Algal biofuel production for fuels and feed in a 100-ha facility: A comprehensive techno-economic analysis and life cycle assessment
This techno-economic analysis/life-cycle assessment is based on actual production by the Cornell Marine Algal Biofuels Consortium with biomass productivity > 23 g/m(2)-day. Ten distinct cases are presented for two locations, Texas and Hawaii, based on a 100-ha production facility with end-to-end processing that yields fungible co-products including biocrude, animal feed, and ethanol. Several processing technologies were evaluated: centrifugation and solvent extraction (POS Biosciences), thermochemical conversion (Valicor), hydrothermal liquefaction (PNNL), catalytic hydrothermal gasification (Genifuel), combined heat and power, wet extraction (OpenAlgae), and fermentation. The facility design was optimized by co-location with waste CO2, a terraced design for gravity flow, using renewable energy, and low cost materials. The case studies are used to determine the impact of design choices on the energy return on investment, minimum fuel and feed sale prices, discounted payback period, as well as water depletion potential, human health, ecosystem quality, non-renewable resources, and climate change environmental indicators. The most promising cases would be economically competitive at market prices around $2/L for crude oil, while also providing major environmental benefits and freshwater savings. As global demands for fuels and protein continue rising, these results are important steps towards economical and environmentally sustainable production at an industrial scale. (C) 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V.