Publication. BEC

Title:

Net Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Evaluation of Biodiesel Derived from Microalgae

Author:

Batan, L. Quinn, J.1, Willson, B., Bradley, T.

Journal:

Environmental Science Technology

Abstract:

Biofuels derived from microalgae have the potential to replace petroleum fuel and first-generation biofuel, but the efficacy with which sustainability goals can be achieved is dependent on the lifecycle impacts of the microalgae-to-biofuel process. This study proposes a detailed, industrial-scale engineering model for the species Nannochloropsis using a photobioreactor architecture. This process level model is integrated with a lifecycle energy and greenhouse gas emission analysis compatible with the methods and boundaries of the Argonne National Laboratory GREET model, thereby ensuring comparability to preexisting fuel-cycle assessments. Results are used to evaluate the net energy ratio (NER) and net greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) of microalgae biodiesel in comparison to petroleum diesel and soybean-based biodiesel with a boundary equivalent to “well-to-pump”. The resulting NER of the microalgae biodiesel process is 0.93 MJ of energy consumed per MJ of energy produced. In terms of net GHGs, microalgae-based biofuels avoids 75 g of CO2-equivalent emissions per MJ of energy produced. The scalability of the consumables and products of the proposed microalgae-to-biofuels processes are assessed in the context of 150 billion liters (40 billion gallons) of annual production.

Citation:

Liaw Batan, Jason Quinn, Bryan Willson, and Thomas Bradley. Net Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Evaluation of Biodiesel Derived from Microalgae. Environmental Science & Technology 2010 44 (20), 7975-7980

Hyperlink:

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es102052y