used as a blend with petroleumderived diesel and when used in its neat form (i. Oxygenates: Biodiesel Biodiesel is defined as ―mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats‖ (ASTM.to branched-chain paraffins). et al. transformed from straight. paraffinic fuel produced by hydrotreating bio-derived fats or oils in a refinery (e. 2008).e.. The anticipated issues with algae-derived biodiesel are similar.. and renewable diesel actually tends to decrease engine-out NOx emissions. unless they are heavily isomerized (i. These blendstocks do not have oxidative-stability problems as severe as those of biodiesel.e. 100% esters) (Graboski. The known and anticipated end-use problem areas for each are briefly surveyed below. Hydrocarbons: Renewable Diesel and Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene The hydrocarbon analog to biodiesel is renewable diesel. 1998). and there are several other potential gasoline-range products that could be produced by algae-based technology/biorefineries. sulfur. the hydro-treating of bio-derived fats or oils in a refinery will typically yield a modest amount gasoline boiling-range hydrocarbon molecules. Nevertheless.g. which is a non-oxygenated. The primary algae-derived blendstocks that are suitable for use in this product range are biodiesel (oxygenated molecules) and renewable diesel (hydrocarbon molecules). toxins. or catalyst poisons ( e. with added potential difficulties including: 1) contamination of the esters with chlorophyll.g. renewable diesel and SPK will have comparable cold-weather performance problems as those experienced with biodiesel.. 2008]). Refiners refer to this material as ―hydro-cracked 112 . Additionally. and cold-weather performance problems (Knothe.. Also. 2) undesired performance effects due to different chemical compositions. and these alcohols can be produced from fermentation of starches and other carbohydrates contained in algae. contaminants and end-product variability are concerns.4945 4946 4947 4948 4949 4950 4951 4952 4953 4954 4955 4956 4957 4958 4959 4960 4961 4962 4963 4964 4965 4966 4967 4968 4969 4970 4971 4972 4973 4974 4975 4976 4977 4978 4979 4980 4981 4982 4983 4984 4985 4986 4987 4988 4989 4990 Algal Blendstocks to Replace Middle-Distillate Petroleum Products Petroleum ―middle distillates‖ are typically used to create diesel and jet fuels.
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naphtha.‖ This naphtha tends to have a very low blending octane, and would normally be ―reformed‖ in a catalytic reformer within the refinery to increase i ts blending octane value prior to use in a gasoline blend.
The primary research efforts required to enable optimal algae-derived blendstock utilization are relatively independent of whether oxygenates or hydrocarbons are produced. These efforts are: 1) characterization studies to quantify contaminants and endproduct variability depending on the production process; 2) engine performance and emissions testing for early identification of undesired characteristics; and 3) tailoring the algal fatty-acid profile to mitigate fit-for-purpose issues and to ultimately enhance value relative to corresponding petroleum products.
Aatola, H., Larmi, M., Sarjovaara, T., and Mikkonen, S., "Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) as a Renewable Diesel Fuel: Trade-off between NOx, Particulate Emission, and Fuel Consumption of a Heavy Duty Engine," SAE Paper 2008-01-2500, SAE Trans. 117, Sect. 3, 2008. ASTM International, "Standard Specification for Diesel Fuel Oils," ASTM International Report: ASTM D 975, 2008a. ASTM International, "Standard Specification for Automotive Spark-Ignition Engine Fuel," ASTM International Report: ASTM D 4814, 2008b. ASTM International, "Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuels," ASTM International Report: ASTM D 1655, 2008c. http://www.epa.gov/otaq/consumer/fuels/mtbe/mtbe.htm. ASTM International, "Standard Specification for Biodiesel Fuel Blend Stock (B100) for Middle Distillate Fuels," ASTM International Report: ASTM D 6751, 2008d. ASTM International, "Standard Specification for Diesel Fuel Oil, Biodiesel Blend (B6 to B20)," ASTM International Report: ASTM D 7467, 2008e. Graboski, M.S. and McCormick, R.L., "Combustion of Fat and Vegetable Oil Derived Fuels in Diesel Engines," Progress in Energy and Combustion Science 24, pp. 125164, 1998. Knothe, G., "'Designer' Biodiesel: Optimizing Fatty Ester Composition to Improve Fuel Properties," Energy & Fuels 22, pp. 1358-1364, 2008. USEPA, "State Actions Banning MTBE (Statewide)," U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Report: EPA420-B-07-013, 2007. Online source,
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Resources and Siting
Successfully developing and scaling algal biofuels production, as with any biomass-based technology and industry, is highly dependent on siting and resources. Critical requirements, such as suitable land and climate, sustainable water resources, CO 2 and other nutrients must be appropriately aligned in terms of their geo-location, characteristics, availability, and affordability. Technical and economic success concurrent with minimal adverse environmental impact necessitates the matching of both, the siting and resource factors to the required growth conditions of the particular algae species being cultivated and the engineered growth system designs being developed and deployed. Assessments of the resource requirements and availability for large-scale autotrophic algal cultivation were conducted during the Aquatic Species Program [e.g., Maxwell, et.al., (1985)], primarily in the Southwest region of the United States. Many of the findings of this and other earlier assessments still hold true today. Sufficient resources were identified by Maxewell, et.al. (1985) for the production of many billions of gallons of fuel, suggesting that algae have the potential to significantly impact U.S. petroleum consumption. However, the costs of these resources can vary widely depending upon such factors as land leveling requirements, depth of aquifers, distance from CO2 point sources, and others. Figure 9-1 provides a simple high-level illustration of the major resource and environmental parameters that pertain to the inputs of climate, water, and land. These parameters are of greatest importance to siting, design, production efficiency, and costs. For each parameter, a variety of conditions may be more or less cost-effective to siting and operation of algal biomass production. In this section an overview of the critical resources for algal growth systems, specifically climate, water, carbon dioxide, and land, is presented. This is followed by in-depth discussion of algae biomass production relative to wastewater treatment and to CO2 sequestration, both of which determine relevant siting opportunities for algal biofuel production. Analysis of current algal-based wastewater treatment techniques showing potential technical considerations for co-producing algal biofuel, such as recycling of wastewater is included. Similarly, the challenges associated with algae production from CO2 emitters are outlined. Finally, the focus of this section is on siting and resource issues associated with algae biomass production based on autotrophic growth using energy from sunlight and the need for inorganic carbon and other key nutrients. It should be noted that heterotrophic algae that do not require light energy can be cultivated in waste treatment facilities or in closed industrial bioreactors in many locations throughout the country, and thus for the use of algae in this approach, an entirely different set of siting and resource criteria come into play. However, the affordable scale-up and successful commercial expansion via heterotrophic algae still requires an organic carbon feedstock – sugars - that ultimately 114
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links back to a photosynthetic origin (see Appendix Figure A-1). Given that the use of sugars from cane, beets, and other sugar crops or from the hydrolysis of starch grain crops retains the problematic linkage of biofuel production with competing food markets, the preferred source of sugars or other appropriate organic carbon feedstocks for use with heterotrophic algae would be based on the successful deconstruction of lignocellulosic materials given their scale-up potential. Obtaining these sugars for conversion to fuels is being undertaken and reported elsewhere (e.g., DOE 2006). For that reason, the siting and resource issues for heterotrophic algal production will not be further addressed in this section.
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Figure 9-1. Land, water, climate, CO2, and other nutrients represent key siting and resource elements for algae biofuel production. Additional resources include power, energy, materials, capital, labor, and other inputs associated with establishing facilities infrastructure and conducting operations and maintenance. Source: Maxwell, et.al. (1985)
Various climate elements affect algae production. As illustrated in Figure 9-1, these include solar radiation, temperature, precipitation, evaporation, and severe weather. Closed photo-bioreactors are less sensitive to climate variability than open ponds due to the more controlled environment that closed systems can provide. Of all the key climate elements, temperature, availability of sunlight and the length of growing season will most directly affect productivity, whereas precipitation, evaporation, and severe weather will affect water supply and quality. These factors are discussed in more detail in the Appendix. Equally important for algae growth with both open and closed cultivation systems is the availability of abundant sunlight. The majority of the country is suitable for algae production from the standpoint of having sufficiently high solar radiation (with parts of Hawaii, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida being most promising).
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Some northern areas, such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and New England would have very low productivity in the winter months. Growth of algae is technically feasible in all parts of the U.S., but the availability of adequate sunlight and the suitability of climate and temperature are key siting and resource factors that will determine economic feasibility. Additional factors could conceivably mitigate what might otherwise appear to be uneconomical resource conditions, however, this would require systems that would likely be closed and highly integrated with co-located industries providing synergistic opportunities for utilizing waste heat and energy and are thus not analyzed at length here. Such analyses would need to include assessment of the monthly or seasonal solar radiation, ambient temperature ranges, and establish minimum economically-feasible operational requirement values for the winter months. Various species of microalgae of interest for biofuel feedstock production grow under a wide range of temperatures. High annual production for a given species, however, will require that suitable climatic conditions exist for a major part of the year (Maxwell et al. 1985). Therefore, a critical climate issue for open pond systems is the length of economically viable growing season for the particular strains of algae being cultivated. The analog for this with more conventional terrestrial crops is the length of time between the last killing frost in the spring and the first killing frost in the fall, although this terrestrial crop definition does not precisely apply to algae. Like terrestrial crops, however, the primary factors for determining a growing season length does correlate with latitude and altitude. Areas with relatively long growing seasons (240 days or more) are the lower elevation regions of the lower latitude states of Hawaii, Florida, and parts of Louisiana, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, and California. Thorough analysis (preferably on a state-by-state basis), supplied with detailed data is needed to assess the areas most suitable for open pond systems based on this climate factor. It is encouraging that researchers today are not only concerned with finding algae with high oil yield, but also with algae that grow well under severe climate conditions, particularly extreme temperature. Precipitation affects water availability (both surface and groundwater) at a given location within a given watershed region. Areas with higher annual average precipitation (more than 40 inches), represented by specific regions of Hawaii, the Northwest, and the Southeast United States, are very desirable for algae production from the standpoint of long-term availability and sustainability of water supply. Evaporation increases water requirements for an open algae growth system, making it a critical factor to consider when choosing locations for open pond farming. Evaporation is a less important criterion for selecting locations of closed photobioreactors, although evaporative cooling is often considered as means to address increased culture temperatures associated with photobioreactors. Southwestern states and Hawaii have the highest evaporation rates in the country, with more than 60 inches annually. A thorough evaluation of this climate factor will contribute to the assessment of water requirements, implications for sustainable production scale-up, and overall economics. Severe weather events, such as heavy rain and flooding, hail storms, dust storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes pose serious concerns in regions of the Central states, Southwest, Southeast, and coastal areas. These weather events can contaminate an open pond environment or cause physical damage to
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both open and closed systems, and needs to be taken into account when looking at prospects for algae production in inland and coastal regions of the United States.
One of the major benefits of growing algae is that, unlike terrestrial agriculture, algal culture can utilize impaired water (water with few competing uses), such as saline and brackish water, or ―co-produced water‖ from oil, natural gas, and coal-bed methane wells. For open pond systems with high rates of evaporation, however, salinity will tend to increase over time meaning that it is likely that some non-saline make-up water will be required, or some form of desalination treatment applied, to maintain water chemistry within range limits that are suitable for algal growth. Alternatively, open algal ponds may have to periodically be drained and re-filled, or staged as a cascading sequence of increasingly saline ponds with different algae species and growth conditions, to maintain water chemistry required for successful algal cultivation. Implementing water desalination would impose additional capital, energy, and operational costs. Disposal of high salt content effluent or solid by-products, from pond drainage and replacement, or from desalination operations, also becomes an environmental problem for inland locations. Some salt by-products may have commercial value, depending on the chemistry. Water balance and management, along with associated salt build-up and management issues, from both a resource perspective and an algal cultivation perspective, are important areas for future research, modeling, and field assessment. In 2000, total U.S. freshwater and saline-water withdrawals were estimated at 408,000 million gallons per day (Mgal/d), as shown in Figures 9-2 and 9-3. Saline water (seawater) withdrawals were about 15% of the total, as illustrated in Figure 9-3. Almost all saline water, more than 96%, is used by the thermoelectric-power industry to cool electricity-generating equipment. Naturally, the coastal states make the most use of saline water with California, Florida, and Maryland accounting for 50% of all saline water withdrawals. Saline groundwater is used by geothermal power plants in Nevada (78.7 Mgal/d), California (32.9 Mgal/d), and Utah (0.87 Mgal/d), as well as by the thermoelectric power plants in Hawaii (1,200 Mgal/d). Saline groundwater withdrawals are not included in the groundwater withdrawals shown in the graph on the right side in Figure 9-3 (USGS 2000).
Estimated fresh water use in the United States by sector in the years 1980 and 2000. Future expansion of fresh water supplies for nonagricultural use is expected to come from the desalination of saline or brackish water sources and from the treatment and reuse of wastewater (DOE 2006b).S.al. 5196 5197 5198 5199 5200 5201 5202 5203 5204 Figure 9-3. et. Estimated surface and ground water use in the United States during the years 1950-2000. Figure 9-3 indicates a growing withdrawal of water between 1950 and 1980. Between 1980 and 1990. NAS 2007. et. Source: Hutson. the use of non-fresh water sources will need to be emphasized in the face of the growing competition and demands on limited sustainable fresh water supplies (DOE 2006b. The recent trend may indicate that fresh water sources in the U.al. Hightower. Climate change is also recognized as a factor that could affect all sectors of water 118 . Pate. (2004). et. 2008). Source: Hutson. et. is approaching full allocation as well as emphasis towards conservation. When considering the water resources needed for the future development and expansion of algal biofuel production.al.al. 2007..5183 5184 5185 5186 5187 5188 5189 5190 5191 5192 5193 5194 5195 Figure 9-2. the withdrawal dropped and remained fairly constant. (2004).
which can be expected to be significantly reduced if closed or hybrid systems are used. The unique ability of many species of algae to grow in non-fresh water over a range of salinities means that. natural gas. Produced water from petroleum. and sustainable withdrawal rates for these non-fresh ground water resources. and to predict the effects of its extraction on the environment (Alley 2003). local aquifers may be available through state agencies and private engineering companies. depth information determines the cost of drilling and operating (including energy input requirements for pumping) a well in a given location [Maxwell et al. in addition to coastal and possible off-shore areas. 119 . Some of this information is available for major aquifers. and residential development in water sparse regions of the country.5205 5206 5207 5208 5209 5210 5211 5212 5213 5214 5215 5216 5217 5218 5219 5220 5221 5222 5223 5224 5225 5226 5227 5228 5229 5230 5231 5232 5233 5234 5235 5236 5237 5238 5239 5240 5241 5242 5243 5244 5245 5246 5247 5248 5249 5250 resources supply and management in the future (USGS 2009). therefore newer and more upto-date information needs to be collected to improve our understanding of this resource in support of more detailed algae siting analyses. other inland parts of the country can be targeted for algae production where brackish or saline groundwater supplies may be both ample and unused or underutilized. quantity. Saline groundwater resources. closed vs. Water use and consumption for algae-based biofuels will clearly be dependent on the type of growth systems used (open vs. Depth to groundwater is pertinent to the economics of resource development. recharge rate. it will also be important to consider water use for the overall value chain from algal cultivation through harvesting and post-processing into fuels and other products. Location. Integrating algae production with wastewater treatment. Beyond evaporative water loss associated with algae cultivation (See Appendix). potential yield. depth. Along the way. particularly deeper aquifers that are largely unregulated by state engineers and water authorities. etc. weather conditions (cloud cover.). depth. solar insolation. commercial. and coal bed methane wells is an additional underutilized water resource that can range in quality from nearly fresh to hyper-saline. combination) and site-specific details of climate. Another complicating factor will be the degree of salinity of the water used for cultivation. wind. The locations and depths of saline aquifers in the United States is based on data from 1965. if these aquifers are spread over large geographic areas. detailed analysis is difficult. collect. Data on brackish and saline groundwater resources is very outdated. discussed later in this section. and quality (chemical components and characteristics) are critical in assessing non-fresh groundwater aquifer resource availability and suitability for algae production. (1985)]. Data on small. However. An improved knowledge base is needed to better define the spatial distribution. physical and chemical characteristics. leverages water that is potentially available. such as high population growth areas of the Southwest (Clark 2009). Along with geological data. and analyze this information. the last time this sort of survey was taken. but a significant effort would be required to identify. are also increasingly being looked at as a source of water for treatment and use to meet growing needs for other industrial. Locations closer to the surface would provide a cost effective way for algae production. sustainability of supply. humidity.
depending on systems and processes details. both in terms of overall input supply needs and consumption. Dedicated algae production could provide excellent opportunity for the utilization of fossil carbon emissions and serve as a complement to subsurface sequestration. it will be necessary to provide a CO2 source that is suitably free of materials that would be toxic to algae. and residential and commercial buildings. In summary. Algae will only utilize CO2 during daylight hours when photosynthesis is active with the rate of effective CO2 uptake varying with the algae species. This volume of diesel-equivalent fuel represents on the order of 50% to 150% of current U. The concept of co-locating these facilities with an algae farm (discussed later in length) provides an effective approach to recycle the CO 2 into a useable liquid fuel. water utilization for algal biomass and downstream production of biofuels. and details of growth system and incident light conditions. If half of current U. or 1-billion metric tons of CO2 per year. transportation. Therefore. and may well also be saved. is not a simple issue. Not all CO2 emissions are suitable for capture and use with algae production although CO2 could be captured from large stationary emission sources. could be effectively captured and used for algae biomass growth. Carbon Dioxide Optimal algae growth occurs in a CO2 enriched environment. 120 . industrial processes. The largest anthropogenic source of CO2 emissions in the United States is the combustion of fossil fuels used in power generation. and recycled. power plant emissions. About 6 billion metric tons of CO 2 are emitted annually from these sources in the United States with power generation (mainly coal) alone representing 40% of the total. the requirements for CO2 supply to enhance algae production. or more than 2 billion metric tons per year (EIA 2008).S.S. excessive amount of sulfur compounds typically found in coal-fired flue gas will be toxic to algae cultivation. Detailed analysis of industrial CO2 emissions from point sources would provide a more refined estimate of this resource availability for algae production. and analysis and experiments are both needed to leverage those resources. including natural gas treatment plants and ammonia production facilities. In addition. the result could be the annual production of an estimated 200 to 600 million gallons of algal-based biofuels. and the matching of CO2 source availability with algal cultivation facilities. reclaimed. use of diesel fuel for transportation. biomass growth rate. There is considerable untapped potential for utilizing brackish. and co-produced water.5251 5252 5253 5254 5255 5256 5257 5258 5259 5260 5261 5262 5263 5264 5265 5266 5267 5268 5269 5270 5271 5272 5273 5274 5275 5276 5277 5278 5279 5280 5281 5282 5283 5284 5285 5286 5287 5288 5289 5290 5291 5292 5293 5294 5295 additional water will be used and consumed. such as power plants and industrial facilities. saline. as further discussed in the Systems and Techno Economic Analysis section of this report. Utilization of CO2 by algae is further illustrated in the Systems and TechnoEconomic Analysis section of this report. Applications separating CO2 in large industrial plants. are already in operation today (Rubin 2005). Table 9-1 provides more information on the major CO2 sources in the United States. warrants closer attention and assessment to better understand and refine water use requirements. For example.
algae will be constrained by a practical upper limit on the amount of biomass growth that can be achieved per unit of illuminated surface. Algal productivity is measured in terms of biomass produced per day per unit of available surface area (typically in units of grams/meter2/day or tons/acre/year of dry-weightequivalent biomass).5 41.3 7. annual average of 60 g/m2/day with 50 % oil content on a dry weight basis). the equivalent volume of oil feedstock could potentially be produced with only 10. Even at levels of productivity that would stretch the limits of an aggressive R&D program (e.6 90. Soybeans.002 163 13 665 53 475 173 4.9 3. economic.9 3. Major stationary CO2 sources in the United States [NATCARB (2008)] CATEGORY Ag Processing Cement Plants Electricity Generation Ethanol Plants Fertilizer Industrial Other Petroleum and Natural Gas Processing Refineries/Chemical Total CO2 EMISSIONS Million Metric Ton/Year 6.000 miles2 of land area.796 5296 5297 5298 5299 5300 5301 5302 5303 5304 5305 5306 5307 5308 5309 5310 5311 5312 5313 5314 5315 5316 5317 5318 5319 5320 5321 5322 5323 5324 Land Land availability is important for algae production because either open ponds or closed systems would require relatively large areas for implementation. such systems will require 500 acres of land to produce 10 million gal/yr of oil feedstock. To put land requirements for biofuel production in perspective.g.3 2..S. Also contributing to overall limitations of productivity per unit of surface area is the fact that algal cells nearest the illuminated surface absorb the light and shade their neighbors farther from the light source.276. Based on the higher yields possible with algae. as 121 .Table 9-1.S.0 141.2 196.5 times the current amount of U. (which includes 44 billion gallons of petroleum diesel for transportation) would require unrealistically and unsustainably large cultivation areas using conventional oilseed crops. as discussed further in the Systems and Techno-Economics section of this report. Large surface area is required for algal production systems because of the limits on available sunlight energy and the photosynthesis-based conversion efficiency for algae biomass production. would require a land area equivalent to approximately 1 million miles 2 or roughly 1. legal. social.3 86. cropland (as illustrated by the larger rectangle in Figure 9-5). and political factors. Land availability is influenced by many physical. the amount of cropland that would be required to replace half of the 64 billion gallons/year of petroleum currently used in the U.702.1 Number of Sources 140 112 3. Despite having higher photosynthetic efficiencies than terrestrial plants. with an average oil yield of about 50-gal per acre.
5328 5329 5330 5331 5332 5333 5334 5335 5336 5337 5338 5339 5340 5341 5342 5343 5344 5345 5346 5347 5348 5349 5350 5351 5352 5353 Figure 9-4. but also due to the increased costs of site development.. This is illustrated further in the Systems and Techno-Economics section of this report. Publicly and privately owned lands are subject to variable use. affect the construction costs and design of open systems by virtue of the need for pond lining or sealing. and particularly their porosity / permeability characteristics. et. such as topography and soil. which means that environmental assessments and/or environmental impact statements would be required as part of the approval process. Indian reservations also comprise a significant portion of this land. 2006. These considerations can significantly reduce the land area available for algae development. Much of the land in the West is government owned. (2008) Millions of acres of relatively low productivity/low value land exists in the United States (USDA. Land requirement. Areas with more than 5% slope can be effectively eliminated from consideration for site development not only due to the intrinsic needs of the technology. Land ownership information provides valuable insights on which policies and parties could affect project development. 122 .5325 5326 5327 illustrated by the contrasting land footprint areas shown in the rectangles in Figure 9-4. USDA. including pasture. The amount of land required to replace 50% of the current petroleum distillate consumption using soybean (gray) and algae (green). could limit the land available for open pond algae farming.e. Topography would be a limiting factor for these systems because the installation of large shallow ponds requires relatively flat terrain. For a realistic appraisal of land for algae production (i. Adapted from Bryan.al. and purchase requirements. In effect. several characteristics need to be considered. and relatively barren desert land). land ownership represents political constraints on land availability (Maxwell 1985). Physical characteristics. land that could actually be suitable and available for siting algae production facilities). 2009). Soils. grassland. lease.
Power Utilities. Two main types algae production facility are envisioned: dedicated facilities. By reviewing historical economic analyses for lipid production to date. and historical monuments. Land in high demand is therefore not desirable and not targeted for algae growth. the cost of land is either not considered or relatively small compared to other capital cost. which are used to dispose of wastewater or brines. The roles of these facility types in the development of an algae biofuels industry are discussed below. Both wastewater sources and industrial sources of CO2 that could be utilized for algae production are numerous and widely distributed in the U. Nevertheless. some land cover characteristics could present excellent opportunities for algae farming. wildlife areas. as discussed in the Systems and Techno-Economics section of this report. with the main purpose of biomass production. which produce algal biomass as a consequence of the wastewater treatment. most barriers to algae production by utilities are common to all potential algae producers. 123 . These represent the potential sites for algae operations. Land cover categories such as barren and scrubland cover a large portion of the West and may provide an area free from other food based agriculture where algae growth systems could be sited. and wastewater treatment facilities. On the other hand. archaeological sites.S. Other Industries This subsection addresses the technical and economic challenges water and power utilities should consider with co-production of algae biomass. Integration with Water Treatment Facilities. Water Treatment Applications Figure 9-5 shows national-level point sources for wastewater treatment facilities and feedlot operations. Examples of this type of constraint include parks. A subset of wastewater treatment facilities is evaporation facilities. monuments.5354 5355 5356 5357 5358 5359 5360 5361 5362 5363 5364 5365 5366 5367 5368 5369 5370 5371 5372 5373 5374 5375 5376 5377 5378 5379 5380 5381 Land use and land value affect the land affordability. Sensitive environmental or cultural land constraints will also reduce the overall land availability [Maxwell (1985)].
Woertz et al.S. 124 . coupled with the tremendous need for expanded and improved wastewater treatment in the U. Borde et al. high-productivity algae ponds have a total cost that is about 70% less than activated sludge. For example.g. excess nutrients (e. which is the leading water treatment technology used in the U. 2002). and potentially endocrine disrupting compounds (Oswald 1988. 2009) and on-site wastewater treatment would still occur as a consequence of this waste importation. organic agricultural (e..g. Algae-based treatment facilities are typically less expensive to build and to operate than conventional mechanical treatment facilities. food processing). synthetic organic compounds. organic industrial (e. Importation of wastes and/or wastewater will still be needed in dedicated algae treatment facilities (Brune et al.5382 5383 5384 5385 5386 5387 5388 5389 5390 5391 5392 5393 5394 5395 5396 5397 5398 5399 5400 5401 5402 5403 5404 5405 5406 Figure 9-5. and eutrophic waters with low organic content but high nutrient content (e. confined animal facilities). 2009.. Algae can be useful in the treatment of waters polluted with organic matter.g. (Downing et al. nitrogen.. lakes and rivers). recylcing will be needed to have substantial impact on GHG abatement or to operate affordably and sustainably. The major classes of wastewaters to be treated are municipal. agricultural drainage.. phosphorus. provides a practical opportunity to instal algae production facilities in conjunction with wastewater treatment. metals. 2002). Despite an abundance of wastewater and waste nutrients.... Map of major wastewater treatment facilities and confined animal feedlot operations in the United States that could provide wastewater and nutrients for colocated algae production. (USEPA 2008) and throughout the world.S.g. This cost savings. potassium). Aksu 1998.
Treatment of Organic Wastewaters for Algae Production Organic-rich wastewaters usually also contain nutrients. agricultural drainage. The great depths contribute to low algae productivity. Pond facilities with residence times of days are able to accumulate high flows. The use of flue gas as a CO2 source for algae production has been successful (as discussed elsewhere in this document). harvesting is a crucial step in wastewater treatment systems. buffering their adverse effect on effluent quality and preventing the discharge of partially treated wastewater. resulting in accelerated treatment and nearly complete nutrient removal (Woertz et al. As noted above. Biofixation of CO2 by waste-grown algae has been demonstrated. Non-chemical flocculation processes (bioflocculation and autoflocculation) are far less costly. 125 .. and lakes). Ponds for more advanced treatment. Algae are similar to plants in that they both produce oxygen and assimilate nutrients. must be reported in terms of organic matter since the turf scrubbers entrap silt and precipitates leading to over-estimates of productivity based on total solids production. including nutrient removal. rivers. As with other algae production systems. requiring two treatment mechanisms.g. but high productivity is not crucial to the treatment goals of these facilities (removal of organic matter and pathogens only).g. 2009. supplementation of wastewater with CO2 eliminates the carbon limitation that is typical in wastewater treatment ponds. in particular. need high algae productivities (as does feedstock production). The standard method is chemical addition for coagulation/flocculation. Closed photobioreactors are not emphasized in this wastewater treatment discussion since they are likely to be economical only when also producing high-value products (>$100/kg biomass). Mechanical treatment technologies have short hydraulic residence times and consequently activated sludge (the leading process) is not able to effectively treat high storm-related flows. These reactions are also the best-known mechanisms of wastewater treatment by algae. Existing algae-based treatment facilities use relatively deep ponds (1-6 m). In fact.5407 5408 5409 5410 5411 5412 5413 5414 5415 5416 5417 5418 5419 5420 5421 5422 5423 5424 5425 5426 5427 5428 5429 5430 5431 5432 5433 5434 5435 5436 5437 5438 5439 5440 5441 5442 5443 5444 5445 5446 5447 5448 5449 Algae Production Techniques for Water Treatment Plants Integration of algae production with wastewater treatment is illustrated schematically in Figure 9-6. Fulton and Lundquist. The dissolved oxygen algae release is used by treatment bacteria to oxidize 1 The productivity of algal turf scrubbers.. the major types of wastewaters available for combined algae production and water treatment are those contaminated with organic matter and nutrients (e.17 per m3 treated) is high for biofuel production (Maglion 2008). either high rate ponds (~30 cm) or algal turf scrubbers1 (~1 cm). The cost of chemical addition ($0. but it has not been demonstrated for wastewater treatment. municipal and industrial sources) and wastewaters mainly contaminated with inorganic nutrients (e. in preparation).. followed by algae separation in dissolved air flotation units or sedimentation clarifiers. These productive systems use shallow reactors.10-$0. which is unlikely when wastewater contaminants are present. but research is needed to improve the reliability of these processes (as discussed elsewhere in this report).
as noted in the diagram in Figure 9-6. The bioaccumulation of trace 126 . which will be a benefit as long as the resulting metals concentrations in the algae biomass are not excessive or inhibitive for later use in the processing of fuel and other co-products. and naturally occurring organic catalysts (Sinton et al.g. Disinfection is promoted via the production of oxygen radicals in the presence of sunlight. 2007). Muñoz et al. 2003. Integration of algae production with wastewater treatment for nutrient removal and biomass production (Lundquist. 2002. the interaction of algae and bacteria in wastewater cultures leads to degradation of a wide variety of synthetic organic compounds such as phenol and acetonitrile (Borde et al. whereas pond technologies hold the wastewater for at least several days and in an environment similar to many natural receiving waters. Heavy metals may be removed by adsorption to algal cells. The removal of newly discovered trace contaminants (e.. endocrine disrupting compounds such as human hormones and antibiotics from animal facilities) is an area in need of study.5450 5451 5452 5453 5454 5455 5456 5457 5458 5459 5460 5461 5462 5463 5464 5465 5466 waste organic matter. The ability of algae to assimilate dissolved nutrients down to trace concentrations is most useful in water treatment if the nutrient-rich algae are then also removed from the water. 2005). 2008). Finally. Kohn et al. Mechanical treatment technologies typically hold the wastewater for less than 12 hours. Less well-known are the ability of algal systems to provide natural disinfection and remove trace contaminants. dissolved oxygen. 5467 5468 5469 5470 5471 5472 5473 Figure 9-6.
eventually harming higher organisms. Summary of Potential Benefits of Algae Production with Wastewater Treatment Although algae-based wastewater treatment requires many-times more land area than mechanical treatment technologies.g. etc. less-saline stages of an evaporation pond system. Metal contaminants can cause problems with themochemical processing steps for fuel production. their ability to treat organic-depleted but otherwise nutrient-rich wastewaters such as agricultural drainage or eutrophic water bodies (e.g. oil field produced water. Evaporation ponds are currently used to dispose of agricultural drainage.5474 5475 5476 5477 5478 5479 5480 5481 5482 5483 5484 5485 5486 5487 5488 5489 5490 5491 5492 5493 5494 5495 5496 5497 5498 5499 5500 5501 5502 5503 5504 5505 5506 5507 5508 5509 5510 5511 5512 5513 5514 5515 5516 5517 contaminants that would occur in the receiving waters. Algae production could be quite high in the early. selenium. algae cultivation in evaporation ponds would create a product in conjunction with the water disposal service. Treatment of nutrient-rich waters is likely to occur in more rural settings than treatment of municipal wastewaters.) will expand the opportunities for algae production systems. Treatment of Inorganic Wastewaters for Algae Production In addition to the ability of algae systems to treat organic-rich wastewaters. and would almost certainly need to be removed prior to some forms of fuel processing. High rate ponds might be used as part of the evaporation process thereby creating an algal product while performing the service of water evaporation. Ponds are used for evaporative disposal in closed hydrologic basins or where saline waters cannot be discharged to receiving waters due to regulatory salinity limits. 1996. in suitable climates algae-based treatment has the following advantages: Early opportunity to develop large-scale algae production infrastructure Development of skilled algae production workforce Wastewater treatment revenue that offsets algae production costs Lower capital and O&M costs than conventional wastewater treatment 127 . The processing of the algal biomass for fuel and other co-products would presumably destroy and neutralize the contaminants. As with any evaporation pond system. 2004). might be prevented to a great extend by pond treatment followed by algae harvesting. chromium) must be carefully evaluated. Lundquist et al. Salton Sea. Calif. potentially leading to greater land availability and savings in land costs. but further investigation is needed to confirm this. mine drainage. These potentials should be investigated. as they would be a significant advantage for the algae-producing technologies. hazards to wildlife from toxic compounds (e. Treatment of agricultural drainage with algal turf scrubbers without CO2-addition and high rate ponds with CO2 addition has been demonstrated in California‘s Central Valley and elsewhere (Craggs et al. 2008.. Finally. For algae-based treatment of organic-depleted wastewaters.. CO2 addition or atmospheric absorption is essential since inorganic carbon generation from decomposition of organic matter is not significant. Mulbry et al.
5518 5519 5520 5521 5522 5523 5524 5525 5526 5527 5528 5529 5530 5531 5532 5533 5534 5535 5536 5537 5538 5539 5540 5541 5542 5543 5544 5545 5546 5547 5548 5549 5550 5551 5552 5553 5554 5555 5556 5557 5558 5559 5560 Lower energy intensity than conventional wastewater treatment Potential for complete nutrient recycling Potential to be integrated with power plant or other CO 2 emitting industry operations Co-location of Algal Cultivation Facilities with CO2-Emitting Industries This subsection includes findings from discussions held at the DOE Algae Biofuels Roadmap Workshop break-out sessions. cement manufacturing. technical and market challenges. The regulatory implications of this will need to be addressed before utilities and fuel companies are likely to widely adopt algal cultivation co-located with industrial CO2 sources. which typically ranges from about 5% to about 15%. and included several large municipal electric utilities. This provides both a source of carbon for enhance algal growth. While the information in this subsection focuses on fossil-fired power plants. The emissions from many of these facilities have higher CO2 concentrations compared to power plant flue gas. it is also relevant to other CO2-intensive industries (e. depending on the type of plant and fuel used. This combination of potential net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction through enhanced algal growth for production of biofuels makes co-location of algal cultivation with industrial CO2 sources a promising area for further research.. While re-use of the carbon can be expected to result in a net reduction of overall GHG emissions. and a means for capturing CO 2 before it is released to the atmosphere. An important policy question to consider is the value of CO2 absorption by algae in any carbon-credit or cap and trade framework. fermentation-based industries. These follow-on efforts were coordinated with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). in that the carbon may ultimately be reused and re-released to the atmosphere when algal-derived fuels are used for transportation. integration opportunities and challenges. constraints on large-scale development. some geothermal power production. A particularly promising aspect of algal cultivation for production of biofuels is the ability of algae to metabolize CO2 and store carbon released from fossil-fuel burning power plants and other CO2-emitting industrial sources. Findings from these interviews and conference calls were integrated with the workshop inputs in developing this subsection. and additional input sought from major electric utilities through later meetings and conference calls. co-products. 128 . etc. fossil fuel extraction/refining. The topics of discussion included the value proposition. market drivers.). desired outcomes. the process of capturing flue-gas CO2 to make transportation fuels may not rigorously be considered carbon sequestration. and the recommended role of the federal government.g. This higher concentration would affect the sizing and operations of algae production facilities—an aspect that could be incorporated into engineering models described in more detail in the Systems and Techno-Economic Assessment section of this report.
129 . Figure 9-8 illustrates the concept of utilizing power plant flue gas for algae production.5561 5562 5563 5564 5565 5566 5567 5568 5569 5570 5571 5572 5573 5574 5575 5576 5577 5578 5579 5580 5581 5582 5583 5584 5585 5586 5587 5588 Figure 9-7 illustrates the distribution of various types of industrial CO2 sources in the United States. capturing around 20% of the 6 Gt of CO2 released into the atmosphere from stationary sources by algae for conversion to fuels would be enough to replace nearly all of the distillate fuels used annually in the United States (further discussion in the Systems and Techno-Economic Analysis section of this report). while it will not be practical to use algal cultivation to absorb all CO2 emissions from US stationary sources. as well as recommendations on areas for research and regulatory/policy evaluations. Thus. A quantitative breakdown is also listed in Table 9-1. This is based upon an estimated 300 pounds of algal oil per ton of CO2 consumed during algal biomass production (at 30% lipid algal content by weight). To put the nationwide CO2 resource from stationary emitter sources into perspective. electric utilities will need to partner with algae cultivation/technology companies and fuel refiners/distributers with very different business models and goals for algae production in order for this type of co-location to be widely commercialized. Thus. Results of discussions at the workshop break-out sessions and subsequent discussions with EPRI and several electric utility companies identified a number of advantages and barriers to co-location of algal cultivation facilities with industrial CO2 sources. Table 9-1 notes that fossil-fired power plants represent the majority of CO2 emissions from stationary sources. Stationary industrial sources of CO2 are widely distributed throughout the United States. the CO2 resources available can yield very large quantities of algal oils and ultimately transportation fuels. which at about 7. An overriding theme of the discussions was that electric utilities primarily view algae cultivation as a means of CO2 capture as opposed to a method for producing biofuels and co-products. A number of large coal-burning power plants in the southern tier of states provide ample sources for algal growth on a large scale.7 lbs/gallon yields about 40 gallons per ton. or 40 billion gallons per Gt of CO2.
Select Large Stationary Sources of CO2 5594 130 .5589 5590 5591 5592 5593 Figure 9-7.
research efforts and policy evaluations will need to focus on both carbon capture and biofuels/co-product production to overcome technical and economic barriers (technical. 131 . Illustration of integration of algae cultivation with electric power generation for enhanced algal biomass growth using desulfurized fossil-fired power plant flue gas (adapted from ben-Amotz 2008). Suitable and affordable vacant land may not be available adjacent to or near major power plants Emissions from ponds are at ground level – Regulatory requirements from power plants and other stationary sources are governed by the Clean Air Act. or in some cases algal cultivation could be co-located with both stationary CO2 sources and nutrient sources such as wastewater treatment facilities and agricultural waste streams. Power plants are often located near abundant non-potable water supplies. which will require new regulatory policies. Advantages of Co-location of Algae Production with Stationary Industrial CO2 Sources The following is a summary of the potential advantages of co-locating algal cultivation facilities with stationary industrial CO2 sources: Availability of abundant CO2 to stimulate algal growth at low cost –a fraction of the CO2 released by US industrial sources could be converted to enough fuel to displace our current diesel use. Regulatory framework for carbon-capture credits is not clear – Until there are regulations in place that quantify carbon credits from algal growth facilities. Identified advantages. regulatory and economic) for algae facilities that are co-located with electric utilities and other industrial CO2 sources. Barriers to Co-location of Algae Production with Stationary Industrial CO2 Sources Need for nutrient sources – While stationary CO2 sources provide ample carbon for algal growth. in most cases there will not be a complementary nutrient supply. and excess wastewater or cooling water may be available – This may help overcome one of the primary resource challenges for algae cultivation at scale and provide beneficial re-use of cooling water and wastewater. and recommended areas for further research and policy evaluation are summarized below. Excess heat available to heat algae ponds as required at minimal cost – This will allow development of algal cultivation facilities in virtually any region of the US on a year-round basis. the uncertainty may pose a barrier for wide commercial adoption of the technology. barriers.5595 5596 5597 5598 5599 5600 5601 5602 5603 5604 5605 5606 5607 5608 5609 5610 5611 5612 5613 5614 5615 5616 5617 5618 5619 5620 5621 5622 5623 5624 5625 5626 5627 5628 5629 5630 5631 5632 5633 5634 5635 5636 5637 Figure 9-8. The use of flue gas to cultivate algae will involve non-point source emissions at ground level. Therefore nutrients must be brought in from other sources. Potential carbon credit for utilities – This will require establishing a US policy on carbon absorption and re-use as transportation fuel in lieu of permanent sequestration. Furthermore. and are based upon point-source emissions from high elevations.
Electric utilities are not in the fuels business – These regulated PUCs will be constrained in entering nines areas. as well as policy-development efforts. and agricultural drainage/water body restoration sites.National inventory of potential production sites . wastewater treatment facilities. and their fundamental objective will be to capture CO2 as opposed to producing biofuels and co-products. and new business models will be needed to commercialize this approach. ethanol plants or other CO2 emitting industry facilities.Evaluation of economies of scale vs. The following are some specific recommendations: Develop computer models of algae production facilities that will aid the following: . and compare them to other approaches to carbon sequestration Large power plants release too much CO2 to be absorbed by algal ponds at a realistic scale likely to be possible near the power plant facility. The testbeds would be located at power plants.5638 5639 5640 5641 5642 5643 5644 5645 5646 5647 5648 5649 5650 5651 5652 5653 5654 5655 5656 5657 5658 5659 5660 5661 5662 5663 5664 5665 5666 5667 5668 5669 5670 5671 5672 5673 5674 5675 5676 5677 5678 5679 5680 5681 Parasitic losses from power required to deliver CO2 to ponds and grow/harvest algae – We need to evaluate these losses. and other participants coordinated by DOE at the national level. CO2 is only absorbed during periods when sunlight is available and photsynthesis is active in the algae. will be required for commercialization of algal cultivation facilities co-located with industrial CO2 sources and/or wastewater treatment facilities.Rapid and consistent engineering design . distributors.Evaluation of temperature control (power plant cooling and algae pond heating) .Techno-economic analyses . Also. universities. Maintaining algal cultivation facilities during utility outages and through seasonal variability in algal growth rates – Detailed models will be needed to develop and evaluate approaches for managing the variable nature of both CO2 emissions and algal growth rates/CO2 uptake. etc. mechanisms to encourage partnering between utilities and algae/fuel companies will be required. minimize them. algal cultivation companies. Specific testbed R&D topics include: Technology evaluation Determination of algae production facility model parameters 132 . Recommended Areas for Research and Policy Evaluations Several areas for research. . algal technology companies. advantages of decentralized production considering parasitic losses of CO2 transport. This effort could involve a consortium of R&D organizations. refiners. Thus.Development of efficient test-bed facilities Establish national algae biomass production test-beds to conduct research at the pilot scale (5-10 acres).Life Cycle Analysis and GHG abatement analysis .
Develop and train the future algae production/algae biomass processing workforce at the national test-bed and other sites.5682 5683 5684 5685 5686 5687 5688 5689 5690 5691 5692 5693 5694 5695 5696 5697 5698 5699 5700 5701 5702 5703 5704 5705 5706 5707 5708 5709 5710 5711 5712 5713 5714 5715 5716 5717 5718 5719 5720 5721 5722 5723 5724 5725 Flue gas CO2 absorption/biofixation efficiency given seasonal and diel variations in photosynthesis and various water chemistries Control of algal biomass quality (ratios of lipids:proteins:carbohydrates & C:N:P) Methods of nutrient and water recycling within production facilities. flocculation harvesting. The recommendations made in this overall section place emphasis on areas that overlap strongly with the mission space of DOE. CO2. the technologies and processes associated with algal biomass production for biofuels remains immature. and related regulatory policies. Development of algal strains and their cultivation techniques Investigate the safety of ground-level flue gas emissions from ponds including plume modeling and regulatory analysis Effects of various flue gases on algae production and co-product quality Scrubbing of flue gas for NOx. salinity and blowdown management. water. However. and sunlight appear to exist at numerous locations throughout the United States where algal biomass cultivation could be undertaken and could potentially generate significant volumes of biofuel. The heterotrophic approach using organic carbon sources without the need for light energy is acknowledged. nutrient supplies. storage. water supplies. include numerous potential pathways for implementation. Discussion and findings pertaining to siting and resource issues include the recognition that adequate land. etc. SOx. Emphasis has been placed here primarily on the photoautotrophic approach. Conclusions and Recommendations Siting and resource issues for algal biofuels scale-up are dominated by land use. Improved siting and resource assessments for algal biofuel scale-up will require more detailed biological and system performance metrics and data. crop fertilization. and processing prior to fuel extraction. but not addressed in detail. sunlight. and other resource inputs will depend on the algal biology and cultivation systems approaches used and their productivity. etc. Siting and resource requirements for land. water. Power plant cooling with treated wastewater in conjunction with algae production Establish Government policies and regulations regarding biofixation of CO 2 for biofuels as opposed to geologic sequestration Evaluate policies that would encourage partnering between public utilities/other industrial CO2 sources and algal cultivation/technology companies and refiners/distributors. 133 . Develop university training programs. required energy inputs. Algal biomass handling. CO2 and other nutrients. pathogen safety Beneficial management of residuals for soil carbon development.
and environmental stakeholder communities to establish constituency for algae R&D and applications development – Joint Studies / Assessments – Pilot projects – Educational outreach and human resource development Develop and disseminate objective authoritative information for other agencies. and thermal management (or lack thereof) associated with the algae growth and processing systems that impact on siting and resource requirements through reduced water loss algae production systems and processes lower energy-intensity water desalination technology & systems innovative systems integration for improved use of waste heat and overall thermal management – Leverage and application of eco-system management techniques. will thus clearly depend on future progress made in addressing numerous other technical and economic performance issues tied to the biology. energy balance. The ability to successfully and affordably scale-up algal biofuel production. larger scale centralized options – Inland vs. and processes requirements and designs matched to various siting and resources availability options.5726 5727 5728 5729 5730 5731 5732 5733 5734 5735 5736 5737 5738 5739 5740 5741 5742 5743 5744 5745 5746 5747 5748 5749 5750 5751 5752 5753 5754 5755 5756 5757 5758 5759 5760 5761 5762 5763 5764 5765 5766 5767 5768 5769 5770 5771 5772 and currently lack the needed establishment of detailed requirements for siting & input resource utilization. and the associated siting and resource needs and consequences. systems. and processes appropriate to: – Integration with wastewater treatment and/or CO2 emitter industries – Smaller scale. resources and skills to the siting & resource utilization aspects of algal biomass and biofuel production Strategic partnering with other agencies. distributed vs. systems. coastal vs. off-shore marine options – Synergistic co-location and integration of algal biofuels & co-products with other product and service industries and their market infrastructures – Addressing salt management. water & nutrient reuse. and processes discussed elsewhere in this report. technologies. data. R&D investment in assessing specific technologies. R&D investment in technologies. and reuse integrated with algal biomass production. systems. utilization. and technical and economic assessments critical to the establishment of siting and resource requirements for algal biomass and biofuel production Enable or facilitate assessment and characterization of non-fresh water resources and their suitability for growing algae and impact on operations R&D investment in assessments and technology development tied to improved CO2 and nutrient sourcing. stakeholders and general public 134 . industry. Specific recommendations related to Siting and Resource issues where DOE mission interests and technologies are most relevant were discussed earlier in detail. and are summarized below: Provide or enable development of objective information.
Autotrophic and heterotrophic paths to algal biofuels have different siting and resource input implications and synergistic integration opportunities. 135 .Emphasis in Siting & Resources Section is on the autotrophic algae approach.5773 Section 9 Appendix – Additional Figures 5774 5775 5776 5777 5778 5779 Figure A-1.
Mean daily average surface temperature 136 . Annual average solar radiation 5782 5783 5784 Figure A-3.5780 5781 Figure A-2.
2006) 137 . Map of horizontal plane pan water evaporation (an approximate measure of the water loss that can be expected from open pond algae production) 5788 5789 5790 5791 Figure A-5. Fresh water aquifers impacted by over pumping and water quality concerns (Shannon.5785 5786 5787 Figure A-4.
Emerging fresh water resources stress and projected population growth in the United States (DOE 2006b. 138 . et.al. 2008). Hightower. Pate. 2007.. et.al.5792 5793 5794 5795 Figure A-6.
Map of produced water resources from energy mineral extraction 139 .. 1965) 5799 5800 Figure A-8.5796 5797 5798 Figure A-7. Depth to saline groundwater resources (Feth et al.
and relief 140 . Select land cover categories..5801 5802 5803 5804 Figure A-9.al. et. Process of evaluating and constraining land available for algae production Source: Maxwell. (1985) 5805 5806 Figure A-10. protected areas.
State distribution of land use by category (USDA.S. (USDA. 5810 5811 5812 Figure A-12. Land use by category in the U. 141 . 2006). 2006).5807 5808 5809 Figure A-11.
Major wastewater treatment technologies currently used in the U. 2008). 2008). 142 .5813 5814 5815 5816 Figure A-13. 5817 5818 5819 Figure A-14. Typical algae harvesting options with wastewater treatment (Lundquist.S.. along with their drawbacks (Lundquist.
2008). Examples of fossil-fired power plants that represent stationary point sources of CO2 that could be utilized to enhance algae growth while capturing and re-using a portion of the fossil carbon emissions (adapted from ben-Amotz.5820 5821 5822 5823 5824 Figure A-15. 143 .
greatly facilitating the development and commercialization of an algal biofuel industry. Corresponding Standards. Perhaps because of this foundation. These efforts. These sessions were attended by algal biofuel companies. national labs. These sorts of studies are inextricably linked to TE analyses. However. However. Rationale for Standards and Regulations Development Regulatory ambiguities represent uncertainty that increases risk and adds costs and time for companies trying to build their business. It is beyond the scope of this exercise to consider the societal benefits or challenges (both national and international) that will result from a project of this magnitude that could provide true energy security and availability of renewable transportation fuels.5825 5826 5827 5828 5829 5830 5831 5832 5833 5834 5835 5836 5837 5838 5839 5840 5841 5842 5843 5844 5845 5846 5847 5848 5849 5850 5851 5852 5853 5854 5855 5856 5857 5858 5859 5860 5861 5862 5863 5864 5865 5866 10. as an algal biofuel industry does not presently exist anywhere in the world. 144 . thus. biofuel end users. built on the foundation of biotechnology and industrial microbiology rather than agronomy. The algal biofuel industry has the potential scale necessary to play a significant role in our national energy needs and will impact our society in far reaching ways. it is important to anticipate all aspects of an algal biofuels industry that will draw regulatory scrutiny. state and federal regulatory agencies. although there are laws presently on the books that will cover some aspects of the algal biofuel industry. must be carried out immediately as they are essential to inform both R&D and business plans and will help to point out barriers. and Policy Introduction Two separate breakout sessions on standards. This analysis will also be complicated by the requirement to cover many potential process options. the case was made that the challenges ahead for large-scale cultivation and processing of algae for biofuels exist at a much more fundamental level. environmental groups. and DOE. regulation. This is evidenced by the repeated call for LCA and environmental impact studies to be used to guide regulatory and policy decisions. however complicated. and policy were held at the Workshop. it is also important to point out that regulation is based on laws. academia. the issue of genetically modified (GM) algae did not emerge as a major topic of discussion. as it is not yet clear which ones have the most commercial potential. It was widely understood that these topics were essential for the successful ―birth‖ of a new 21st century form of agriculture – cultivation of algae at scale. they were not crafted with this industry in mind. not for potential industries. Regulation. service providers. indicating the importance of these topics for the successful commercialization of algal biofuels. Rather. and laws are written for existing industries. which for now must be based on an assortment of assumptions and data extrapolated from small-scale laboratory work or from the cultivation of algae for higher-value products. especially environmental issues.
Environmental Health and Safety. To accomplish this. These regulatory and standards issues can be addressed with the following questions: 145 . including the role of federal.5867 5868 5869 5870 5871 5872 5873 5874 5875 5876 5877 5878 5879 5880 5881 5882 5883 5884 5885 5886 5887 5888 5889 5890 5891 5892 5893 5894 5895 5896 5897 5898 5899 5900 5901 5902 5903 5904 5905 5906 5907 5908 5909 5910 5911 5912 Many of the changes inherent in a novel. Status of Standards and Regulations Relating to the Algal Biofuels Industry As standards and regulations are written for existing industries and not for potential industries. Standards and Regulations Issues Any regulation should be based on a set of standards. just to name a few.g. while maintaining the ability to respond to the many challenges that seem likely to be associated with any industry that has the scale and significance of a biofuels industry. With such potentially significant changes for both our society and our environment from an industry that has yet to fully define itself. To accelerate the development of standards and regulations that are relevant for a nascent algal biofuel industry. it may be prudent to make educated assumptions on what an ―algal biofuel industry‖ might entail. 21st century agricultural development are anticipated to be beneficial to the environment overall (e. of course. Thus any regulatory framework must consider the overall impact on society and the environment. Anticipating future potential roles for agencies that will become essential as the industry develops will also be an important step. CO 2 mitigation and wastewater remediation). soil. levels of hazard etc). Standards will need to be established for all aspects of this new industry. from how to catalog species of algae to establishing native versus non-native strains. It might also be prudent to decide the boundaries of this new industry. transparent and credible manner. and provide the opportunity for the industry to flourish (assuming. the current status provides for a position to build a significant industry in a very short period of time using a regulatory framework that has been cobbled together for related but distinct industries. Food and Feed. the existing regulatory processes that potentially impact this industry must first be identified. and these standards need to be defined in a scientific. and then determine what aspect of this new industry may already fall under existing standards and regulation. handling. that the benefits will heavily outweigh the disadvantages). and what aspects should be considered for standards and regulations in the near term. we need to maintain maximum flexibility while establishing standards and a regulatory framework that can function at the earliest possible time. and especially. Initial standards and a regulatory framework must be developed that can reduce the uncertainty associated with this new industry. water. large-scale. but some aspects will require significant changes to the way we presently use land. a sensible science-based policy needs to be established. to the products of the process. state and local agencies that presently regulate one or more aspects of growing or processing algae. Because this industry is essentially being built from the ground up. to GMO classification (description. organism. and what should be regulated: air. including both biofuel products and non-fuel products. water and other resources. while maintaining our environment in the most reasonable and responsible manner possible.
and when? How can standards be established in a way that will accelerate the development of this industry? As there is presently a lack of scientific data required for meaningful standards and regulations. algal strains. and delipidated biomass for production of animal feed or biogas) which currently do have standards. This illustration is in no way meant to recommend the development of algal biomass for animal feed. water use. water emissions. state and local agencies presently have regulatory responsibilities that could potentially affect the industry? What are the areas in which standards will be needed. public health. production plant safety. we will compare standards that would be involved for algal biomass to be used as a feedstock for transportation biofuels (e.5913 5914 5915 5916 5917 5918 5919 5920 5921 5922 5923 5924 5925 5926 5927 5928 5929 5930 5931 5932 5933 5934 5935 5936 5937 5938 5939 5940 5941 5942 5943 5944 5945 5946 5947 5948 5949 5950 5951 5952 5953 5954 5955 5956 What aspects of the algal biofuel industry are likely to be regulated – land use.? What federal. but rather draw attention to ways that decisions based on economic or market analyses can affect fundamental aspects of the production process. state and local agencies have an interest in this industry? What federal. the products of algal biomass are expected to add to or displace existing feedstocks for established industries (e. As an illustration. etc.g. lipid for production of biodiesel or green transportation fuels. animal feed). In this example we might find the following set of standards applied to the entire process from cultivation to lipid extraction and purification: Biodiesel feedstock o Chemical characteristics – Fatty acid chain length – Free fatty acid level – Percentage of TAG – Degree of instauration – Amount of color – Amount and identity of additional extractable materials Animal feed feedstock o Chemical characteristics – Percentage of protein. biodiesel) as well as a higher value co-product (e. air emissions.g.g. carbohydrate. The finished product standards will inform the development of algal feedstock standards which may affect the entire value chain. and nucleic acids – Amount and identity of organic and inorganic micronutrients 146 . how can the required scientific data be generated in the shortest possible timeframe? What are the long-term implications of the proposed standards and regulatory framework as regards accelerating the development of this industry? What are the potential conflicting intersections between the proposed regulatory framework and existing regulations? How can these be resolved appropriately? Developing Standards Areas in Which Standards Are Needed Although the algal biofuel industry has not yet grown to be a commercial entity.
requirements for ―organic‖ labeling. a 501C-6 trade association formed in 2007. Alternatively. input groups (e. such as biotechnology. There does not appear to be a universal set of standards for this industry. 147 . wastewater treatment organizations and CO2 sources) and support industries (e.g.5957 5958 5959 5960 5961 5962 5963 5964 5965 5966 5967 5968 5969 5970 5971 5972 5973 5974 5975 5976 5977 5978 5979 5980 5981 5982 5983 5984 5985 5986 5987 5988 5989 5990 5991 5992 5993 5994 5995 5996 5997 5998 5999 Ash content • Silicon from diatom cell wall • Heavy metals or sulfur from flue gas or water source – Digestibility – Solvent contamination from extraction o Source biomass characteristics – Algal strain composition • Percentage of contaminating algal strains • Percentage of other microorganisms • Natural species of GMO Because the standards for the animal food industry are more stringent than for the biodiesel industry. but standards exist for several aspects of the production process. and more difficult to influence with scientific data (that is to say..g. but will likely provide guidance for companies intending to pursue these markets for byproduct disposition. equipment manufacturers and algal cultivation facility engineering firms). the ensuing standards for the algal biomass production and processing will take precedence and will work their way through the entire process to the very front end – algal strain development.g. In this example. as well as by the needs of the commercial organizations responsible for marketing the final product (e. the standards for the animal feed producers will likely be as important in strategic planning as the regulations established by the EPA and USDA. These include industries that impact algal biomass production. from raw materials to finished product (Figure 10). informed both by the regulations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). product sales may depend more upon public opinion than on data). has begun an effort to establish a comprehensive list of standards to cover the entire algal biomass value chain.) These standards are likely to be more stringent and significantly different from those established for algal biofuels.. Status of Algal Biofuels Industry Standards – There is a decades-old history of commercial production of algal biomass for dietary supplements and nutraceuticals. conversion of delipidated biomass to methane by anaerobic digestion would have a completely different (and less stringent) set of standards. but some level of standards may still be necessary because it is not clear that all algal strains can be readily converted in an anaerobic digester. The Algal Biomass Organization (ABO).
and FDA) that will have jurisdiction over various aspects of the algal biomass industry. Representatives of these agencies at the Workshop made it clear that regulations already exist that were written without taking algae into consideration but that will nonetheless govern the algae industry. telecommunications. distribution. The standards cover a wide-range of industries that fall within the scope of the IEEE. As noted above. Nonetheless. professional organization for the advancement of technologies related to electricity. promoting communications among potential partners. USDA. Timeline for Completing Actions As noted above. will have an 148 . manufacturing and utilization of hydrogen. including power and energy. It is modeled after the IEEE Standards Association. reducing the costs of technical progress and helping establish a basis for regulatory oversight.6000 6001 6002 6003 6004 6005 6006 6007 6008 6009 6010 6011 6012 6013 6014 6015 6016 6017 6018 6019 6020 6021 6022 6023 6024 6025 6026 6027 6028 6029 6030 6031 6032 6033 Figure 10: Algal biomass value chain The ABO‘s effort is meant to facilitate the growth of this nascent industry by reducing uncertainty. and others. the development of a comprehensive list of standards could do much to eliminate the uncertainties in commercialization of algae-based technologies. EPA. storage.g. thus encouraging investment and promoting partnering opportunities. DOE could be instrumental in supporting this effort by providing funding for the accumulation of data needed to craft the standards. a unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. biomedical and healthcare. the ABO has taken the first steps in establishing a comprehensive list of standards for the algal biomass industry by completing a first draft of a list of 20 standards to serve as a guide. information technology. an international non-profit. Given that only a small subset of standards will relate directly to biofuel production. But they also indicated that the regulatory agencies do not wish to deliberately or even inadvertently hinder the growth of the industry. This sort of effort could be modeled after the work led by the DOE‘s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to draft new model codes and standards for domestic and international production. DOE is not suitably aligned to take a lead on this effort. It could also help by promoting cooperation of federal regulatory agencies (e. both within and outside the ABO. It would be a great aid to the industry if DOE were to facilitate the sharing of information among the regulatory agencies and individuals charged with the task of drafting the standards. Individuals.
it may become more complicated to regulate this new industry using existing agricultural or industrial guidelines.6034 6035 6036 6037 6038 6039 6040 6041 6042 6043 6044 6045 6046 6047 6048 6049 6050 6051 6052 6053 6054 6055 6056 6057 6058 6059 6060 6061 6062 6063 6064 6065 6066 6067 6068 6069 6070 6071 6072 6073 6074 6075 6076 opportunity to participate in the subsequent tasks of data accumulation and draft standards writing. the scientific data do not yet exist for any informed regulatory guidelines to be developed. rather than presume that these agencies will automatically assume the worst when examining the potential for algae growth to impact existing agriculture. The body of standards. state and federal levels. The impact of existing regulations on the immediate deployment of first generation algal growth efforts must also be identified. It is expected that the first of these standards will be published by early 2010. we first need to understand what regulations are presently in place at local. and it may be necessary to remedy this situation. Rapid progress toward commercialization requires a best effort at establishing a productive regulatory framework as soon as possible that is clear but flexible. as a way to mitigate risk for early stage investment. Building a Regulatory Structure The Case for Regulation The current state of uncertainty caused by regulatory ambiguity serves to increase the risk and could significantly delay the development of an algal-based biofuel industry. but the current regulatory situation discourages integrated facilities. It is thus important for algal biofuel proponents to proactively work in partnership with regulatory agencies like USDA‘s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. but downstream processing aspects may not allow that to happen. other organizations may also choose to contribute to this effort either by cooperating with ABO or by acting independently. Defining algal cultivation as an agriculture process rather than an industrial process may result in less stringent regulations. including USDA. It may be necessary to obtain a federal waiver of local regulation of algal biofuels. and identify the agencies responsible. For example. As we move toward algae that produce feedstocks that are closer to hydrocarbon-based fuels. The regulatory process is fragmented. As has been pointed out. EPA. which far exceeds that of any existing agricultural oils. In order to develop a reasonable regulatory process in the shortest period of time. will likely be a living document with regular evaluation and updating as the industry matures. lessons learned from soybean oil extraction may not be relevant when viewed in the light of the potential scale of algal biofuels. Considerations for developing a regulatory framework for the algal biofuel industry should include: Which regulatory agencies should be viewed as stakeholders for developing this new biofuel industry? 149 . and additional state and local authorities. Existing regulations may not apply and many may conflict and overlap. regardless of the source. Fully integrated cultivation-lipid recovery facilities may be necessary for economic viability.
growing non-native or GM algal strains in open ponds. In addition to these federal agencies. The FDA has largely been responsible for safe use of recombinant microorganisms. Status of Algal Biofuels Industry Regulation At present. Actions required Identify impact of existing regulations on industry. there are state and local regulations for several aspects of the algal biofuel industry. preferably at a federal level. The USDA regulates crops and any potential for pests brought in from other countries. 150 . although not presently achievable. including limitations on the import of non-native or GM algal strains. and for these reasons. The central questions and actions required to develop such a framework are listed below. as well as for large-scale culture of cells. strains bred for specific qualities. and the discharge of any water in which a species of algae was grown. the EPA regulates microorganisms used for industrial purposes. therefore. it is clear that state and regional differences regarding regulations for large-scale algal cultivation already exist. so that a consistent set of standards and regulations can be adopted for the industry as a whole. Is it. and GM algae? EPA. better to work within the current framework? The ideal regulatory process. FDA Biosafety regulations. There are also local land and water use issues that will apply to any algal biofuel industry that seeks to establish a production facility at any significant scale. USDA are presently sharing regulation o EPA: microorganisms used for industrial purposes are in its purview (industrial biotech organism) o USDA: all aspects of animal and plant health fall under its purview Regulation is based on existing laws. one can imagine that the large-scale production of algae will more closely resemble agriculture than industrial biotechnology. Although algal growth is not obviously regulated under this authority. if not completely encompassed by. Changing laws or getting new laws passed may be difficult and time consuming and may slow the progress of developing an algal biofuel industry. microorganism and viruses. algae used for biofuel production could certainly fall under this category. the USDA is likely to be the agency to examine regulatory issues as they develop for this industry. and few existing laws directly address algal cultivation or harvesting. would be a single lead federal agency with responsibility to direct agencies at the state and local levels to add consistency and uniformity to developing regulations. standards of safety for all aspects of microbiological RD&D are largely informed by. These issues will need to be addressed early on. Although it is outside the scope of this roadmap to identify all of the state and local regulations that can impact an algal biofuel industry.6077 6078 6079 6080 6081 6082 6083 6084 6085 6086 6087 6088 6089 6090 6091 6092 6093 6094 6095 6096 6097 6098 6099 6100 6101 6102 6103 6104 6105 6106 6107 6108 6109 6110 6111 6112 6113 6114 6115 6116 6117 6118 6119 6120 6121 6122 How can we develop and standardize a process to improve the understanding of what it takes to utilize algal production strains. Identify issues unique to algal biofuels. including strains imported from other locations. including industrial biotech organisms.
regional. develop a comprehensive sustainability analysis. Develop a database of existing regulatory policy. Roll local.6123 6124 6125 6126 6127 6128 6129 6130 6131 6132 6133 6134 6135 6136 6137 6138 6139 6140 6141 6142 6143 6144 6145 6146 6147 6148 6149 6150 6151 6152 6153 6154 6155 6156 6157 6158 6159 6160 6161 6162 6163 Identify areas of regulatory interest (e.e. water. Year 2: 1. Develop an Environmental Impact Assessment of probable algal biofuel production scenarios. regulated as agricultural. As an LCA may not be sufficient. and b. regulation and policy. land use). air. Include perception and social impacts into all aspect of standards. a. c. we also need to: a. Ensure that municipal wastewater and CO2 abatement as well as more regional environmental issues (i. They are forward thinking as it relates to biofuels. 2. 151 .. An LCA should be developed to help determine the challenges and opportunities of the biofuels industry. perhaps by providing a link to a central database on the NEPANet Help develop a regulatory roadmap (creating the framework) that identifies the agencies and laws that pertain to algal-based biofuels.g.g. Keep municipal and industrial wastewater as a separate issue. start an environmental impact assessment/statement/report. Include the environmental groups at the outset. industrial or a hybrid?) Support the acquisition of scientific data required for regulation and standards. integrated working group on regulatory issues. and national landscapes/issues together to generate information to provide to regulators. d. cross-cutting intraagency process 3. b. nutrient load reduction in the Mississippi River) are included in the EIS. 4.. Develop a LCA of probable algal biofuel production scenarios. including identification and coordination of the regulatory agency responsibilities. Help coordinate the many groups that are already working on one aspect or another of the algal biofuel industry to increase efficiency and reduce redundancy in all of these tasks. and as a way to define the areas where standards and regulation may be needed. Complete Phase II Environmental Impact Statement by the end of Year 2. (e. Build information resources. DOE should put in place a process that can help define a clear picture of the regulatory and standards policy for algal biofuels. Develop an efficient. soil. Timeline for Completing Actions Year 1: 1. Promote the definition of an algal biofuel industry as agriculture.
greenhouse gas abatement. it appears that states are beginning to line up into two camps. but also ecological impacts due to engineering of multi-acre cultivation systems and local climate changes due to large-scale evaporation. and local levels that were designed for significantly different industries. and reduction of competition for strategic resources such as water and agricultural land.or demo-scale cultivation and processing facilities. ones that will promote the growth and others that will restrict the growth of a local algal biofuel industry. and new sources for food and feed. DOE and USDA have been supporting R&D efforts for cellulosic ethanol for nearly 30 years. The size and unprecedented nature of projected algal biofuel production facilities will call for scrutiny not just on issues such as release of nonindigenous algal strains or toxic chemical handling. thus encouraging scientists. state. A second area of uncertainty lies in the sustainability aspect of algal biofuels. In terms of the intersection between policy and launching an industry to produce algal biofuels at scale. these policies will reduce uncertainty and risk. In addition. State agencies are beginning to address algal biofuel issues in response to plans for pilot. Based on input at the Workshop. such as perhaps one or a combination of the DOE national labs. because intellectual property may be the primary asset of biofuel companies. because private companies have a financial stake in the successful development of the industry. the credibility of studies carried out by the industry that will benefit from the outcome of the studies may not be high. and perhaps even cellulosic ethanol. through 152 . This movement may be informed by the contradictory drivers of fear of unknown biohazards and desire for growth in commerce. including energy security.6164 6165 6166 6167 6168 6169 6170 6171 6172 6173 6174 6175 6176 6177 6178 6179 6180 6181 6182 6183 6184 6185 6186 6187 6188 6189 6190 6191 6192 6193 6194 6195 6196 6197 6198 6199 6200 6201 6202 6203 6204 6205 6206 6207 6208 Policy Framework for Algal Biofuels Policy Objectives It is clear that a thriving industry based on the large-scale production of algal biofuels can significantly impact a number of national energy policy goals. Small. Equally important to the nation are the opportunities for creating new jobs. alternate source for chemical feedstocks not based on petroleum. such studies should therefore be undertaken by a neutral party. and it will take a few more before this industry becomes economically viable. but not necessarily by scientific fact. it is in the best interest of the federal government to develop a set of policies that will promote the development of this industry beyond the R&D phase to large-scale commercialization. Risk reduction. novel approaches for water remediation. algal biofuel companies with limited resources are faced with a complex overlapping set of regulations established by a number of agencies at federal. many productive actions can be taken. or to carry out LCAs. or to proactively deal with agencies setting up new policies. Biofuel companies may not have the resources to unravel the regulatory tangle. they may be disinclined to reveal the information necessary for these studies to be carried out. entrepreneurs and investors to enter the arena in large numbers and remain for the time needed to bring this industry to fruition. It has been assumed that algal biofuels will have a significantly smaller carbon footprint than corn ethanol. Probably the most serious area of uncertainty at this moment involves the regulatory landscape as described above. Finally. but no LCA has yet been published. Therefore. At the highest levels.
the only way to guarantee that lab-scale experimental work is relevant to commercialization is to work within a fully integrated facility that allows for evaluation of algal growth characteristics. Therefore. the scale up of corn ethanol processes provided much valuable data. microbial genetics. As a result. In contrast. Starch ethanol in turn benefits from generations of traditional crop breeding and. Further. Even these may be insufficient. support for algal biofuel R&D has never been great and has languished for the past decade. For algae. to facilitate the scale up of cellulosic ethanol production. and the successful commercialization of algal 153 . productivity. Research at bench scale could reasonably be expected to scale to industrial levels. decades have been spent tackling the challenge of breaking down the lignocellulose biopolymer and streamlining the conversion to fuel process. harvest. and it is unlikely that the equipment exists that can be downscaled from the pilot or demo scale to something that can be carried out in a lab. The push for commercialization began only after a significant level of risk had already been eliminated. The development of the cellulosic ethanol industry represents a useful model for support of the algal biofuels industry. again limiting R&D to the commercial enterprises. the bulk of progress in the future will be protected as valuable IP. Despite this heritage. and conversion. Algal biofuel technology is based on a rather limited understanding of algal biology that comes from academic labs. though there are key differences: 1 Cellulosic ethanol R&D grew out of an effort conducted mainly at academic and national labs. the science and engineering of algal biomass processing/oil extraction draws little from any single existing industrial process and currently depends upon the application and adaptation of methodologies from a wide spectrum of industries. switchgrass) and the fermentation processes for converting the sugars to ethanol are derived from our existing agricultural economy for growing corn for food and converting starch to ethanol. The manifold precedents that inform the cultivation of cellulosic energy crops at scale (e. more recently. 3 Cellulosic ethanol benefits from its direct agricultural and process engineering lineage to starch ethanol. Bench-scale work has uncertain predictive value for large-scale production. combined with changes in policies relating to gasoline formulation. combined with understanding of large-scale algal growth obtained from the production of food supplements and nutraceuticals. but these studies have little precedent for production of low-cost commodities on a scale that can impact the fuel industry. there is no existing agricultural economy for producing algal biomass at any appreciable scale. and economic models could be based on a broad base of technological precedents.6209 6210 6211 6212 6213 6214 6215 6216 6217 6218 6219 6220 6221 6222 6223 6224 6225 6226 6227 6228 6229 6230 6231 6232 6233 6234 6235 6236 6237 6238 6239 6240 6241 6242 6243 6244 6245 6246 6247 6248 6249 6250 6251 6252 6253 sustained support for a continuum of basic to applied research efforts.g. Commercial algal biofuel enterprises are springing up rapidly and have taken the lead in R&D despite the risk of failure at this early stage. 2 Cellulosic ethanol R&D is based on well-understood biotech fundamentals including enzymatic hydrolysis. and industrial fermentation. In addition. The knowledge about the biology of algae as a potential energy crop is currently limited. This is beyond the capabilities of most academic and national labs. genetic engineering efforts to improve yields. on the other hand. provided the foundation for the establishment of a number of startup companies poised to begin commercial production in the next few years. not to mention hardware.
In terms of basic research. In terms of reducing business risk. The oil industry has begun to show interest in algal lipids as a feedstock for renewable fuels. making it hard to foresee how the current industry players can stay in the game long enough to bring about the technological developments necessary to achieve commercialization without federal support.6254 6255 6256 6257 6258 6259 6260 6261 6262 6263 6264 6265 6266 6267 6268 6269 6270 6271 6272 6273 6274 6275 6276 6277 6278 6279 6280 6281 6282 6283 6284 6285 6286 6287 6288 6289 6290 6291 6292 6293 6294 6295 6296 6297 6298 6299 biofuels may require the invention of novel process technologies. Recently. therefore. but ultimately could serve as the basis for the development of a more flexible model that could be used to carry out sustainability studies as well as TE analyses for precommercial processes under development. and algae have the potential to provide an above-the-ground renewable oil reserve. DOT. etc. To date. OFEE. This support would not just be an investment in the commercialization of algal biofuels but also a tactical tool in support of continued U. designed specifically for algae. Policy Options In terms of attenuation of uncertainty. EPA. physiology and molecular biology and at the same time increasing the number of trained researchers. and biofuel plant operators who will be needed to carry commercial development forward. How much will it cost (and how much is it worth) to bring the state of algae technology to the point where it is operating on a comparable level? Risk reduction. NSF. providing much needed information regarding algal ecology. a R&D Board or a senior-level council co-chaired by DOE and USDA (also includes DOI.. OSTP. These efforts would require specific sets of assumptions (e. A similar approach could be applied for algal cultivation facilities. Although there have been announcements of very large private investments in algal biofuel companies. though. It might be said that the state of algal biofuels technologies is comparable to that of the oil industry in the early 20th century. DOE and USDA could take a lead role by supporting transparent efforts to carry out LCAs and environmental impact analyses.e. location.S. comes in the form of vastly increased support across the range of R&D activities from basic research to scale up to pilot and demo facilities. federal policy is also critical to ensure that the level of effort needed to achieve commercialization can be sustained over the long run. Alternatively. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar stated that he is considering allowing ―one-stop‖ permitting for electrical transmission lines rather than demanding that developers apply for permits from each federal agency involved (i. cultivation technology.) and so would not be sufficiently inclusive to cover all process permutations. Environmental groups should be invited to participate. DOE. EPA. DOC. The Natural Resources Defense Council has already demonstrated an interest in algae and has begun to explore sustainability issues. these are exceptions. DOD. competitiveness. increased support would facilitate work at the grass roots level. OMB) could provide the platform. Treasury. it would be advantageous to establish a lead agency to help reduce the complexity of the regulatory framework. it could also provide an opportunity for training and high-tech job creation in areas where these sorts of prospects 154 . engineers. and the majority of companies labor with a small financial base.S. their support for the R&D effort has been minor. and this is appropriate since their valuation is tied to proven reserves.g. Fish and Wildlife Service). That industry is currently worth more than $1 trillion. and the U.
Support for technology R&D b. Policies should motivate innovation rather than prescribing pathways and be drawn on lessons learnt from past mistakes. Risk reduction for scale-up efforts can use cellulosic ethanol approaches as a tool.6300 6301 6302 6303 6304 6305 6306 6307 6308 6309 6310 6311 6312 6313 6314 6315 6316 6317 6318 6319 6320 6321 6322 6323 6324 6325 6326 6327 6328 6329 6330 6331 6332 6333 6334 6335 6336 6337 6338 6339 6340 6341 6342 6343 6344 6345 6346 6347 are currently lacking in the U. Most proponents of algal biofuels believe that they will prove to be more sustainable than any alternative. the quicker the algal biofuel industry would receive that recognition. and so the sooner the analyses are completed. Co-service providers (e. Fuel blenders 4. Additionally. 2.. Determine and document policy areas of importance for the algal biofuels industry.S. Each of these individual components must come together in an integrated fashion to allow for the successful establishment of an algal biofuel industry. This is another area where LCA analysis could prove very helpful in encouraging growth and development.g. Support for technology demonstration 155 . especially due to the loud voices of lobbyists for established biofuel interests. carbon capture and recycling for GHG emissions abatement) Each of these already exists in one form or another. that the industry will be modular in form. Actions Required: 1. It was a common complaint at the Workshop that algal biofuels do not compete on a level playing field. and different sorts of incentives will need to be identified and implemented to ensure that companies enter the field and remain long enough for achieving commercialization. It is quite possible. Each segment will face different economic challenges to develop the necessary technology. Identify the impact of existing policies (e. or a different source of feedstock. especially from past experience with corn ethanol. Subsidies and tax incentives could provide motivation for increased investments. but each addresses either a different market. but it must be pointed out that these incentives must be of a magnitude that makes sense in light of the size of the potential industry. Algae biomass producers 2. Policies at many levels may impact development of the industry: a. wastewater treatment.g. a different technology set. Biofuels processors 3. the definition of ―advanced biofuel‖) on the algal biofuels industry. offering loan guarantees and cost shares to make it possible for under-funded organizations to test their systems sooner rather than later. with many separate companies contributing the necessary expertise and infrastructure to bring a portfolio of products to market. Much of the above assumes fully integrated algal biofuel companies responsible for all aspects from basic biology of algae to supply of biofuels at filling stations. Co-product manufacturers 5. market incentives can do much to give confidence to investors so they can begin to see a returns on their investments sooner rather than later. This means not just fiscal policy but regulatory and IP ownership policy as well. These may include the following technologies: 1. Market incentives in the form of offtake guarantees at specified prices or novel mechanisms to stimulate demand such as a strategic fuel reserve for algal biofuels could alter the risk/reward calculation. however.
Intellectual property treatment 3. Financial incentives.g. e. Resource use policy f. Support for education of scientists and engineers e. Determine organizations with policy-related responsibilities. loan guarantees d. 4. tax credits.6348 6349 6350 6351 6352 6353 6354 c.. 156 . Develop coordination mechanism for organizations with policy responsibilities.
including the development of a conceptual process flow diagram. First. simulation. techno-economic modeling and analysis are presented in some detail. Systems and Techno-Economic Analysis of Algal Biofuel Deployment Introduction Successful development of an algal biofuels industry requires the proper combination of technical innovations in systems and process coupled with economic feasibility in the practical implementation. and or systems that show promise of the greatest return on investment. Currently. modeling and analyses can offer guidance on the wise investment of resources toward those actions. engineering. A brief description of ways that resource availability can impact biofuel production economics will be presented with more detailed discussion available in the Appendix. as well as the process of organizing and creating an analysis framework. and market constraints.6355 6356 6357 6358 6359 6360 6361 6362 6363 6364 6365 6366 6367 6368 6369 6370 6371 6372 6373 6374 6375 6376 6377 6378 6379 6380 6381 6382 6383 6384 6385 6386 6387 6388 6389 6390 6391 6392 6393 6394 6395 6396 6397 11. because the needed information for such modeling and analysis spans science. political. which can capture and accumulate these uncertainties and communicate them in a manner that allows information-driven decision-making with the benefit of the most comprehensive information available. A discussion of a systems modeling framework within which these analyses can be constructed and conducted is presented as well. Bounding calculations on estimated CO2 sequestration using algae is presented. the DOE‘s OBP has sponsored the development an algae techno-economic model framework based on a system dynamics methodology. Prior to such development. a brief overview of complementary approaches and types of analysis techniques that can be utilized in the process are presented. While uncertainties in the parameters. such analyses are best accomplished through computer modeling. and analyses of systems and processes at multiple levels are critical for developing improved understanding and insight for how an algae-to-biofuels and co-products system can best be implemented and operated within its natural. Next. integration and scale-up for commercial production. such a model framework will ultimately provide a first-order. An estimation of cost uncertainty per gallon of algae crude is described. infrastructural. confidence that the entire system can operate economically and sustainably in order to merit investment and engagement from necessary stakeholders is necessary. This section concludes by describing the additional actions needed to further refine this systems modeling framework and facilitate achievement of desired goals. As significant R&D will be required to overcome the technical challenges discussed throughout this Roadmap. lack of data. Recognizing the interdisciplinary nature of systems and techno-economic modeling and analysis. As a part of the development of this roadmap. Toward this end. this section addresses only a fraction of possible methodologies associated with large-scale deployment analyses. and business and is highly uncertain. the modeling. processes. dynamic outlook for helping to guide R&D investments and (thereby it is hoped) provide 157 . and analysis questions remain to be resolved.
Process Engineering & Other Sciences Policy Analysis 6424 6425 6426 Figure 11-1. economic. In this context then. Figure 11-1 illustrates the essential factors of the technoeconomic modeling and analysis to be taken into consideration for a comprehensive analysis of the developing industry. At this early stage. Carbon Emissions & Capture Algal Biomass & Biofuel Production Systems. have acknowledged the need to define scope and determine the role that systems Techno-Economic modeling and analysis can or should play. Ultimately. Within an overall systems context. These categories deliberately follow a supply-chain process whose findings and recommendations can directly impact concurrent modeling and analysis efforts. more thorough analysis and model refinement will reveal the critical challenges and guide our progress towards economical. scalable. Techno-economic modeling and analysis addresses interdependent issues spanning science and engineering. Figure 11-2 is a chart showing major topic areas that align with the roadmap workshop breakout session topics. 158 . and policy aspects to provide critical insight and information needed for decision-support. Rather this section defines what is necessary to create such a model and suggests a path forward to achieve that goal. Discussions in preparation for the DOE workshop. Energy & Fuel Economics. These factors provide a broad systems perspective that integrates the interdependent science and engineering aspects of algae biofuels with environmental. and policy. and discussions among participants during and after the workshop. this report and this section in particular does define a systems modeling framework but does not create a complete systems model for algal biofuel production. Workshop Results and Discussion The following discussion focuses on the workshop outcomes and recommendations in light of systems modeling. this model framework is intended to demonstrate what such a model could include and how it can be used to identify and guide research and technology development for algal biofuels. and level of detail that could or should be addressed. scales. and the range of approaches. environmental and economic issues. Energy-Water-Environment Interdependencies.6398 6399 6400 6401 6402 6403 6404 6405 6406 6407 6408 6409 6410 6411 6412 6413 6414 6415 6416 6417 6418 6419 6420 6421 6422 6423 useful information for successful commercial scale-up of algal biofuel production. and sustainable algal biofuels.
6427 6428 6429 6430 Figure 11-2. which provides guidance for the scope of content that should be integrated into systems techno-economic modeling and analysis 159 . Organizational chart identifying and summarizing key topic areas and issues for the overall algal biofuels value chain.
Due to more limited and immediate analysis objectives. and that the two can be coupled. or a hybrid combination and activating only those portions of the hybrid configuration model desired. one approach is modeling major cultivation system categories of open pond. Multiple levels and complementary approaches available for Systems. 6444 6445 6446 6447 6448 6449 6450 6451 6452 6453 6454 6455 Figure 11-3. It is also expected that the needs for coupled models of differing fidelity and scales will be defined in the early stages of the systems modeling R&D effort. It was generally agreed that modeling and analysis needs to be a critical part of a national algae biofuels research program and industry development effort. Others have noted there is a need and role for both integrated systems modeling as well as detailed process modeling. and Techno-Economic Modeling and Analysis of Algal Biofuels. how to best conceptualize a model that inclusively cover the overall ―beginning to end value chain‖ for algal biofuels production is still emerging.6431 6432 6433 6434 6435 6436 6437 6438 6439 6440 6441 6442 6443 Figure 11-3 illustrates various complementary approaches and techniques that may come into play within the systems-level scope of modeling and analysis for algal biofuels. Beyond this. Included in the workshop discussions was the question of how best to approach addressing the multiple paths and configurations of rapidly evolving systems and processes that should be considered in the modeling and analysis effort. individualized modeling effort tend to focus on modeling at a plant level rather than broader integrated systems modeling and analysis at a regional or national scale. Processes. The size of the ―matrix‖ of possibilities in this design could quickly become unmanageable. For example. closed PBR. similar to the modeling effort in support of the lignocellulosic ethanol biofuel program. Having many multiple models that are each uniquely customized to a 160 .
assessment. systems. or optional technology needs/options. Collecting and understanding key 161 .6456 6457 6458 6459 6460 6461 6462 6463 6464 6465 6466 6467 6468 6469 6470 6471 6472 6473 6474 6475 6476 6477 6478 6479 6480 6481 6482 6483 6484 6485 6486 6487 6488 6489 6490 6491 6492 6493 6494 6495 6496 6497 6498 6499 specific combination of systems and processes and performance parameters is another approach. The desired goal is to develop a ―generalized‖ and flexible modelin g and assessment framework and platform that incorporate the key technical information distilled by methods outlined in Figure 11-3. processes. USDA. Much more detailed or custom models of an individual subsystem or process blocks could then be developed by various others in industry. universities. Figure 11-5 shows a number of process options available for every step in the algal biofuel production chain. national. etc. or customized spreadsheets. Sandia‘s CFD open raceway pond model) or process engineering models using widely accepted and used commercial process modeling tools like AspenPlusTM. A system is an aggregation of subsystems interacting such that the system is able to deliver an over-arching functionality. a process flow diagram was developed to reveal the intricate interdependency of algal biofuel production and present at every track discussion. EPA. processes Private investment / funding sources Systems Analysis This section provides an overview of key system modeling components that are believed to be required for a fully functional multi-scale model framework for realization of algal biofuel production goals. Flexibility in being able to link custom subsystem or process models into an overall meta-system modeling and analysis platform would provide a capability that could be of significant value and benefit to different stakeholder communities that could include: DOE & national labs doing R&D. and essentially represents what exists today with various groups doing modeling and assessment specifically focused on their chosen approach. Sub-level processes that made up different thematic sessions in the workshop.. and other technical and non-technical issues. To facilitate system-level thinking during the workshop. Figure 11-4 illustrates the interdependent character of the overall algae biofuels value chain that involves a broad range of systems. & tracking of program investments Other Federal and State Agencies (DOD. System analysis is foundational to designing a strategy for algal biofuel deployment.) Universities doing a wide range of technical/economic/ policy R&D and assessment Industry developing & commercializing technologies. are all inter-related. The disadvantage of such a distributed approach is obviously that it does little to inform the regional. from algae growth to fuel processing.g. and national labs using different techniques such as high performance physics-based modeling (e. Some sort of standardized interface requirements or definitions should be established for system and process functional blocks that would enable the development of an open-source modeling and assessment platform with ―plug & play‖ flexibility.
evaluate costs. wind electrolysis. energy and environmental tradeoffs and set research priorities and inform policy by sound analysis. 162 . there are more than 2000 unique pathways from strain selection to final product and co-product. H2A was designed to consider various pathways toward a hydrogen economy. This program could serve as a guide for moving forward with analysis of algal biofuel production. 6517 6518 6519 6520 6521 Figure 11-4: Illustration of the broad systems analysis perspective needed to address the dynamic coupling and interdependencies across the overall algal biofuels and coproducts value chain. most of which are still immature and emerging. Even that is an underestimate since many of the process steps will differ depending on the product or co-product chosen. The options for hydrogen production include goal gasification. there is precedence for this sort of undertaking in DOE‘s H2A program. nuclear energy.6500 6501 6502 6503 6504 6505 6506 6507 6508 6509 6510 6511 6512 6513 6514 6515 6516 information from each node in the process becomes the primary task of the system analysis. In fact. and organic molecule reforming. Established in 2003 in response to President Bush‘s Hydrogen Fuel Initiative. Though it may seem daunting to attempt to develop a comparative analysis based on so may process permutations. Both Figure 11-4 and Figure 11-5 indicate that there are large permutations of potential pathways to algal biofuel production.
2 Carbohydrates 6.0 Algal species selection 5.2 Conversion to Co-products 6. 1.3 Water Treatment 10.1 Land 3.2 Nutrients (NPK) 6.2 Fertilizer 6. cogeneration 4.3 Filtering 4.5 Solar resource.2 Fuel-Fired 9.3 Proteins 5. analysis methodologies and tools exist for resolving process development.2.1 Lipids 5.0 Renewables 1.2 Open systems 3.1 TAG 6.7 Drying 4..1 Feed 6.1 Flocculation & settling INPUT 3.Process Flow Diagram for Algae Biofuel Production 5. and energy balances that evaluate the thermodynamic or hydrodynamic limits of processing units.4 Centrifuge 1.) 4.0 Algal biomass 4.6 Wet algal or biological assist derivative biomass PROCESS PROCESS CATEGORY OUTPUT 4. Broadly.3.6.3 Pathogens.) 163 .2 Thermochemical 6. Systems analysis can help quantifying the complexity of producing algal biofuel by quantifying uncertainties. Critical climatic and natural resource data can be readily accessed. etc. Other sections of this report point out the lack of information about the characteristics of algae themselves and the characteristics (energy requirements and costs) of the processes that are described in the process flow diagram.5 Biological Assist Harvesting (shrimp. and feedbacks across the entire system.1 Solar 4.3.5 Biogas/Methane 6.0 Extraction & Separation 2.1.0 Siting 1. FLUENTTM. climate and weather 3. identifying and correctly modeling interdependencies and feedbacks.6. such as Land and water resources (characteristics.5 Biological Assist .2 Fatty acids 6.3.2 Green diesel 6.fish .2 Airlift flocculation 8. each providing a unique method for addressing technical and economic concerns.3.0 Water Capture 10.6 Ethanol 2.4 Energy sources 4.7.2.brine shrimp .4 Materials 6. momentum.0 Cultivation 1. etc.etc.4 Gasoline-like 6. availability. fish excrement.1 Closed systems 1.1 Conversion to Biofuels 5.2.3 Biochemical 6.1. and comparing trade-offs from various scenarios with regard to cost. Example tools include AspenPlusTM.3. Geographic Information System (GIS) Analysis and Visualization tools(described in detail in Section 10) are indispensible for algal systems analysis due to their ability to perform regional mapping and resource analysis.1 Water disposal 1.2 Fresh water source 6522 6523 6524 6525 6526 6527 6528 6529 6530 6531 6532 6533 6534 6535 6536 6537 6538 6539 6540 6541 6542 6543 6544 6545 Figure 11-5 – Multi-pathway algae biofuel process flow diagram for tracking inputs.6 Water 4.7 Hydrogen 2.0 Harvesting 6.3 Infrastructure and facilities 1.1. engineering analyses require automated mass.6.1. among others.1 Primary water source (saline/brackish/wastewat er) 1.1. outputs.2 CO2 3.1 Chemical 5.3.4 Wastewater Heterotrophic. A substantial number of barriers are enumerated and designated as goals to be achieved.7.3 Chemicals 6.1 Algal species 5. At a subsystem level.3 Hybrid systems 4.3 Aviation 6.1 Biodiesel 2.2.4 Other metabolites 1. predators 3. risk.3. etc.
may also be employed. storage infrastructure Other infrastructure and environmental features. solar Water evaporation loss CO2 resources (point source emitters. Algae Production Cost Uncertainties – Illustrative Example Data gathering for an industry that has yet to be realized can be one of the biggest challenges in techno-economic analysis. the range of estimates already reveals discrepancies in cost by three orders of magnitude. cost analysis based on published data was carried out using twelve references and summarized graphically in Figure 11-7.CSU/Solix Analysis . including: Benemann & Oswald T-E Assessment of Open Ponds (1996) Presentations from 2007 and 2008 Algae Biomass Summit meetings Other available T-E assessments . Multiple models and model results will be required at multiple scales and incorporated into the systems model framework to adequately address the scope of the algal biofuel technical challenge. Operation & Maintenance cost estimates Discounted cash flow analysis Cost (& offsets) of co-product feedstock production Cost of biofuel production Carbon footprint cost accounting Specific life-cycle analysis modeling tools include GREET (Argonne National Lab. 2009) and Lifecycle Emission Model (Delucci. 2002). Economic analysis tools for static CAPEX & OPEX calculations are also integral to system analysis as they reveal financial investment or market incentives needed for algae biofuel deployment. transport. To facilitate the objectives of participating experts during the roadmapping workshop. Some examples are POLYSYS ICARUS cost estimate software (or equivalent) Equipment. pipelines) Fuel processing. Sandia.SNL Analysis .NMSU Analysis Other open literature papers & reports While the sampling size is small relative to the available information.6546 6547 6548 6549 6550 6551 6552 6553 6554 6555 6556 6557 6558 6559 6560 6561 6562 6563 6564 6565 6566 6567 6568 6569 6570 6571 6572 6573 6574 6575 6576 6577 6578 6579 6580 6581 6582 6583 6584 6585 6586 6587 6588 6589 Climatic change: temperature. and several university and industry participants. precipitation. These 164 . Using existing sources of information available in the open literature and through initial collaboration amongst NREL.
yielding a more reasonable value of $25 per gallon (Figure 11-6). The Solix model. there are indications that a combination of improved biological productivity and fully integrated production systems can bring the cost down to a point where algal biofuels can be competitive with petroleum at approximately $100 per barrel. reduced energy costs and co-product credit. using relatively conservative assumptions for lipid content (35%). Other lessons to be learned from this exercise is that when raceway ponds are compared head to head with photobioreactors (as in the case of the the two values generated by Sandia. These numbers are absurdly high for biofuel production. despite large differences in process details and economic parameters used. Ben-Amotz of Seambiotics explored process options (some actually implemented and some hypothetical)in a transition from -carotene production to algal biofuel production. details and . demonstrated the value of improved productivity. In presentations at Algae Biomass Summits in 2007 and 2008. The impact of increased productivity is demonstrated by the various cost estimates provided by Benemann‘s original model and NREL‘s updated version. etc. NMSU‘s model also demonstrates the value of improved productivity as well as the impact of economies of scale. Extrapolation of cost data for -carotene and eicosapentaenoic acid production. 165 . The only real data available for algal biomass production comes from the food supplement/nutraceutical industry. It is remarkable (though possibly coincidental) that the various base case estimates employing tested process steps all fall in the range of $20-40 dollars per gallon. A summary of consolidated TE modeling efforts is shown in Figure 11-6 and the basis for these calculations is shown in Table 11-1. below) increased capital costs led to an almost two-fold increase in estimated production costs. PBRs.).6590 6591 6592 6593 6594 6595 6596 6597 6598 6599 6600 6601 6602 6603 6604 6605 6606 6607 6608 6609 6610 6611 6612 6613 6614 6615 6616 estimates include both actual and hypothesized values that span 10+ years and 3 continents. alone of those evaluated. but serve as an entry point into this analysis. They also span several technologies (open pond. leads to figures on the order of $1000 per gallon lipid.
Solix. Sandia (2007). Benemann (1996).6617 6618 6619 6620 6621 6622 6623 Figure 11-6 Per gallon triglyceride cost from different publically available estimates. Bayer. General Atomics. 166 . 2008). NREL & NMSU (private communications. Tapie & Bernard (1987). (2008). Israel. Cal Poly (2008). Seambiotic.
This variation will determine the area of cultivation systems needed to achieve a set amount of product.6624 Table 11-1 – Summary of assumptions from the various sources shown in Figure 11-6. Even in the case of co-location. and this factor varies widely across the country. on the other hand. are not unique to the development of algal biofuel technology. the size of an algae facility will require extensive 167 . it will be advantageous to colocate cultivation facilities with fixed CO2 sources. Certain elements. As noted in Section 9 and in this section. aspects of large scale autotrophic algal cultivation. The various inputs necessary for algal biofuel production have been described in previous sections. These aspects are discussed at length in the Appendix. it may be necessary to transport CO2 over some distance.S. but this will not be feasible in all instances and thus. The average annual insolation is inarguably the rate limiting factor for algal productivity. though important for overall TE analysis. for which geographical variation of resource availability will have major impacts on cost of production. There are. and it will affect the amount of culture that will need to be processed on a daily basis. but it is appropriate that they are briefly mentioned here. 6625 6626 6627 6628 6629 6630 6631 6632 6633 6634 6635 6636 6637 6638 6639 6640 6641 6642 6643 6644 6645 Impact of Geographic Variability of Inputs on Algal Biofuel Production Costs. CO2 availability and cost will play a role in cultivation scalability and operating expense. like cost of power and water vary over the U. but these variations. even commercial viability. it will affect the amount of CO2 that can be captured.
but it is likely that there is an optimum minimum size for a production facility. output flows. waste stream resource capture and reuse. resource use. In summary. economic. Land prices and availability can also impact the cost of biofuel production. A dynamics simulation model will also provide an integrated analysis framework and will include: Broad value-chain scope: from resources and siting through production to end use Algae biofuel and co-products industry scale-up potential.6646 6647 6648 6649 6650 6651 6652 6653 6654 6655 6656 6657 6658 6659 6660 6661 6662 6663 6664 6665 6666 6667 6668 6669 6670 6671 6672 6673 6674 6675 6676 6677 6678 6679 6680 6681 6682 6683 6684 6685 6686 6687 pipeline systems. and flexible modeling approach that can foster collaborative analysis. environmental. carbon credits must also enter into this analysis. If it is necessary to distribute the facility over a number of smaller parcels of land. As in traditional agriculture. Quality of CO2 will also play a role for algal growth. rigorous. Finally. then. In the summer. it must be stressed that a technology that will require immense volumes to play a role in the energy economy cannot afford to miss the economic target by a fraction of a penny. adding to the cost. but moving this heat to the extensive algal cultivation systems will provide the same engineering problems as moving the CO2. and policy issues Feedbacks and Multiple Sector Interdependencies with links to other models and analyses 168 . It is reasonably straightforward to calculate the impact of the cost of land on the overall cost of lipid production. learning curves and improvement projections Technical. Algae Techno-Economic analyses: System Dynamics modeling Systems dynamics modeling is a powerful. it is clear that calculations for the cost of of algal biofuel production will require detailed inputs that take into consideration the variations in cost and availability of the essential elements for cultivation. the temperature during the growing season will restrict the ability to cultivate specific strains for extended durations. evaporation rates may provide some level of temperature control but evaporation will also add to operating cost (for water replacement). and some sources are likely to require more cleanup than others (especially if there are plans for animal feed as a co-product). it may not be possible to get the most benefit of scale economy. Waste heat from the CO2 source may allow for growth during periods of suboptimal temperature. constraints and impacts Input resources. cogeneration Integration with existing infrastructure Required build-up of new infrastructure with time delays. though it is not yet clear how to factor this into the calculation. While these variations may be minor relative to the technical uncertainties.
032.000 SUITABLE LAND LIMIT Limited by CO2 available Limited by local land available Limited by percent of sun hour band land AVERAGE SIZE OF RACEWAY 1.00 100.18 g/(da*m sq) 22.2800 F 2810 .000 500.47 g/(da*m sq) 28.501.000 0 E 2601 .3200 H 3201 . The model will eventually include the ability to do Monte Carlo simulation. by selecting a specific yield constrained by the land availability constraint (all land by sun hour class.6 billion kilograms (dry) of algae by the year 2030.00 100.00 g/(da*m sq) Sun hours A < 2000 B 2000 .00 100. With 50% oil content. The model currently includes only a limited amount of available data.2200 C 2201 .94 g/(da*m sq) 24.2200 C 2201 .2400 600.000 PERCENT ACCESS TO CO2 Insolation CO2 H 3201 . To adequately inform research and investment devisions for algal biofuel deployment.000 1.2200 C 2201 . land constrained by CO 2 availability. this would result in 2.2600 land constraint comparison 1. land constrained by access near CO2 sources) results in estimates of total algae production in g/day/meter squared.500 2.84 thousand acres B 2000 . and has been developed further since the workshop. This amount of land is constrained by the 100 plants/yr of 5 raceways of 1032 acres each.00 100. CUMULATIVE AVAILABLE ACRES FOR OPEN POND ALGAE (thousand acres) Sun hours A < 2000 47. continued progress in techno-economic analysis can provided needed additional information.00 98.000.00 100.65 g/(da*m sq) 19. Recommended Priorities and R&D Effort The DOE model described above was initially prepared in outline form for the algae roadmap workshop.00 m sq/plant thousand acre s 1.2400 D 2401 .000 acres.3400 I > 3400 A < 2000 B 2000 . Figure 11-11 shows the results from a demonstration run in which the ―NREL current open pond‖ yield is chosen and land is limited by sun hour (least constrained).2800 F 2810 .24 g/(da*m sq) 30. The preliminary model uses the yield and land availability assumptions from the same data sources used in Figure 11-10 and Tables 11-4 & 11-5.00 g/(da*m sq) 17.3200 H 3201 .2600 E 2601 .000 D 2401 .00 100.3000 G 3001 .03 Average plant age 200 0 0-1 3-4 6-7 9-10 12-13 15-16 18-19 21-22 24-25 27-28 30-31 33-34 36-37 39-40 6703 6704 6705 6706 6707 6708 6709 6710 6711 6712 6713 6714 6715 6716 Plant age cohort Figure 11-11: Sample preliminary model interface This result requires building ponds on approximately 33. which is a constraint that was activated during this run.3000 G 3001 . varying parameters values within pre-set ranges in order to describe the uncertainty or robustness of model output. By using an interactive graphical user interface. For example.000 MAXIMUM ANNUAL CONSTRUCTION RATE (PONDS) 20 50 100 150 plants/yr 200 250 300 40 60 80 100 CO2 availability limit Local land constraint 50 % 0 Fraction of suitable land remaining plants YIELD SCENARIO SWITCH Benemann open pond Benemann open pond maximum NREL current open pond NREL agressive open pond NREL maximum open pond NMSU current open pond NMSU highest open pond Solix current hybrid Solix Q2 2009 hybrid NBT Israel open pond Seambiotic IEC Israel bst open pond Yield 15.00 100. which is about 0.2800 F 2801 .6688 6689 6690 6691 6692 6693 6694 6695 6696 6697 6698 6699 6700 6701 6702 The framework for a systems dynamics model of commercial scale algal biofuels operations is described. Note the slider settings that also influence model output.3400 I > 3400 % 0. The results show a cumulative production of approximately 5. the model can be used to conduct rapid ‗what if‘ analyses.41 g/(da*m sq) 21.2600 E 2601 . The yield is 20 g/day/meter2.3200 400.2400 D 2401 . Workshop 169 .81-billion gallons.8-billion kg of oil.3400 I > 3400 Local land 40 60 80 100 100 % PERCENT AVAILABLE OF SUN HOUR BAND LAND Land constraints Weighted sun hours 200.86 100 300 10.71 g/(da*m sq) 26.3000 G 3001 .
While we initially provided an illustrative system dynamics framework.g. an concentrated effort to construct a useful system analysis model is recommended. units. Determine the current state of technology Identify critical path elements that offer opportunities for cost reduction Identify research areas most in need of support Identify external factors that will impact cost Provide plan for entry of algal biofuel into a renewable fuel portfolio Inform and perhaps guide formation and/or modifications to public policy Incorporate appropriate insights and benefit from alliances with industry associations The Techno-Economic Analysis can accomplish this by: Stressing dynamics over detail Employing modular modeling. a more comprehensive. e.6717 6718 6719 6720 6721 6722 6723 6724 6725 6726 6727 6728 6729 6730 6731 6732 6733 6734 6735 6736 6737 6738 6739 6740 participants specifically suggested that the following areas be addressed in the modeling and analysis. etc. * ISBL – Inside Boundary (or Battery) limits. ISBL and OSBL approaches* Establishing interface requirements between sub-systems Leveraging university resources Maintaining industry standard notation. To process the above suggestions with sufficient fidelity to inform R&D investment and guide technology risk management. OSBL – Outside Boundary Limits 170 . phased approach is outlined in Table 11-6.
Addressing these uncertainties in a systematic and integrated modeling assessment could help speed the deployment of an algal biofuels industry. E.J.‖ Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change. ―Recovery of microalgal biomass and metabolites: process options and economics.R. Medina.G. ―Engineering & economic Assessment of algae biofuel production.E. Ability to run policy scenarios and determine investment priorities. Lundquist. and D..1 Beta – dynamics accounted for Capability Model runs with notional data and or data ranges. ―Biodiesel from Microalgae. Y. Phase 1 2 Tasks Develop the framework to include the entire algal biofuel life cycle. P and A.‖ Algae Biomass Summit 2008.‖ Biotechnology Advances 25 (2007) 294-306.0 Beta 3 Model 1. F. and production cost estimates. A.‖ Biotechnology and Bioengineering. significant algae to biofuel process uncertainties were identified along all steps of the process. T. Molina Grima.6741 6742 Table 11-6: Phased approach with capability targets and deliverables as guidelines and suggestions set by Roadmap participants. Completed user interface. Y. Populate the model with data obtained from commercial firms including an estimate of the technology‘s Technology Readiness Level. processing technology. Probable rework to include any changes to the algal biofuel system. Redalje. 171 . Model 1. M.-H. (1988) 873-885. This would include constraints on algae production. Chisti. ―CO2 mitigation and renewable oil from photosynthetic microbes: a new appraisal. References Chisti. Belarbi. Acien Fernandez.‖ Biotechnology Advances. E... Huntley. Confidence building and model sensitivity runs. Deliverable Model 0. These have been noted in earlier sections. Tapie.0 – detail accounted for 6743 6744 6745 6746 6747 6748 6749 6750 6751 6752 6753 6754 6755 6756 6757 6758 6759 6760 Throughout the Workshop. 20 (2003) 491-515. 2006. Ability to see bounds on parameters and the resulting life cycle uncertainty. ―Microalgae production: technical and economic evaluations.G. Rudimentary user interface Model runs with commercial data. Bernard. populated with vetted and protected data sets.‖ 32.
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refineries.1. Part 51.6848 6849 6850 6851 6852 6853 6854 6855 6856 6857 6858 6859 6860 6861 6862 6863 6864 6865 6866 6867 6868 6869 6870 6871 6872 6873 6874 6875 6876 6877 6878 6879 6880 6881 6882 6883 USDA (2009a).ers. geologic formation samples was collected from.S.gov/Briefing/LandUse/majorlandusechapter. Weyer. as well as formation surface area. WA.html Saline aquifer data was compiled by NATCARB as part of the national Carbon Sequestration Program.natcarb. E. ―Theoretical Maximum Algal Oil Production‖. Seattle.gov/Publications/2007/Full_Report/usv1. Washington.Evaporation for the United States. D. and Management: Major Uses of Land‖. Oonk. "Evaporation Atlas for the Contiguous 48 United States. Issued February 2009 by the USDA National Agricultural Statitics Service. ―United States Census of Agriculture 2007: Summary and State Data‖.K.. ―Microalgae Biofixation Processes: Applications and Potential Contributions to Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Options. ―Land Use. Available from jbenemann@aol. natural gas transmission and cement plants. and wellname are examples of data included in this dataset. 2008. Washington. H. Kristina. and E.cr. http://www. Thompson. October 24 24. http://www. Al Darzins. R.htm USDA (2009b).. It is available at http://energy.usgs.. Farnsworth. Value.‖ Prepared by TNO Built Environment and Geosciences for the International Network on Biofixation of CO2 and Greenhouse Gas Abatement with Microalgae. (2006). An example of some of the sources included in the database are power generating facilities. T. Water quality. Algal Biomass Summit.com.C.usda.html 174 . Geographic Area Series.The produced water map shows locations of brackish water generated during oil and gas recovery.CO2 sources were compiled by NATCARB as part of the national Carbon Sequestration Program.L. Information includes geologic basin and formation.usda. Daniel Bush.htm CO2 Source Map of US . date sample was collected. USDA Economic Research Service On-Line Briefing Room http://www.natcarb. manufacturing. Produced Water Quality Map of US .C.agcensus. http://www." NOAA Technical Report NWS 33. sample depth.org/Atlas/data_files. Peck (1982).gov/prov/prodwat/dictionary.pdf Van Harmelen. Surface Evaporation Map of US . D. 82 p. v. Bryan Willson (2008).org/Atlas/data_files." NOAA Technical Report NWS 34.
academia. technology deployment. the business strategies of many existing companies are focused on some aspect of algae. however. but not necessarility producing transporation biofuels from cultivated algal biomass at scale. given the fact that the algal biofuels industry is still in its infancy. various models for such partnerships employed in past efforts are discussed in the context of applicability to the algal biofuels challenge. Some would advance the view that no recognized ―industry‖ at all given that there are no profitable concerns current producing algal biofuels. as related to algal biofuels.6884 6885 6886 6887 6888 6889 6890 6891 6892 6893 6894 6895 6896 6897 6898 6899 6900 6901 6902 6903 6904 6905 6906 6907 6908 6909 6910 6911 6912 6913 6914 6915 6916 6917 6918 6919 6920 6921 6922 6923 6924 6925 6926 12. and in particular. and 2) promoting the development of enabling policy. especially in an anticipated carbon-constrained world . regulations. At the same time. environmentalists. with industry. most companies in this emerging industry have not adopted the openness found in other industries in terms of sharing data and science learnings with the larger international research community (including US national laboratories and universities). the participants of the Roadmap Workshop voiced a strong consensus regarding the need and opportunity for the continued development of algal biofuels. including criteria for formation of public-private partnerships (i. Public-Private Partnerships Introduction As noted several times throughout this document. the framework and leadership needed to carry out the fundamental R&D needed to help launch a US algal biofuels industry is considerable yet still in the formative stages. given the current state of this industry. infrastructure development. and information management at a national level. Further. and entrepreneurs. overcoming the technical challenges to realizing the potential of algal biofuels will require inspired and empowered leadership and strategic partnerships. This section discusses the rationale for public-private partnerships in general and specifically. also noted the uniqueness of the partnerships environment in algal biofuels development. With concerns over intellectual property (IP) rights and future earnings. characteristics for membership). Of equal importance was the participants‘ agreement regarding the need for leadership from DOE in several areas including: 1) coordinating with other federal agencies to support fundamental and applied research. intellectual property models. and most importantly.. several options for action and anticipated timelines are presented and discussed. In addition. The participants. and standards for the emerging algal biofuels industry.e. value proposition presented by algal biofuels is widely recognized by the nation‘s top scientists and engineerings. 175 . More specifically. The Workshop participants emphasized the critical need for DOE and other federal agencies to partner with national laboratories. Given this landscape. many believe that algae holds significant—if longer term—promise to address nation‘s energy challenges. Given this situation.
especially when teams are formed around the unique. etc. which allows the advancement of technology and know-how to levels far beyond the capability of any individual entity. differentiating. building a successful partnership is another entirely. and seminars are important tools for creating such a collaborative environment. The partnership should not openly conflict with the interest of other groups. Networking events such as workshops. The benefits of partnership outweigh the cost of collaboration. For this reason. The partners can achieve more through collaboration than they can individually. it is important to keep these attributes in mind. Micheau. As ideas to encourage and enable partnerships to advance algal biofuels across private and public organizations are contemplated.‖ They recognize that some characteristic of the challenges they face (financial investment. However.) present a significant barrier to their success and that the odds of success can be attractively enhanced if tackled with partners. The benefits received from the partnership should be proportional to the value of the contribution. efforts to matriculate and enable national public-private partnerships be open and inclusive.6927 6928 6929 6930 6931 6932 6933 6934 6935 6936 6937 6938 6939 6940 6941 6942 6943 6944 6945 6946 6947 6948 6949 6950 6951 6952 6953 6954 6955 6956 6957 6958 6959 6960 6961 6962 6963 6964 6965 6966 6967 6968 6969 6970 6971 Building Successful Public-Private Partnerships People and organizations partner when they believe it is in their best interest to do so rather than ―going it alone. Partnerships may bring together parties that have not worked together before. technical capability. At the highest level. 2008): The partners collaborate on the basis of common interest. which could both be a benefit (new complimentary capability) and a challenge (the understanding of how to work together). Implicit in the concept of collaborating on a common basis is the sharing of pre-competitive research results.g. and encourage generating and sharing ideas from every corner of the algal biofuels industry. Generally. conferences. deciding to partner is one thing. successful partnerships have several key attributes (J. universities and national laboratories) for whom this kind of work is particularly aligned with both their missions and strengths. these efforts must respect and enable 176 . risk. At the same time. as this industry has many needs where multiple players can benefit. and yet complimentary strengths of their members. the government is the steward of taxpayer funds and its role in a national public-private partnership should be to ensure that access to the partnership is open to all who can contribute so as not to benefit only a few industrial players while at the same time catalyzing commercialization of technology derived from the fundamental and applied science and engineering advances achieved via public funding. this need is met via public funding for research institutions (e. formulating new approaches that will benefit all and aid industry growth towards addressing the US agenda for sustainable transportation energy security. Finding a basis of common interest for an algal biofuels partnership is possible. From the taxpayer‘s perspective.
thereby quickening the pace of innovation. 6987 6988 6989 6990 6991 6992 6993 6994 6995 Figure 11: Benefits of algal biofuels public-private partnerships Industry benefits from public-private partnerships from the exposure to fundamental science and engineering R&D through collaboration. increases the capital efficiency of commercial firms. publicprivate partnerships have the potential to accelerate commercialization of algal biofuel technology.6972 6973 6974 6975 6976 6977 6978 6979 6980 6981 6982 6983 6984 6985 6986 investment aimed at building commercial-scale for-profit industry ultimately required to meet U. many focusing on their specialty along one to a few elements in algal biofuels value chain. This.* While benefiting both private and public entities from shared investment toward mutual objectives. leading to rapid industry growth and a stable market. in turn. industry) and public entities (e. Partnerships. * In this situation. accelerating growth and enabling the development of a sustainable. realizing benefits in both categories.g. are needed to pull together the expertise and facilities.S. many of which may be investor-backed and pre-revenue as well as reduces the risk of to private investment. 177 . algal biofuels system for this industry.g. academia can be either public or private. Figure 11 shows the benefits of collaboration between private entities (e. The Benefits of Algal Biofuels Public-Private Partnerships The algal biofuels industry is evolving with numerous players. based on sharing of knowledge and capabilities for mutual benefit. needs in sustainable transportation energy. national laboratories and universities) for development of the algal biofuels.
and the aviation industry. 178 . As this industry moves forward. sharing information and allowing multiple links in the value chain to work in concert. The product users include larger companies across the petrochemical (and it‘s feedstock customers) industry. growth and harvesting. and national laboratories. academia. oil extraction. technology development. this industry is characterized by limited sharing of information. and An open environment that stimulates the sharing of ideas and technology across the entire algal biofuels value chain. The algal biofuels industry is currently comprised primarily of small technology-rich firms. Additionally. Rather. also contribute in the refining element. and ultimately to refining and conversion to fuels. These players are focused on various aspects of the algal biofuels value chain from algal growth to harvesting. agriculture. each of these entities will play a vital role in fundamental science and engineering R&D. Pre-commercial-scale user facilities that are accessible to researchers and developers to evaluate their technologies. Clear regulations allowing for siting of algal facilities and production of acceptable algal products. and creating jobs and a labor pool of talent. extraction. with experience from other industries. Some larger players.6996 6997 6998 6999 7000 7001 7002 7003 7004 7005 7006 7007 7008 7009 7010 7011 7012 7013 7014 7015 7016 7017 7018 7019 7020 7021 7022 7023 7024 7025 7026 7027 7028 7029 7030 7031 7032 7033 7034 7035 7036 7037 7038 7039 Partnership Environment in the Algal Biofuels Industry The algal biofuels industry ecosystem includes a broad cross-section of parties from multiple segments of industry and venture-backed investment. Collaborations between publically and privately funded researchers are key to enabling the formation of these partnerships. Carefully conceived partnerships that promote sharing of information and technology while at the same time ensuring for-profit companies to provide a return to their investors through the commercialization and application of the resulting technology represent the best hope for accelerating the establishment of this industry. in all likelihood. addressing technical and regulatory hurdles. government agencies. although many relevant larger companies appear to be following the algal biofuels industry without yet aggressively engaging. and fuel conversion. Given that no single player is yet ready to work the entire the algal biofuels value chain. as industry players strive to protect their intellectual property. the algal biofuels industry will be built by those who figure out how to work together. an approach of limited commercial collaboration. Labor force and intellectual talent to draw upon. Challenges for Algal Biofuels Public-Private Partnerships to Address The key challenges that partnerships must address for the algal biofuels to become viable include the following: Technology development in algal biology. combined with relative little federal investment as yet for precompetitive R&D results in slower progress with higher risk for all.
the issue here is one of overall leveraging of taxpayer dollars. iii) Coordinate Genome Sequencing Efforts between Public Sector & Private Industry To accelerate progress and minimize duplication. ii) Assist in Development of Basic Methods & Standards It is often difficult to compare data generated by different labs. gm dry weight/L/day). To optimize the investment of resources from both the public and private sector and accelerate progress in the industry. Such efforts must account for the temporal success of microalgae in natural habitats and allow results to be assembled into a culture collection serving as a bioresource for further biofuels research. A public-private partnership would be a useful vehicle to identify the criteria for selection and then prioritizing the organisms for genome sequencing and annotation. and maintain a central strain. loosely sorted according to the earlier sections in this document. The central strain. perhaps. Algal Biology The Workshop participants identified several areas that could benefit from some form of public-private partnership(s): i) Share Understanding of Existing Current Strains & Coordinate Efforts to Identify New Strains IP issues currently exacerbate the slow flow of relevant strain data.g. Given the phylogenetic diversity of microalgae. in a practical sense.. the need for validated data and the consensus of the scientific community should be used to determine a prioritized list of target strains for public sequencing. With this in mind. This is especially true in a new field where basic methods and standards have not yet been established. efforts between the public-sector genome sequencing capabilities (e. the number to be studied in depth should be limited because a critical mass of researchers is required on a given species to make progress. while private concerns interested in particular strains will fund the sequencing of whatever strains present a value proposition for their interests. A public-private partnership would be useful to fund. In some sense. There is a need for a common database for global information on the characteristics of currently available algal strains.g. large-scale sampling and isolation activities for new strains of algae need to be conducted with careful coordination of the publically funded activities. Maine (CCMP). DOE‘s JGI) and the efforts of the private sector might be coordinated so that taxpayer funds would be leveraged to those strains that the scientific community (spanning both the public and private sectors) concur as showing the most promise. develop. open access repository. this would serve 179 .7040 7041 7042 7043 7044 7045 7046 7047 7048 7049 7050 7051 7052 7053 7054 7055 7056 7057 7058 7059 7060 7061 7062 7063 7064 7065 7066 7067 7068 7069 7070 7071 7072 7073 7074 7075 7076 7077 7078 7079 7080 7081 7082 7083 Challenges that are particularly pertinent to be addressed by a public-private partnership are highlighted below. a large number of model systems could be studied. open access repository noted above would assist by using common units of measurement. such a capability could be located at the culture collection centers at University of Texas at Austin (UTEX) and/or in West Boothbay Harbor. Clearly. Of particular importance is the need to establish voluntary or otherwise common units of biomass productivity (e. however.
By its very nature. Moreover. Such a partnership would be particularly useful in establishing the functional requirements so that ultimately the design. both the development of facilities for RD&D efforts and the efforts conducted therein should be coordinated. much of the RD&D needed is in areas that are sufficiently pre-competitive. use and maintenance of such a facility meet the requirements of a broad user base. Such investment is frequently too risky or simply out of the question (in terms of acquiring such capital) for the average start-up firm. no single entity in private industry will dare to bear the effort and risk to gain insight or overcome a challenge that will benefit the entire industry overall. Further. sustained RD&D efforts at the necessary scale will promote significant capital investment. v) Develop Key Facilities that are too capital intensive. sponsoring groups. user. particularly in the areas of transcriptomics. and integrated data analysis. and as such. may strike a disconcerting chord with many who perceive that in general. Consequently. however. etc. The absence of such a resource thwarts progress. collaborative facilities that allow precompetitive R&D and new technologies to be tested would accelerate technology development. 180 .7084 7085 7086 7087 7088 7089 7090 7091 7092 7093 7094 7095 7096 7097 7098 7099 7100 7101 7102 7103 7104 7105 7106 7107 7108 7109 7110 7111 7112 7113 7114 7115 7116 7117 7118 7119 7120 7121 7122 7123 7124 7125 7126 7127 7128 as a ―master plan for genome analysis. come together to address the corresponding issues and chart a path forward to development. technologies developed in the laboratory have traditionally not translated well to the field. metabolomics. lipidomics. but so too would the creation of such an infrastructure if ill-conceived. the development of such an infrastructure demands that stakeholders from all key customer. however. To leverage government investment (taxpayer funds). The investment required to develop and maintain such a facility for some period of time is most appropriately within the purview of the government.‖ described earlier in the Algal Biology section (page 15). Quality standards and appropriate training should be developed and established to ensure consistent and useful annotation thus ensuring that the resulting annotated sequence data is usable by the larger scientific community. risky. Feedback from the Roadmap Workshop suggest that a core ―omics‖ facility dedicated to algal biofuels and a facility devoted to the development of genetic manipulation tools that have application across multiple species would significantly reduce the development time for individual strains. since the environment has a significant impact on algae performance. or both for either party As described earlier. iv) Develop a Robust Bioinformatics Infrastructure A bioinformatics infrastructure that facilitates shared understanding and communication across the scientific community with respect to algal biofuels is non-existent. quasi-government and/or government performed research takes longer to accomplish particular milestones than if the same R&D were performed outside of the government environment. implementation. proteomics. Open. A standardized set of analysis approaches should be decided upon and implemented. a public-private partnership with mechanisms (paths) for both precompetitive R&D as well as private R&D could be envisioned to generate the IP necessary to establish and capitalize for-profit commercial entities. The suggestion of such coordination.
7129 7130 7131 7132 7133 7134 7135 7136 7137 7138 7139 7140 7141 7142 7143 7144 7145 7146 7147 7148 7149 7150 7151 7152 7153 7154 7155 7156 7157 7158 7159 7160 7161 7162 7163 7164 7165 7166 7167 7168 7169 7170 7171 7172 7173 Algal Cultivation and Processing For the same reasons as above. and the current state of knowledge and commercial activity. Inextricably linked with the processing subsystems are the significant issues of energy requirements and the associated costs (with cultivation. the birth of a new industry ―from the ground up.‖ is anticipated. since this is an upstream boundary condition for the entire downstream fuel-conversion process. start up. algal biomass suffers from a lack of well-defined and demonstrated industrialscale methods of extraction and fractionation.. must be undertaken within the context and framework associated with these systems issues. all of the petroleum feedstock that enters a conventional petroleum refinery must leave as marketable products. Accurate and detailed feedstock characterization (including both composition and variability) is essential. and in providing critical data to techno-economic modeling efforts. public-private partnership(s) are also the most viable means to fund. Resources and siting issues for algal biofuels scale-up are dominated by land use. they may perhaps represent the loudest cry-out for public-private partnerships as all other efforts associated with research. and process and tool development. Conversion to Fuels “Fit for Use”. design. including 181 . develop. the greatest challenge in algal fuel conversion is likely to be how to best use the algal remnants after the lipids or other desirable fuel precursors have been extracted. etc. Resources & Siting. Sharing of the costs and insights gained would be particularly useful in focusing further investments in preferred methods.S. Given U. This effort will require a significant investment toward basic research in multi-trophic. and systems analysis and techno-economic modeling are highly interdependent topics. Hence. Singly and together. required energy inputs. Regulations & Policy. nutrient supplies. technology development. and final fuel specifications are highly interdependent and must be considered together if an optimal process is to be identified. Dynamic pond monitoring will be important for both wild-type and genetically modified algae whose competitiveness in the field cannot be accurately predicted. and Systems Analysis & TechnoEconomic Modeling Resources and siting. conversion process. regulations and policy. water supplies. Further. However. the costs and risks of which are perhaps best borne by a public-private partnership. harvesting. operate and maintain joint-use. the existing regulatory processes that potentially impact this industry. open-access facility(ies) for large-scale R&D that address cultivation and downstream processes. proof of pathways.). and this conservation law also must hold true for the algae biorefineries of the future if they are to achieve significant market penetration and displace fossil fuels. the potential presented by algal biofuels. some of which are outside the purview of DOE. processing systems. Distribution & Utilization Today. needs in sustainable transportation energy. molecular-level algal ecology. etc. Lifecycle analysis of energy and carbon will be a key tool in selecting the winning fuel conversion technologies. and related regulatory policies. The feedstock.
but lacking any public-private partnership.g. the modelers will require input in terms of assumed values or ranges (for production unit costs. government can also help disseminate critical information to facilitate sharing of research. which for now must be based on an assortment of assumptions and data extrapolated from small-scale laboratory work or from the cultivation of algae for highervalue products.g. as it is not yet clear which ones have the most commercial potential. when trying to model a subsystem level (e. 182 . from foundational research to commercialization. helping to advance the algal biofuels industry.g.. as an algal biofuel industry does not presently exist anywhere in the world. etc. The challenges ahead for large-scale cultivation and processing of algae for biofuels are significant and R&D teams should include techno-economic assessment efforts. feedback. integration and optimization research. One or more public-private partnerships could serve valuable roles as the interface/broker to provide data.7174 7175 7176 7177 7178 7179 7180 7181 7182 7183 7184 7185 7186 7187 7188 7189 7190 7191 7192 7193 7194 7195 7196 7197 7198 7199 7200 7201 7202 7203 7204 7205 7206 7207 7208 7209 7210 7211 7212 7213 7214 7215 7216 7217 7218 the role of federal. its national laboratories. DOD. The economic viability of sustainable microalgal cultivation enterprise is a very interdependent equation involving multiple interfaces between technical research. Cost estimates for lifecycle modeling of a particular process will be needed. Lastly. large-scale cultivation process). Such studies are inextricably linked to technoeconomic analyses. it will be difficult to validate enough cost data points for a particular process to know that the model has much validity at all.). including DOE. cultivation. USDA. At the Workshop. standards therein and any model likely to be useful to many must be non-proprietary and include data based on average or assumed values. Further. there were repeated calls from various stakeholders for life cycle analyses and environmental impact studies to be used to guide regulatory and policy decisions. etc. can bring significant value to public-private partnerships for algal biofuels. state and local agencies that presently regulate one or more aspects of growing or processing algae. need to be identified. Without a fully developed industry. Government can also bridge knowledge gaps across the algal biofuels value chain and through technology development. Various Roles Anticipated by Stakeholders Government Government.g. For example. Future potential roles for agencies that will become essential as the industry develops need to be anticipated and addressed. and the changing world of regulatory and incentive policies (e. Working with algal trade organizations. carbon credits). NASA. government laboratories house worldclass user facilities. A feasible algae-to-fuel strategy must consider the energy costs and siting issues associated with each subsystem (e. dewatering. harvesting. systems analysis and techno-economic modeling will also be complicated by the requirement to cover many potential process options. and to ensure accountability and coordination along these fronts.. They can conduct unique research requiring multidisciplinary approaches and differentiating R&D infrastructure. and other agencies (e.). and FAA).
Government can play the following roles in advancing the algal biofuels industry.S. As the algal biofuels industry does not yet have a product in any meaningful quantity in the biofuels market. as well as business: encourage the formation of partnerships and successful technology transfers. sustainability) in the form of publicly available reports. provide support for novel approaches and pilot demonstrations that will reduce risk for investors and speed deployment of algal biofuels. the federal government can leverage both funding and cross-cutting collaborative efforts to fulfill the gaps in scientific knowledge.7219 7220 7221 7222 7223 7224 7225 7226 7227 7228 7229 7230 7231 7232 7233 7234 7235 7236 7237 7238 7239 7240 7241 7242 7243 7244 7245 7246 7247 7248 7249 7250 7251 7252 7253 7254 7255 7256 7257 7258 7259 7260 7261 7262 7263 There is a role for government at each stage of the process from fundamental research to pilot-scale testing and cost-sharing of first-generation algal-based biorefineries. Setting up clear and transparent funding guidelines will be important to ensure government-funded research is unique and relevant Algal-based biofuel development can leverage the lessons learned from DOE‘s cellulosic ethanol biofuels program and apply many of the same tools and insights that have led toward funding cross-cutting research leading to new insights and achieving technical targets needed to bringing cellulosic-based ethanol closer to fruition. development. including unique areas of research and environmental impact studies. government agencies. serving the interests of society. the role that individual companies might play is unclear and best left to market-driven evolution. One way to implement interagency coordination is to adapt existing policy instruments that foster collaborations across agencies for producing lignocellulosic biofuels to also include algal biomass. demonstration and deployment (RDD&D) initiatives among U. and coordinate policymaking and funding for algal biofuels research. implement unbiased assessments of technology advancements and the associated societal benefits (e. provide funding. Rather. Among these. the government‘s interest must lie in ensuring that public-private partnerships receiving taxpayer funds serve the national interest as well as individual commercial concerns. is a good example of interagency coordination. Federal leadership and investment towards developing a successful algal-based biofuels industry has several advantages. Through this process. sustainable technologies. the Biomass R&D Board. nation. requiring matching funding from this nascent industry would likely possible primarily in a research context. commission national resources to advance algal biofuels. Individual Companies within the Private Sector Given the present state of the industry.g. taking on early high risk in the development of critical. whose appointees include both federal agency leadership as well as external experts. establish clear regulations (discussed in greater detail in the Policy section). 183 . Government should seek to disseminate precompetitive research towards accelerating industry growth and decreasing the time required for the industry to bring product to market and becoming economically sustainable.
g. Academic training will be critical to prepare scientists. conversion process. it should not be expected that any one specific model will meet all of the needs of the algal biofuels industry. The problem with four illustrative models presented below (Table 5) and many others that exist is that they were all formed relative to an existing industry. has begun an effort to establish a comprehensive list of standards to cover the entire algal biomass value chain. The means of transitioning IP from academia to industry should be enhanced to quicken the pace of commercialization for the benefit of both academia and industry. the Algal Biomass Organization (ABO). supercomputers. from raw materials to finished product modeled after the IEEE Standards Association. etc.). members of academic institutions should be encouraged to join appropriate public-private partnerships. Participation of trade organizations in public-private partnership model would be highly valuable. and expected contributions of the membership * IEEE Standards Association: A unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. and technology managers who will make up the intellectual workforce for algal biofuels. 184 .7264 7265 7266 7267 7268 7269 7270 7271 7272 7273 7274 7275 7276 7277 7278 7279 7280 7281 7282 7283 7284 7285 7286 7287 7288 7289 7290 7291 7292 7293 7294 7295 7296 7297 7298 7299 7300 7301 7302 7303 7304 Emerging Trade Organizations As discussed in the Regulatory & Policy section. and separation technologies).).. and serving as environments to develop and implement new tools. professional organization for the advancement of technologies related to electricity. catalysts. etc. dewatering pathway. engineers. Doing so may help define the boundary problem(s) for focus by the public-private partnership and bring clarity to the composition. Therefore. one approach that might prove useful to conceptualizing the various models for public-private partnerships is to think in terms of the five attributes of successful partnerships discussed earlier within the context of particular scenarios (e. modeling software. Partnership Models There are many models for public-private partnerships but none specific to the unique space occupied by the algal biofuels industry. etc. high-throughput devices. Southwestern Biofuels Association. As such.* Other collaborative efforts related to one or more subsystems of the overall algae-to-fuel lifecycle already exist (e. a 501C-6 trade association formed in 2007. not one where the goal is to develop the industry from its emergence stage. Nevertheless. California Biomass Collaborative. requirements.g. particular algal strain. operators. economists.) or end goals (specific intended use. Academia Universities and community colleges have an important role to play in the development of this industry. an international non-profit. highly sensitive imaging and chemical detection technologies. San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology. analyses and processes (such as genomic information. performance aspects of the fuel. especially at the individual investigator scale. Universities also function as a place to stimulate the exchange of ideas by enabling an open environment for scientific exchanges. conducting high quality research.
and NINE each had over 60 participants in their organizations. Models for Openness AGATE. accelerating technology development. These four organizations varied in the type of entity they created (501c6. and the University of California). Models for Technology Commercialization SEMATECH and AGATE offer the best models for technology commercialization. number of members. The open-membership aspect of these models allows for new ideas to be injected into the collaborative environment. SEMATECH provides non-exclusive. ensuring that the membership perform work of common interest and benefit and avoid competing interests. SEMATECH has the most sophisticated process for technology commercialization. and university institute). CITRIS. CITRIS. With the high-level of participation from their sectors. while SEMATECH had over 50% of the global semiconductor production through its 16 members. and the funding they received.) The models presented are intended to serve only as examples of these four external characteristics for the algal biofuels industry and to prompt members of a wouldbe algal biofuels public-private partnership to consider these attributes and models. royalty-free licenses to its members and preserves the ability to license technology to outside parties for commercialization. etc. Moreover. these organizations can effectively represent and address critical needs for their industry. but all of them had a common objective to maximize industry involvement within their organization. AGATE. collaborative precompetitive research is selected and conducted by the membership. NASA. consortium. the lead organization (DOE. DOE‘s Bioenergy Research Centers offered reasonable approaches for technology commercialization. and select the best or optimal combination of attributes to meet the specific mission of their partnership.7305 7306 7307 7308 7309 7310 7311 7312 7313 7314 7315 7316 7317 7318 7319 7320 7321 7322 7323 7324 7325 7326 7327 7328 7329 7330 7331 7332 7333 7334 7335 7336 7337 7338 7339 7340 7341 7342 7343 7344 7345 7346 7347 7348 7349 A model may be evaluated for applicability against the following criteria: Openness – How inclusive is the membership to its industry (or segment thereof)? Technology Commercialization – Is it structured to develop and commercialize new technology? Industry Growth – Does it seek to grow the industry? Shared Investment – Does it share investment equitably? Table 5 compares several existing public-private partnership models against these four external characteristics and other characteristics (e. type of legal entity. the results are transferred by publication and/or the member-only website. DARPA. but industry involvement is small as compared to SEMATECH and AGATE. Further development to a commercially viable solution occurs with external partners maintained by SEMATECH. and SEMATECH were all examples of partnership models with a high degree of openness in terms of membership and sharing of knowledge through various kinds of activities.g. with over 40 industrial members from the general aviation 185 .. NINE. These organizations facilitate new approaches to address critical needs through periodic technical meetings and forums that foster cross-collaboration amongst participants. discuss and debate the merits of each. this is absent in the models for NINE and CITRIS. Commercialization is more likely to occur when industry collaborates in research and development.
Several key efforts that might be sponsored by the government within the context of some public-private partnership(s) are highlighted below. which had seen a dramatic decrease in small aviation market demand. multifunction display for navigation and power control. AGATE. and SEMATECH offer the best models for industry growth. SEMATECH and AGATE are models based on significant government funding and matching funding from industry. NINE. Both of these examples indicate how many partners were able to come together and determine in what areas they can collaborate to their mutual benefit. AGATE. Each of these organizations was designed to attack specific technical. streamlined flight training curriculum. avoiding roadblocks in commercialization. and lightning protection. AGATE members agreed to cross-license background IP. affordable jet engine design. semiconductor industry as a result of the market threat from Japanese semiconductor firms. game-changing technical challenges that need to be resolved to make the cellulosic biofuels industry economically and environmentally sustainable. The government should support each to varying degrees: 186 . the Workshop participants agreeably felt that a lead agency such as DOE would need to serve as the ―sponsor‖ or ―lead‖ public organization to ensure clarity in terms of relative authority within a public-private partnership. these technologies moved from research concepts to adoption into the marketplace. The algal biofuels industry does not yet enjoy such investment.7350 7351 7352 7353 7354 7355 7356 7357 7358 7359 7360 7361 7362 7363 7364 7365 7366 7367 7368 7369 7370 7371 7372 7373 7374 7375 7376 7377 7378 7379 7380 7381 7382 7383 7384 7385 7386 7387 7388 7389 7390 7391 7392 7393 industry. at reasonable rates. the AGATE consortium was able to successfully focus on critical needs in lightweight. The Bioenergy Research Centers were conceived to address high risk. While each has been successful in aiding industry growth. The Bioenergy Energy Centers. Recommendations and Timeline The challenges that seem most amenable to being addressed through public-private partnership are aligned with DOE‘s mission but are not solely within its mission space. Recognizing the importance of IP issues. was designed to develop technology and standards that would create operational efficiencies for all market firms.S. and CITRIS were funded predominately by government with some participation by industry. as well as newly developed IP. the largest industrial consortium of its time with both large established firms and small businesses in the general aviation market. SEMATECH was organized to increase competitiveness of U. Models for Shared Investment The partnership models shown in Table 6 indicate varying degrees of shared investment between the government and its partners. SEMATECH and AGATE were designed to support industries with an existing market. Models for Industry Growth The Bioenergy Research Centers. As such. or regulatory hurdles limiting industry growth. Facilitated through the AGATE consortium. while reducing IP concerns so that technologies can be effectively commercialized. operational. the Bioenergy Research Centers are more closely aligned with the needs of the algal biofuels industry in terms of the maturity of the market and the overwhelming number of start-ups in the industry. real-time weather data link technology.
thus encouraging investment and promoting partnering opportunities. algal technology companies. universities. and innovate new cost-cutting measures. Nonetheless DOE could be instrumental in supporting this effort by providing funding for the accumulation of data needed to craft the standards. It could also help by promoting cooperation of federal regulatory agencies (e. and FDA) that will have jurisdiction over various aspects of the algal biomass industry. techno-economic analyses. These testbeds could be located at power plants. wastewater treatment facilities. Education and development programs to grow the specific labor pool needed to run algal-biofuels related operations. Clarification of pertinent regulations and development of a comprehensive list of standards to eliminate the uncertainties in commercialization of algae-based technologies. algal cultivation companies. 5. the evaluation of temperature control (power plant cooling and algae pond heating). and agricultural drainage/water body restoration sites to allow for adequate investigation of the role of these input groups in the overall economic viability of production processes. distributors.g. 2. and the development of efficiently designed and operated test-bed facilities. advantages of decentralized production considering parasitic losses of CO2 transport. 4. the evaluation of economies of scale vs. Commercialization of algal cultivation facilities co-located with industrial CO2 sources and/or wastewater treatment facilities. 6. USDA. and other participants coordinated by DOE at the national level. EPA. 3. refiners. Development of computer models of algae production facilities that will aid in: rapid and consistent engineering design.7394 7395 7396 7397 7398 7399 7400 7401 7402 7403 7404 7405 7406 7407 7408 7409 7410 7411 7412 7413 7414 7415 7416 7417 7418 7419 7420 7421 7422 7423 7424 7425 7426 7427 7428 1. develop new algae-based fuels and coproducts.. This effort could involve a consortium of R&D organizations. 187 . DOE cannot be expected to take a lead on this effort because only a small subset of standards will relate directly to biofuel production. Establishment of national algae biomass production test-beds to conduct research at the pilot scale (5-10 acres). etc. LCA/GHG abatement analysis. Independent evaluation of any given technology‘s TRL (Technology Readiness Level) so that government agencies can fund in the earlier stages with the knowledge and ―interest and pull‖ of other industrial entities who would assume the handoff to further the TRL and commercialize.
7429 Table 5: Comparison of Public-Private Partnership Models PPP Model Entity Type Openness of PPP Open membership 16 members. or partner facilities technical game-changing. Industry growth through education Technology only licensed to members Government funding approved for $10M over 5 years. 4 GLBRC .NINE Non-Profit Corporation (501c6) with one host facility Pre-competitive research selected by all NINE members Research conducted by Sandia and member universities NINE provides non-exclusive. with several university partners Public conferences and workshops at GLBRC create opportunity for collaboration Open membership Consortium of 60 industry. 50% of global semiconductor production Forums inspiring cross collaboration amongst members Public conferences through Knowledge Series Initial partners defined. by DOE and/or partners high-risk barriers for Few industry partners to cellulosic biofuels commercialize developed IP Industry growth supported IP licensed to interested parties with through education an evaluation of commercialization Limited industry potential involvement to address Transfer of technology by issues on industry growth publication Government funding: $125M over 5 years Significant funding from State of Wisconsin and private sources for GLBRC Significant funding from State of Tennessee for BESC Potential cash and in-kind contributions for JBEI NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR NANOTECHNOLOGY EDUCATION 6 . royaltyfree license to members SEMATECH can also license IP to third parties Industry Growth Designed to increase competitiveness of existing US firms in the semiconductor marketplace Provides commercialization network that drives economic development Develops coordinated industry roadmap to focus R&D and spur on economic growth Shared Investment SEMATECH 1. not yet appropriated Founding member commitment of $300K over 3 years 188 . JBEI has partner slots open BRCs have 1 or 2 industrial partners. academic and national lab partners. 2 Non-Profit Corporation (501c6) with two facilities and three subsidiaries Government funding: $500M over 5 years Industry: Match government funding Now funded solely by industry DOE BIOENERGY RESEARCH CENTERS (BRCs): 3 JBEI . Technology Commercialization Collaborate on pre-competitive R&D selected by membership Transfer of technology by publication or member-website data transfer Technology further developed to manufacturing solutions with external partners. other Address significant DOE facilities. 5 BESC DOE Center Not a separate legal entity with employees Research conducted at BRC. then adopted SEMATECH owns created IP and provides non-exclusive.
Technical workshops technical, business, and social issues inspire cross collaboration amongst members Open membership, Consortium of 76 industry, academic and government partners, including more than 40 representatives from industry;
paid-up license to industry members
ADVANCED GENERAL AVIATION TRANSPORT EXPERIMENTS 7, 8 AGATE
Industry consortium with NASA & FAA Not a separate legal entity with employees
Collaborative research amongst consortium members designed to reduce technical, operational, and regulatory bottlenecks IP licensed exclusively or nonexclusively Commercialization afforded as members agree to cross license background and newly developed IP non-exclusively to each other royalty-free Transfer of technology by publication, and transfer of knowledge through member-only database
Technology development and standardization designed to reduce operational costs and increase general aviation market, including large established firms and small businesses Significant industry involvement provides market focus and commercialization network
Government funding of $100M over 8 years Industry match of $100M over 8 years
CENTER FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH IN THE INTEREST OF SOCIETY 9 - CITRIS
University of California Institute Not a separate legal entity with employees
Donor-driven model Institute Research conducted by four involving over University of California campuses Industry growth supported 60 IT industry through education partners and 4 Software is open source licensed Funding of $200M over 4 years UC campuses Limited industry Other IP is either licensed nonprovided by State of California, UC involvement through Numerous exclusively, royalty-free basis or Campus funds, and industry gifts Advisory committee to Forums inspiring exclusively, royalty basis as needed No Federal funding address issues on cross to achieve the widest possible industry growth collaboration dissemination. amongst researchers and inaction with industry
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Scenarios Illustrating Preliminary Consequence Assessment:
Land, Water, and CO2 Demand for Algal Biofuels Scale-up Establishing the Basis for Initial Algal Production Scale-up Assessments Autotrophic algal productivity is typically measured in terms of dry weight biomass produced per day per unit of illuminated cultivation system (open pond, closed photobioreactor, or hybrid combination of open and closed systems) surface area. Typical units of measure include annual average grams/meter2-day, metric-tonnes/hectare-year, or tons/acre-year of dry-weightequivalent biomass. Neutral lipid (oil) content in algae is typically measured in terms of percentage of dry weight biomass, resulting in oil productivity typically being measured in terms of metric-tonnes/hectare-year or gallons/acre-year. Unit conversion factors useful for translation among the various units of measure can be found at the end of this Appendix. The high energy density neutral lipid oils of immediate interest as biofuel feedstock from algae, as well as from other more conventional oil crops and waste oil sources (Tyson, et.al. 2004), consists largely of triacylglycerol (TAG). The volumetric density of TAG vegetable oils is ~ 0.92-grams/ml, which is equivalent to about 7.6-lbs/gal. Assuming an annual daily average algal biomass productivity of PBD [grams/m2-day] and an annual average oil content of L [%] produced over the period of a full 365-day year, the resulting annual average biomass production PBA [mt/ha-yr] and annual average oil production POA [gal/ac-yr] is be given by: PBA [mt/ha-yr] = 3.65 [mt-m2-d/g-ha-yr] x PBD [gram/m2-day] POA [gal/ac-yr] = 1.17 [gal-ha/mt-ac] x L [%] x PBA [mt/ha-yr] POA [gal/ac-yr] = 1.17 x 3.65 x L [%] x PBD [g/m2-d] = 4.27 [gal-m2-d/g-ac-yr] x L [%] x PBD [g/m2-d] (Eq B-3) (Eq B-1) (Eq B-2)
As an example, if we assume PBD = 30 g/m2-day and L= 25 % oil content, using the above equations gives (without specifying the units on the leading coefficient 4.27): POA [gal/ac-yr] = 4.27 x 25 [%] x 30 [g/m2-day] ~ 3200 gal/ac-yr. Figure B-1 provides a parametric mapping of annual average algal oil production, POA, in gal/acyr as a function of annual average daily biomass productivity, PBD, in g/m2-day and annual average neutral lipid content L in percent of dry weight algal biomass, as described in above equations. The example calculation above is also plotted in Figure B-1 for illustration. The 190
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simple conversion equations given above, and the parametric plot in Figure B-1, provide a quick means of translating annual average daily algal biomass productivities and oil content into annual production projections on a gallons per acre basis. A key attraction of algae for biofuel feedstock production is the potential for high annual oil productivity per unit of area (i.e., POA). Projections for achievable annual average productivities for large commercial scale operations have ranged widely in the public domain and continue to be the subject of uncertainty and debate. Table B-0 includes the results of productivity calculations assuming Weyer‘s (Weyer, et.al. 2008) theoretical maximum (red row) as well as more moderate assumptions of productivity (green row).
g/m2/day 15 25 25 50 100 180
percent lipids 10 25 50 50 50 70
gal/acre/year 633 2639 5278 10556 21113 53204
liter/ha/year 5929 24705 49410 98821 197642 498057
7487 7488 7489 7490 7491 7492 7493 7494 7495
Table B-0: Algae Productivity Calculations Figure B-2 presents the results of Weyer‘s recent analysis (Weyer, et.al. 2008) suggesting an upper theoretical limit on the order of 50,000-gal/ac-yr and perhaps a practical limit on the order of 5000-6500 gal/ac-yr, based on the assumptions made in the analysis (high solar insolation consistent with lower latitudes and/or high percentage of clear weather conditions, 50 % oil content). An interesting feature of the assessment is the comparison with other projections from the open literature noted in Figure B-2.
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Figure B-1. Mapping of estimated annual algal oil production in gallons per acre as a function of annual average algal biomass productivity, in grams per square-meter per day, and algal neutral lipid (oil) content as a percentage of dry weight biomass. (Adapted from Massingill 2008). … Place-holder figure… need to re-do.
For the sake of the preliminary consequence assessments presented here, we assume that algal oil productivities at scale under high solar resource and suitable temperature conditions will have a practical upper limit on the order of 6500-gal/ac-yr. We also assume that this may be achieved without specifying cultivation system details or configuration, other than to allow that it may be possible with open systems subject to maximum evaporative water loss, as will be discussed later. As noted above, the critical drivers for overall algal oil productivity will be the tradeoff between the achievable annual average daily biomass productivity and the average oil content, which can be expected to depend on the complex combination of algal strain, cultivation system, and local growing conditions, as discussed at length in other sections of this report. For the simple scaling assessments presented here, we simply ignore the complexities and details that will ultimately need to be addressed, and generally acknowledge that affordable and reliable optimization of the combination of these two critical production metrics will be key to favorable techno-economics for algal biofuels.
Projected maximum theoretical and practical limits for algal oil production at nominal 20-degree latitude under high solar insolation conditions.al. The production target for this scenario is to displace 50% of the petroleum-based diesel fuel currently used for transportation. Table B-1 provides a list of numerous conventional oil crops and representative yields (Attra 2006). for transporation. et. but they are interesting from the standpoint of being major U. soy. while soy has somewhat higher average oil productivity on the order of about 48-gal/ac-yr. 193 . as noted in Table B-1.S. and algae for producing the volume of bio-oil feedstock needed to displace half of the roughly 44 billion gallons of petroleum diesel fuel currently used annually in the U. which is consistent with the practical limits discussed earlier. it is instructive to compare the projected land footprint requirement among corn. Scenario-1: Projected Land Requirements for Algae as Compared to Corn and Soy Oils As a first scenario example. compared with estimates reported from other open sources (Weyer. 2006). or 22-billion gallons. commodity crops. or algae derived vegetable oil. Corn has relatively low average oil productivity on the order of about 18-gal/ac-yr. We will assume that the volumetric conversion efficiency (gallons of biofuel produced per Table B-1. For algae. Corn and soy do not have particularly high oil productivities on average.S. with biofuel in the form of biodiesel or green diesel derived from the corn. with large acreages in production and yields that vary depending on geographic location and whether irrigation is used (USDA 2009b). we will assume a productivity on the order of 5000-gal/ac-yr.7517 7518 7519 7520 7521 7522 7523 7524 7525 7526 7527 7528 7529 7530 7531 7532 7533 7534 7535 7536 7537 7538 7539 7540 7541 Figure B-2. soy. Conventional Oil Crops and Yield Estimates (Attra. 2008).
5) billion gallons of vegetable oil feedstock must be produced annually. (~ 440-million acres) and is about a factor of eighteen higher than the current U. This requires that 22/0. which is about 80 % of the total land area of the lower-48 states (~ 1. at 48-gal/ac.S. soy acreage 7555 194 . cropland and is over a factor of seven greater than the current U. Soy.S. USDA 2009b).9-million square miles).S. corn acreage of about 86-million acres (USDA 2006.9-billion acres). Corn. regardless of the final type of fuel.3-million square miles).8 (=27. is about factor of three and a half times greater than the entire cropland of the U. with the understanding that there will also be other by-product fractions. would require just over 1.S. would require about 570-million acres (slightly below 0.5-billion acres of land (~ 2.7542 7543 7544 7545 7546 7547 7548 7549 7550 7551 7552 7553 7554 gallon of input vegetable oil feedstock) will be about 80%. which is 130 % of all U. at 18-gal/ac.
1998. soy. 2008). which is about 7. only the CO2 emitted during the sunlight hours can be captured and incorporated into the algal biomass. and the dynamic operational conditions. Algae. A glance at the parameter map in Figure B-1 suggests that this productivity target could be achieved. For algae under cultivation. In the absence of storage. such as flue gas from fossil-fired power plants (Kadam. or with 40-g/m2-day at 30% oil content. Kadam. Rough estimates of CO2 utilization are discussed here as a useful exercise to gain insight and appreciation for the opportunities and challenges for carbon capture in algae biomass and reuse in the form of algal based transportation fuels. et. would require 5.al. and relative percentage of carbon partition within the biomass.al. The process of bio-fixation of CO2 takes place only during sunlight hours when photosynthesis is active.al. 2008). et. This ―CO2 utilization factor‖ depends on algae type. provides illustration of this scenario. unless other measures are taken. et. adapted from Chevron (Bryan. et. A simple way to view this ―capture efficiency‖ is to think of the cultivated algae as a ―sponge‖ or ―sink‖ that has the capability to absorb and consume the CO2. Figure B-3. with an annual average 20-gram/m2-d at 60% oil content. 2006. 2002. ben-Amotz 2008). then with an area productivity target of 5000-gal/ac-yr.5-million acres (about 8500 square miles).7556 7557 7558 7559 7560 7561 7562 7563 7564 7565 7566 7567 7568 7569 7570 7571 7572 7573 7574 7575 7576 7577 7578 7579 7580 7581 7582 7583 7584 7585 7586 7587 7588 7589 7590 7591 7592 7593 7594 7595 7596 7597 7598 7599 7600 7601 Figure B-3. and algae(adapted from Bryan. et.6 to 2 mass units of CO2 being consumed for every mass unit (dry weight equivalent) of biomass produced (Van Harmelen. growth conditions. for example. The remaining fraction of CO2 not taken up by the algae will escape into the environment. The efficiency with which CO2 will actually be taken up by the algae will be a function of the algae. this would require from 2000-ac to 10. Efficiencies in excess of 90% have been reported (Sheehan.al.al. The size or capacity of the ―sponge/sink‖ must be appropriately matched to the volume of CO2 being made available to maximize the capture and consumption of the CO2. Scenario-2. (about 80-million acres).al. Schenk. Land Area for Commercial Scale Algae Biofuel Feedstock Production If we assume that a commercial scale algal biofuel feedstock production operation would be on the order of 10-million gal/yr to 50-million gal/yr of oil feedstock output. et. respectively. et. 2007. ben-Amotz 2007. the growth system size and configuration. 2008.al. Land footprint and oil production tradeoffs of corn. but for this discussion we will assume that an efficiency of ~ 80% can be achieved on an annual average basis during sunlight hours. et.000-ac of algal cultivation area. 2006). The resulting efficiency will be less than 100%.6 % and 7. 2008). 2008. The carbon mass balance for algal biomass growth using the metabolic breakdown and conversion of CO2 during photosynthesis results in approximately 1. Sun. Chisti.0 %. Basis for Order-of-Magnitude Projections of CO2 Utilization with Algae Production Autotrophic algae growth and biomass production can be enhanced with CO 2 from stationary sources. of the land area of the State of AZ and the State of NM. 1997. Van Harmelen.al. this means that the productive area of the algae farm and the algae culture density and growth rates must be such 195 . Sun. at 5000-gal/ac.
Using these assumptions. 2001). If the ―sponge/sink‖ is too small. A simplified illustration of the CO2 mass flows and use by algae that is assumed in this discussion is shown in Figure B-5. Figure B-4 provides representative CO2 emission rates for typical coal. we ignore the details that involve the design of the cultivation system. or one third of the 24-hour day. et. and the measures that must be taken to assure the appropriate maintenance of other key nutrient levels and growing conditions. The rate of CO2 emissions from fossil-fired power plants will vary with the type of plant technology and type of fuel used. roughly a factor of two greater. 7627 196 . we consider several scenarios that provide simplified projections for CO2 utilization by algae. Here. and will also be modulated by weather conditions such as cloud cover. We assume for simplicity that the effective annual average daily sunlight period when photosynthesis is active will be 8-hours. while coal-fired power plants emit about 920-kg of CO2 per MWh of operation.al.7602 7603 7604 7605 7606 7607 7608 7609 7610 7611 7612 7613 7614 7615 7616 7617 7618 7619 7620 7621 7622 7623 7624 7625 7626 that maximum use can be made of the available CO2. the way the CO2 is distributed and injected into the system. The effective sunlight hours per day at any given site will vary as a function of latitude and season. oil. For simplicity. we assume that the algae ―sponge/sink‖ can be made large enough to capture/consume 80% of the CO2 delivered. less of the CO2 can be effectively utilized and the capture/consumption efficiency will be lower. Natural gas fired power plants emit about 450-kg of CO2 per MWh of operation. all of which will can contribute to achieving higher CO2 use efficiency. and gas fired plants in units of kg-CO2 per MWh of power generation (Bill.
this gives 792 tons CO2 per day that could potentially be utilized for algal biomass production. et. this gives about 633 tons of CO2 per day actually metabolized by the algae.al. With two mass units of CO2 consumed for every mass unit of algae biomass grown. Assuming an average of 8-hours per day of sunlight-enabled algae biomass production. For a 200-MW power plant operating at rated capacity. Scenario-3. We‘ll use the rule of thumb (see above) that 2 mass units of CO2 will be consumed for every mass unit of dry weight equivalent biomass grown. Capture of CO2 emissions from a 200-MW natural gas power plant This scenario focuses on a 200-MW natural gas fired power plant operating 24-hours per day (a plant this size would more realistically be a ―peaker‖ plant that only operates at peak periods). which is where a lot of complications come in that we will conveniently ignore is this discussion. such as fossil-fired power plants. 80% can be utilized by the algae (factoring in less than perfect capture and uptake by the algae. this would support production of about 316 tons of algae biomass per day. As noted earlier.7628 7629 Figure B-4. depending on algae type and growth conditions. tons CO2 per MWh. From Figure B-4.S. that gives 99-tons of CO2 per hour of operation. Process diagram and assumptions used for utilizing CO 2 from stationary emission sources.495 U. Assuming that of the 792 tons of CO2 emitted during sunlight hours. Average estimates of CO2 Emission Rates in kg per MWh from Fossil-Fired Electric Power Generation Plants (Bill. to enhance algae growth while capturing carbon emissions for re-use in algae-based biofuels and other co-products. the actual number will vary. 7630 7631 7632 7633 7634 7635 7636 7637 7638 7639 7640 7641 7642 7643 7644 7645 7646 7647 7648 7649 7650 7651 7652 7653 Figure B-5. The other 2/3 of a day worth of CO2 emission from the power plant (1585 tons CO2) would be emitted to the atmosphere unless something else were done to capture and store the CO2. 197 . 2001). we have natural gas power plant emissions of 450-kg per MWh = 990 lbs CO2 per MWh = 0. as discussed earlier).
and Southeast 198 .5-billion gallons of algal oil.089-tons of algal biomass per acre per day.5-billion metric tones of algae biomass. & water consequences As a final example we consider a preliminary analysis of algal biofuel scale-up that investigates the projected requirements and consequences for land. 316 tons of algae per day would consume about 633-tons of CO2 emissions per day. For algae biomass with 30% oil content. At 2200 pounds per metric tonne. Capture & use of 1-billion metric tonnes of CO2 for algal oil production Using the rough rule-of-thumb (see references and discussion above) that two mass units of CO2 will be used and consumed in the production of one mass unit of algae biomass. Coal plants emit about twice the amount of CO2 as natural gas plants on a per energy unit generated basis. CO2.47-acres/ha) gives 0. Achieving higher algae productivities or higher CO2 uptake efficiencies would clearly reduced the required algae farm size accordingly. We assume production scale-up within each of three multi-state groups located in three different regions of the United States: Southwest (California. Notional scale-up scenarios to assess land. and 100. Assuming oil density of 7. 50-billion. Iowa. water. and CO2 supply. for transportation.billion gallons per year. This volume of algal oil feedstock converted to biodiesel or green diesel (assuming a volumetric conversion factor of about 80% for either fuel. and Missouri). which could displace approximately 80% of the total petroleum-based diesel fuel currently used annually in the U. New Mexico). Arizona.000-square meters) of 200-kg = 440-lbs = 0. the result would be 43. Scenario-4. Kansas. it follows that one billion metric tonnes of CO2 could be captured through the production of 0. using an algae farm to capture an equivalent fraction of CO2 emissions from a coal power plant would require approximately twice the farm size as required for a natural gas plant. in each of three different regions of the country. The scenario consists of assuming the scale-up of algal oil production.22-tons/ha-day. that would mean a yield per hectare (10. this would yield 330billion pounds of oil. Midwest (Nebraska. this gives 1100-billion pounds of algal biomass (dry weight equivalent).6-lb/gal. Thus.S. to the levels of 20-billon. as discussed earlier) would yield about 35-billion gallons of diesel-type biofuel. At this level of biomass productivity. This would require 3550-acres of algae farm. as noted earlier. Converting to acres (2. Scenario-5.7654 7655 7656 7657 7658 7659 7660 7661 7662 7663 7664 7665 7666 7667 7668 7669 7670 7671 7672 7673 7674 7675 7676 7677 7678 7679 7680 7681 7682 7683 7684 7685 7686 7687 7688 Assuming average algae cultivation yields of 20-grams of biomass per square meter per day.
and Florida). The projections of land required for the SW region scenario are shown in Figure B-7. along with the profile of CO2 emissions from stationary sources in those states reported in the NATCARB data base. The number of acres required to achieve the three algal oil production target levels in each of the three geographic regions is represented by the areas of the rectangles associated with each production level. Figure B-6 illustrates the scenario and shows the results and productivity assumptions used. This maximum level of productivity is assumed for the SW region. the projections for CO2 required for the SW region scenario are shown in Figure B-8. (Alabama. as a percentage of multi-state areas shown. Acreage needed in three different regions of the U. Using the algae CO2 utilization assumptions discussed earlier. Algal oil productivity of 6500 gallons/acre-yr is assumed for the highest solar resource conditions.S. for algae production with the assumed productivities shown based on available solar resource. This information is also presented in Table B-2. Geogia.. along with the actual land use profile by category for those states based on USDA estimates of land use by class. 199 .7689 7690 7691 7692 7693 7694 7695 7696 7697 7698 7699 7700 7701 7702 7703 7704 7705 7706 7707 7708 7709 7710 Figure B-6. Productivities for the other two regions are reduced in proportion to the average annual solar resource available in those regions as an average across the states in each group. as discussed earlier.
24% 100 BGY (16.49% 683. along with a profile of actual water use in those states.000 acre) NA 28.54% 0. Profile of land usage in the SW region states compared with the projected land required for algal oil production scale-up to 20.85% 14. and 100-billion gallons per year.51% 50 BGY (7. due to factors that are discussed at greater length in Section 10 of this report and further assumes no mitigating strategies for reducing evaporative water loss from open ponds. The projected CO2 and water usage impacts for the three scale-up scenarios in all three geographic regions is summarized in Table B-4. NM) Percent of land class required Estimated acreage * ( „000 acre) 6659 10675 2396 113938 1490 20 BGY (3. 50.385.04% 6.75% 516.077.42% 2.38% 1099.70% 206.60% 200 .66% Land class Urban Cultivated Cropland as pasture Pasture Idle Percent 2.96% 45.27% 0.66% 4.7711 7712 7713 7714 7715 7716 7717 7718 7719 7720 7721 7722 7723 Figure B-7.000 acre) NA 153.06% 321.82% 128. Table B-3: Land availability by class and land requirements for algae production Southwest (CA.692.000 acre) NA 72. This water loss is expected to be a significant over-estimate. Figure B-9 shows the projected evaporative water loss from open systems in the SW region scenario. AZ.
72% 12.82% 0.: Southwest (CA..26% NA NA NA NA 176.al. IA. 2008) 201 .Grazed forest Non-grazed forest Defense and industrial Rural transportation Miscellaneous farm Other Parks 33261 33103 6426 2063 528 9304 30364 13.21% 3.67% NA 49. GA.57% 0. Midwest ( NE. and Southeast (Al.S.23% 2. 50.29% 13. MO).07% NA 23.11% NA * thousands of acres 7724 7725 7726 7727 7728 7729 7730 7731 7732 7733 7734 Figure B-8. 2008).14% 9. Preliminary assessment of potential CO2 demand and evaporative water loss for three hypothetical algal oil production volume scale-up scenarios implemented separately in three multi-state regions of the U. AZ. NM).al. and 100-billion gallons per year (Pate. KS. Profile of stationary CO2 emissions in the SW region states compared with the projected CO2 required for algal oil production scale-up to 20.25% NA NA NA NA 33.13% NA NA NA NA 82. FL) (Pate. et. et. Table B-4.
202 . and land limitations around point sources of CO2 (see section 11 of this report). 2008). which is worst-case and will likely be a significant over-estimate. sunlight hours. The data in Table 3-4 reinforces the necessity of developing a model with the required data to address the uncertainty in production constrained by input resource availability. 50. location of CO2 point sources. A preliminary system dynamics model of algal biofuel production was built to examine the land availability issue by looking at land class. Pan evaporation data for fresh water was used.CO2 Usage 20 BGY 50 BGY 100BGY 20 BGY 50 BGY 100BGY % of 2008 CO2 emission from electricity generation Southwest Midwest Southeast 176% 161% 94% 440% 404% 235% 880% 807% 470% % of 2008 total CO2 emission 144% 128% 45% 361% 320% 112% 722% 640% 223% Water Evaporation 20 BGY 26% 70% 48% 50 BGY 585% 162% 119% 100BGY 108% 304% 239% 20 BGY 12% 25% 12% 50 BGY 266% 56% 31% 100BGY 49% 106% 62% as % of 1995 total irrigation Southwest Midwest Southeast as % of 1995 total water use 7735 7736 7737 7738 7739 7740 7741 7742 7743 7744 7745 7746 7747 Figure B-9. Profile of water use in the SW region states compared with projected water loss from open ponds for oil production scale-up to 20. et.al. and 100-billion gallons per year (Pate.
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refineries.7837 7838 7839 7840 7841 7842 in the database are power generating facilities.org/Atlas/data_files.org/Atlas/data_files. http://www.html NATCARB (2008b). natural gas transmission and cement plants. Information includes geologic basin and formation. manufacturing.natcarb. as well as formation surface area.natcarb. Saline aquifer data was compiled by NATCARB as part of the national Carbon Sequestration Program. http://www.html 205 .
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