Title

Demonstrated Large-Scale Production of Marine Microalgae for Fuels and Feed

Publication Date

2015

Journal

Algal Research

Volume

10

First Page

249

Last Page

265

Abstract

We present the results from sustained tonne-quantity production of two novel strains of marine microalgae, the diatom Staurosira and the chlorophyte Desmodesmus, cultivated in a hybrid system of 25-m(3) photobioreactors and 400-m(2) open ponds at a large-scale demonstration facility, and then apply those results to evaluate the performance of a 100-ha Base Case commercial facility assuming it were built today. Nitrogen fertilization of 2-d batch cultures in open ponds led to the greatest yields - from both species - of similar to 75 MT ha(-1) yr(-1) biomass, and similar to 30 MT ha(-1) yr(-1) lipid, which are unprecedented in large scale open pond systems. The process described here uses only seawater, discharges no nitrogen or phosphorus in any form, and consumes CO2 at 78% efficiency. We estimate the capital cost of a 111-ha Base Case facility at $67 million in Hawaii, where actual production was performed, and $59 million on the Gulf Coast of Texas. We find that large-diameter, large-volume PBRs are an economical means to maintain a continuous supply of consistent inoculum for very short-period batch cultures in open ponds, and thus avoid biological system crashes that otherwise arise in longer-term pond cultures. We recommend certain improvements in cultivation methods that could realistically lead to yields of 100 MT ha(-1) yr(-1) biomass and >50,000 L ha(-1) yr(-1) algal oil. Comprehensive techno-economics and life cycle assessment of 20 end-to-end production lineups, based on the cultivation results in this paper, are presented in a companion paper by Beal et al. [1]. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

DOI

10.1016/j.algal.2015.04.016

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