You are on page 1of 28

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents
UNIVERSITY OF

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

CAMBRIDGE

Algal Biofuels and the Algal Bioenergy Consortium
Professor Christopher Howe Department of Biochemistry University of Cambridge, UK

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Topics

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

• Energy Biosciences Research in Cambridge • Algal Biofuels • Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Cambridge as a Centre for Energy Biosciences

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Broad research base - fundamental strengths in:
plant science and photosynthesis biochemistry genetics biotechnology process engineering (bio and non-bio) and chemistry physics and properties of plant materials engineering performance and design of engines and gas turbines modelling of complex systems: high level economic and sustainability models social aspects of changes in land use

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Cambridge as a Centre for Energy Biosciences
Broad research base Ability to attract:
Students, staff Research funding (£204M in research grants/contracts in 2005-6) Intellectual capital: eg Sanger Centre/ European Bioinformatics Institute Investment: eg Microsoft Research

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Environment for innovation (e.g. Cambridge Science Park) Global outreach (e.g. Cambridge Programme for Industry) Record of delivery Access to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic institutes and industry
John Innes Centre National Institute for Agricultural Botany (NIAB) Sainsbury laboratory (£150M from Gatsby Foundation) Rothamsted Research ADAS (science-based rural and environmental consultancy) Monsanto Nickersons
Bioenergy Research Cambridge Algal Biofuels Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Plant cell wall engineering

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Plants engineered to contain decreased or increased quantities of hemicelluloses. Figure shows a stem section with the different biomass components cellulose, xylan and mannan labelled in different colours.

Dr Paul Dupree - http://www.bio.cam.ac.uk/~dupree/
Bioenergy Research Cambridge Algal Biofuels Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Algal biofuels
Advantages of algae as biofuels
do not require use of agriculturally productive or environmentally sensitive land marine sites also possible high yields possible (>100 tonnes/ha/yr achieved; theoretical max, for local light levels (Mumbai) >500 tonnes/ha/yr) some strains directly secrete hydrocarbons can be coupled to other industrial processes (e.g. sequestration of CO2 from flue gases, removal of nitrates/phosphates from waste water) growth can be linked to generation of high-value products (nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals - e.g. carotenoids, phycobiliproteins)
Bioenergy Research Cambridge Algal Biofuels Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Algal biofuels
Previous studies include:
US Department of Energy Aquatic Species program: Biodiesel from Algae (Program 1978-1996; Close-out report July 1998) Collection of oil-producing microalgae (Hawaii) Oil production per cell higher under stress - but lower overall Some progress in algal molecular biology/transformation Open ponds demonstrated High cost prohibitive, but land considerations favourable Biofixation of CO2 and greenhouse gas abatement with microalgae technology roadmap (Benemann JR, 2003) Restrict to open ponds, because of cost Integrate with wastewater treatment and high-value co-products Closed reactors for inoculum production

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Algal biofuels
Major developments since those reports include:
Recognition of “social” cost of carbon $65 US to $905 US per tonne CO2 (5-95% confidence range, PAGE 2002 model, Stern report assumptions) Improvements in understanding of photosynthesis biochemistry Breakthroughs in technology for molecular biology of algae (e.g. systems for genetic modification)

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Algal Bioenergy Consortium (ABC)

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Large multidisciplinary group, based in Cambridge, but with links elsewhere including outside UK Brings together molecular biologists, physiologists, engineers and economic analysts to work towards optimising algal bioenergy for commercial exploitation Actively seeking partners with whom to collaborate to develop & test our ideas

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Members of the ABC

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Biochemistry Chemical Engineering Engineering Judge Business School Plant Sciences

Biology & Energy Futures Lab Prof Peter Nixon

Biosciences

Dr John Love

Other Collaborators include:
H+ Energy Ltd

Prof Sue Harrison (UCT, South Africa) Biology Dr Saul Purton

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Algal Bioenergy Consortium (Cambridge members)
Biochemistry Prof Chris Howe Dr Derek Bendall Dr Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley Expertise in photosynthesis biochemistry, algal molecular biology Mr Paolo Bombelli Dr John Dennis Dr Adrian Fisher Dr Stuart Scott Expertise in novel techniques for carbon capture, large scale fermentation, combustion, electrochemistry

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Chemical Engineering

Engineering

Judge Business School Dr Chris Hope Expertise in policy analysis of climate change; developer of PAGE model used in impact calculations in Stern Report Plant Sciences Prof Alison Smith Dr Martin Croft Expertise in algal metabolism, algal molecular biology
Algal Biofuels Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Strategic Aims of the Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Develop algae as a source of biofuels
3 priority areas

Production of biomass and/or biodiesel, CO2 sequestration

Conversion of light energy into hydrogen using biophotovoltaic panels

“Metabolic” hydrogen production

Assessment of economic feasibility

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Strategic Aims of the Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Develop algae as a source of biofuels
3 priority areas

Production of biomass and/or biodiesel, CO2 sequestration

Conversion of light energy into hydrogen using biophotovoltaic panels

“Metabolic” hydrogen production

Today’s presentation
Bioenergy Research Cambridge Algal Biofuels Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Algal biomass
Light CO2 from power stations/other industries

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Algal biomass

Waste water from industry

Biomass can be burnt directly

Different components can be extracted from the biomass

Carbohydrate

Different algal strains will have different properties and will be suited to different end products
Bioethanol / biobutanol Bioenergy Research Cambridge Algal Biofuels

Lipids and hydrocarbons

Biodiesel

Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents R&D focus areas

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

A. Efficiency of light capture B. Photobioreactor design C. Choice of algal strain D. Economic modelling

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Modifying photosynthetic antenna size

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Rate of photosynthesis Increased efficiency

Cells with reduced antenna size

Wild type cells

Light intensity

Smaller antenna

Greater efficiency

Reducing the antenna size would increase the light conversion efficiency of algal cultures, particularly under high light conditions
Focus area A B C D Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Lab-scale photobioreactors - possible configurations
• Need to be flexible, transportable and cheap • Should be closed, consider ‘air-lift’ for circulation • Easy to modularize for scaling up

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

~ 0.01m

~ 0.5 m ~ 1m

Flat plate or bank of tubes

Flue gases Removable baffles and/or differential sparging to allow operation as bubble column or circulating “air lift” reactor

Flue gases External air lift to circulate reactor contents, when tilted Use of oscillatory flow to promote turbulence at low power consumption

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Focus area A B C D Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Lab-scale photobioreactor – Version 0.9
0.03 m 0.5 m

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

• Located on roof of the Engineering Department, Cambridge. • Flat panel, bubble column reactor. • Sequestering carbon from a simulated flue gas.

1m

• Growing a “model” algae (Chlamydomonas)

Prototype reactor to allow experience to be gained growing algae out of the lab.
15 % CO2 in air

Aim to produce enough algal biomass to investigate harvesting and downstream processing.
Algal Biofuels Focus area A B C D Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Choice of Algal Species
Growth rate should be fast to maximize CO2uptake

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Temperature high temperatures reduce the need for flue gas cooling

pH low pH reduces problems caused by CO2 acidification, and helps avoid Spectrum of contamination

growth characteristics to consider
Growth medium should be simple and cheap Cell Composition low N levels to reduce NOx emissions

A range of species is available satisfying different sets of these criteria.

Salinity halotolerance may allow use of seawater

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Focus area A B C D Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Economic modelling - the cost of carbon
Social cost of carbon from PAGE2002 with Stern review assumptions

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

2000 - 2200 5% C as CO 2 65

$US (2000) per tonne mean 340 95% 905

Source: 10000 PAGE2002 model runs using

Stern review assumptions

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Focus area A B C D Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Questions to address
Algal strain • • • • • • • • Nutrient requirements Freshwater/marine Ability to withstand pH, temperature changes Response to light quality/quantity Products and yields required Acceptability of genetically modified strains Single species or mixture Response to predators (especially if open raceways used)

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Questions to address
Reactor design/location Simple design for cost effectiveness Need to avoid a large parasitic power requirement
CO2 introduction and circulation via air lift, turbulence or oscillatory flow

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Harvesting
Batch filtration and drying with available low-grade heat Mechanical dewatering (e.g. continuous decanter centrifuge) with drying Exact configuration depends on outcomes, plus cost/operability analysis Fate of spent medium

Characteristics of chosen site
Water availability, light quality/quantity, temperature, (flue gas composition)

A large area must be covered to absorb a significant amount of CO2
Several large reactors versus banks of modular reactors

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Strategic Aims of the Algal Bioenergy Consortium (ABC)

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Develop algae as a source of biofuels
3 priority areas

Production of biomass and/or biodiesel, CO2 sequestration

Conversion of light energy into hydrogen using biophotovoltaic panels

“Metabolic” hydrogen production

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Photosynthetic light reactions

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

H+ ADP + Pi NADP+ NADPH ATP

FD FNR
PQH2

PSII

PQ

Cyt b6f

PSI

ATPase

2H2O

4H+ + O2

PC
H+

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Photosynthetic light reactions
Platinum electrode
PSI
-1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

-1.5

hν γ

PSII

2H+ 840 mV Fe(CN)6

H2

-480 mV -420 mV +420 mV

e1.0

2H2O

4H+ + O2

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Semi-biological device (biophotovoltaic)

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

Bioenergy Research Cambridge

Algal Biofuels

Algal Bioenergy Consortium

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents Conclusions

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages

• • • • •

Exploitation of algae for bioenergy must be considered seriously Long lead-in time, e.g. in strain development, so R&D should not be delayed Medium term: prospects for biofuels/biomass Carbon capture/high value co-products makes technology more attractive Longer term: prospects for hydrogen generation (biophotovoltaics, metabolic)

Click Here & Upgrade

PDF Complete

Documents

Expanded Features Unlimited Pages