TX Algae Operation Confirms Commercial Potential

auroraalgae1An algae growing operation in South Texas has confirmed it is about ready to go commercial scale. Aurora Algae says after six months of testing and evaluation, it has the potential to go commercial-scale, and the company is expanding its test facility with four, one-acre cultivation ponds and a harvesting system.

“We have successfully tested our algae cultivation system in countries around the world, including Australia, India, Italy, Mexico, and multiple locations in the United States,” said Greg Bafalis, Aurora Algae CEO. “Our most recent test site, near Harlingen, Texas, is meeting and surpassing our growth rate expectations for this area.”

Aurora Algae operated a demonstration-scale algae cultivation facility in Karratha, Western Australia, for over two-and-a-half years, successfully demonstrating production of up to 15 tonnes of dried algal biomass per month while continuing to refine its cultivation and harvesting processes. Aurora management believes the Karratha facility to have been the most technologically advanced algae production system in the world.

Located nine miles from Harlingen, the Aurora Algae evaluation site in Rio Hondo, Texas, sits on a 1,880-acre parcel, which was formerly home to a shrimp farming operation.

Company officials say their particular variety of algae grows best in salt water in warm. arid climates.

UC San Diego Has Top Algae-Biodiesel Programs

scripps1Plenty of warm Southern California sun must be helping fuel the brains of algae-biodiesel researchers, as two programs at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) are rated tops in the Nation. This article from the school says the U.S. Department of Energy bestowed the high marks.

A program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography was rated the best in the nation. Mark Hildebrand and his team in the Marine Biology Research Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography received the top honor… The report specifically cited the lab’s “outstanding research” in the genetic manipulation of algae to improve the yield of key components for biofuel production. Another UC San Diego research group, the UC San Diego Consortium for Algae Biofuel Commercialization (CAB-Comm), led by UC San Diego molecular biologist Stephen Mayfield, was recognized by the DOE as the number two-ranked research program.

… Hildebrand’s group has found that diatoms, among the most prevalent oceanic algae, are uniquely suited to biofuel production. In particular, diatoms are a good system for scientists like Hildebrand who hope to use genetic tools to perfect algae biofuel production.

CAB-Comm … partners with industry collaborators Sapphire Energy and Life Technologies, focuses on green algae and cyanobacteria, and was cited by the DOE for “demonstrating how the yield potential of algae can be preserved by controlling pests through development of resistant strains, use of chemical pesticides, and cultivation of consortia of strains.”

Researchers from both groups at UCSD hope the high ratings will help them secure more government funding for their projects.

Better Sites for Algae Helps Biofuels Production

ABOA new process for identifying and evaluating algae production facilities could help with biofuels production. The article, “Siting Algae Cultivation Facilities for Biofuel Production in the United States: Trade-Offs between Growth Rate, Site Constructability, Water Availability, and Infrastructure,” in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, talks about the new method developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sapphire Energy and was welcomed by the Algae Biomass Organization (ABO), the trade association for the algae industry.

“Effectively siting algae cultivation facilities for commercial biofuel production is critical to the success of every commercial algae project,” said Margaret McCormick, chair of the Algae Biomass Organization and CEO of algae company Matrix Genetics. “The biology is so complex, existing ‘off-the-shelf’ measurement tools fall short. Because this analysis considers numerous variables along with real-world algae cultivation data, it offers project developers a much more complete and rigorous evaluation of sites.”

Site selection for large construction projects is a complex task, but a particularly challenging one in the case of algae cultivation in open ponds, where facilities could be thousands of acres in size. The factors that drive success include: a warm and sunny climate, available water, economically available land with soils good for construction, and proximity to transportation and utility infrastructure. In addition, special consideration must be given to local issues that are difficult for national-scale models to address, such as regulatory constraints, tax incentives, receptivity of local populations and ecological constraints.

The study found that there is good potential for cultivating green algae along the Gulf of Mexico, especially on the Florida peninsula. It also says that the type of algae to be grown is a big factor when choosing a site.

MSU Increases Odds of Algal-Biofuel Success

david-kramerA team of Michigan State University (MSU) scientists have invented a new technology that they believe increases the odds of helping algae-based biofuels bridge the gap to success. The environmental photobioreactor or ePBR system is the first standard algae growing platform and it stimulates dynamic natural environments. The system is featured in the current issue of Algal Research.

To better visualize the technology, ePBR is in essence a pond in a jar that helps identify, cultivate and test algal strains that have the potential to make the leap from lab to pond – or thrive and multiple in real-world, real-pond settings and produce vast amounts of oil.

As the quest for “better biofuels” continues, many researchers are looking to algae as a viable solution, but a barrier to commercial success has been that algal strains that perform well in labs don’t often perform well when moved to commercial scale applications.

“It’s like training elementary kids to be really good pingpong players,” explains Ben Lucker, MSU research associate.. “But then they take the kids and throw them into a football game against professional players; in those settings, they simply can’t compete at all.”

epbrThe ePBRs, which the team believes will help make algae biofuel research more desirable to investors, were the brainchild of David Kramer, Hannah Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at MSU. His lab is unique. Although it’s housed among other plant biologists, it could be mistaken for an electronics factory. The benches are covered with wires, soldering irons and printed circuit boards. There are even few early prototypes that provide a history of ePBR’s progress.

The latest models glow green and whir quietly as they test various strains. By allowing scientists to duplicate natural settings in a lab, ePBRs eliminate many variables before scaling up. The bioreactors are about the size of coffee makers and can induce changes in light, temperature, carbon dioxide, oxygen, evaporation, nutrient availability and more.

The ePBR system also can duplicate and confirm results from experiments conducted anywhere in the world. It replaces home-built growing platforms made from flasks, tubing, aluminum foil and grow lights and gives researchers a tool that can consistently replicate conditions and reproduce results, Lucker said.

The potential of ePBRs has already inspired the launch of a company, Phenometrics, an MSU spinoff headquartered in Lansing, Michigan, and while only two years old, steady orders for the bioreactors have the company on the same track of success as algal biofuels.

Advancements in Algal Biofuels: Year in Review

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has released its Advancements in Algal Biofuels: Year in Review. The goal of BETO is to support advanced in the production of algal biofuel – especially those that lower the cost of production.

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 11.09.14 AMThe report highlights several notable R&D breakthrough including:

  • Fast algae-to-bio-crude oil process reduces production costs – DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is receiving national recognition for developing a process to turn algae into bio-crude oil in just minutes. PNNL’s technology eliminates the lipid extraction step and subjects whole algae to very hot water under high pressure to convert the algae biomass into bio-crude oil (a process called hydrothermal liquefaction). PNNL successfully treated wet algae biomass in a commercially relevant, continuous process that doesn’t require drying steps or solvents to make the bio-crude oil.
  • Discovery in algae cell biology overcomes key challenge to algal biofuels – Researchers at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography (SIO) made a significant breakthrough in the metabolic engineering of algae to improve yield of lipids (the energy-storing fat molecules that can be used in biofuel production). Algae typically only accumulate lots of lipids when they are starved for nutrients, but the drawback to starvation is that it limits organism growth. The SIO research team genetically engineered a disruption in the synthesis of the enzymes that breakdown the storage lipids that are produced during normal growth, allowing for lots of lipid accumulation without starving the algae. The resulting algae both grow fast and accumulate lipid at the same time. The high lipid yields that result from utilizing this method can potentially improve the economics of algal biofuel production.
  • Collaborative outdoor algae production testing facilities come online – Two national algae R&D testbed programs kicked off their project work in 2013. The Arizona State University-led Algae Testbed Public-Private Partnership (ATP3) and the University of Arizona Regional Algae Feedstock Testbed Partnership manage algal biofuel R&D facilities across the United States and serve as engines for algal technology innovation and validation, job training and workforce development, and long-term cultivation data.

In response to the report, the National Algae Association’s (NAA) Barry Cohen said that while the advancements might be news in Washington, none of them are newsworthy to the algae production industry.

For example, Cohen said the work being done at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is not news. “Hydrothermal liquefaction is another name for a process that has been used in petroleum refining for more than 100 years.”

He also noted in regards to the two national algae testbeds that NAA has not been able to independently verify the status of any of the facilities. “NAA has, however, created its own online Algae Production Certification Course and its second algae production incubator facility is operational,” said Cohen.

Read NAA’s full remarks regarding the report here.

 

Heliae Algae Techology Headed to ASU

Heliae’s algae production technology is heading to Arizona State University’s (ASU) algae testbed facility. The company is partnering with SCHOTT North America to install a Helix photobioreactor at ASU’s Department of Energy (DOE)-funded algae testbed facility.

Over the next several years, algae research staff at ASU will leverage the Helix photobioreactor, built by Heliae, for pioneering research that will forward the understanding of algae production technology, including an investigation into the effect of glass tubing innovation on the yields and economics of algae production. The reactor will also deliver the production of high-quality algae cultures, which will support broader ASU algae operations.

azcati_testbed_facility_at_asuThe DOE-sponsored testbed at ASU is part of the Algae Testbed Public-Private Partnership (ATP3), a network of algae industry leaders, national labs, and research facilities. Led by ASU, ATP3 enables both researchers and third party companies to succeed in their algal endeavors by providing a national network of testbed systems and other services, such as research and education.

Over the course of the multi-year research plan, ASU will manage Helix operations and research, while Heliae and SCHOTT will support the project in an advisory capacity.

“To develop world-class technology, it’s essential to partner and collaborate with the best innovators in the industry,” said Dan Simon, Heliae’s president and CEO. “For glass innovation, there is no equal to SCHOTT, and the interactions between Heliae’s and SCHOTT’s research and development teams over the years have helped both companies develop world-class technology that will truly enable this industry.” Continue reading

Algae Biodiesel Fuel From Utah State

nbb-14-rhesa-ledbetterRhesa Ledbetter from Utah State University was one of the students who attended the 2014 National Biodiesel Conference. Chuck caught up with her for an interview and she explains her research in algae biodiesel fuel.

Rhesa finished her master’s in micro-biology and then decided she wanted to do a project that was really applied. To her biodiesel products seemed to make a lot of sense and something that would work well with her background.

“Our group at Utah State is focusing on biodiesel produced from algae. We have characterized a lot of properties and we also have a diesel streamliner we have been able to run out on the salt flats. It’s been great for me to be able to learn so much about a topic that I wasn’t really familiar with. Being able to interface with all these experts has been invaluable. I think collaborations will develop from this event will end up enhancing our research.”

In the future Rhesa and her team look to continue seeking more efficient ways to produce the fuel and promoting all the great traits biodiesel has.

Earlier this year Joanna did a post on the Aggie A-Salt Streamliner Rhesa mentioned. You can find that post here.

2014 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Researchers “Milk” Algae to Get Biodiesel Feedstock

moheimaniUsually, when biodiesel producers are using algae to provide the feedstock oil to produce the green fuel, they have to destroy the algal cells to get the oil. But this article from Phys.org says Australian researchers might have found a way to “milk” the oil from the algae species Bortyococcus braunii so they can keep producing more biodiesel feedstock.

Murdoch University School of Veterinary and Life Sciences Algae R&D Centre researcher Dr Navid Moheimani and his team, in collaboration with the University of Tsukuba (Japan) have been investigating a non-destructive approach rendering the algae to be ‘milked’ and ‘remilked’ every five days.

By using a compatible solvent (n-heptane) they were able to extract oil from non-growing state algae repeatedly—producing significantly more hydrocarbon (oil) and requiring significantly less expensive nutrients (as opposed to rapid growth phase).

Dr Moheimani says B. braunii could replace its external hydrocarbon after five days [after milking] in cultures with one per cent CO2 addition.

“The overall external hydrocarbon productivity using non-destructive extraction was at least 20 per cent higher compared with B. braunii grown in conventional semi-continuous culture,” he says.

The researchers go on to say the efficiencies come from having not to regrow the algae after each extraction, which saves on fertilizer and waste biomass disposal costs, and they’ve been able to re-milk the algae for more than two months. The only real challenge might be getting those little milking stools and tiny buckets under each cell (but at least they don’t kick like an old holstein).

OriginOil Launches Aquaculture Showcase

OriginOil has launched its Permanent Technology Showcase with a demonstration of its EWS Aqua Q60 and EWS Algae A60 models at Aqua Farming Tech, a sustainable fish farm in Thermal, California, located in the Coachella Valley.

OriginOil Aqua Farming Photo Jessica Sterling Photography“Worldwide, more fish is now being farmed than beef,” said Riggs Eckelberry, president and CEO of OriginOil. “While this is good news, the aquaculture industry will have to address the environmental and operational problems it faces if it is to continue to grow, including the fact that fish is often farmed under toxic conditions. Our Coachella Valley showcase is intended to serve as a living demonstration of the feasibility of clean, sustainable aquaculture.”

OriginOil’s commercial fish farming pond water treatment system can rapidly remove ammonia, bacteria and other aquatic invaders from pond water. And farmers who want a healthier and less-expensive alternative to fish meal can use OriginOil’s algae harvesting system to produce nutritious fish feed. Together, the OriginOil Aquaculture System can help spur the growth of sustainable fish farming on a global scale by reducing costs, eliminating the need for chemical treatment and improving the quality of the product.

Aquaculture is a fast-growing industry. The $100 billion industry is expected to increase by 33 percent between 2012 and 2022, compared to an increase of only 3 percent in capture fisheries, according to the United Nations (The State of World Fisheries, P. 206). But the growth is leading to operational and environmental problems, including the high costs of energy and fish feed, which have forced many fish farms in the Coachella Valley to close.

According to OriginOil, EWS works by recirculating water through a low-voltage electrical pulsing system that causes contaminants or algae to coagulate, or clump together. The clumped-up material then enters a second stage in which low-power electrical pulses generate a cloud of micro-bubbles that gently lift the concentrate to the surface for harvesting.

The EWS Aqua Q60 commercial fish farming pond water treatment system can service 50,000 liters daily, says OriginOil, while consuming less than 20 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day (about $2.40 worth). The system is designed to reduce fish stress and improve yields, while sharply reducing or eliminating the need for chemicals and antibiotics.

The EWS Algae A60 is a mid-scale harvester that can process up to 60 liters (16 gallons) per minute of algae water. Individual EWS Algae A60 units can be assigned to manage a pond or bioreactor assembly of up to 500,000 liters. Units can be combined to achieve massive parallel processing capability. The unit removes 99 percent of the water to produce an algae concentrate. Algae-based fish feed costs up to 60 to 70 percent less than traditional fish feed.

Sapphire & Phillips 66 Embark on Algae Partnership

Sapphire Energy Algae Crude OilAlgae-based Sapphire Energy and Phillips 66 have announced a joint development agreement with the goal of taking production of algae crude oil to commercial scale production. The companies will work together to collect and analyze data from co-processing of algae and conventional crude oil into fuels. The goal is to complete fuel certifications to ready Sapphire Energy’s renewable crude oil, called Green Crude, for wide-scale oil refining.

Under the agreement the companies will expand Sapphire Energy’s current testing programs to further validate that Green Crude can be refined in traditional refineries and meet all of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) certification requirements under the Clean Air Act. This includes determining the optimal operating conditions for processing algae crude oil into American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)-certified diesel, gasoline and jet fuel. Once the study is finished, the companies will work together to complete the EPA certification process to register a new fuel product entering the market.

“In under a year, Sapphire Energy has entered into contracts with two major companies in the oil and gas industry, showing that there is increasing momentum for algae fuel as a viable crude oil alternative, and significant interest by refiners to have new and better options to meet the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) and the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS),” said Cynthia ‘CJ’ Warner, CEO and chairman of Sapphire Energy. “We’re looking forward to building a strong relationship with Phillips 66, an established leader in research and development for next generation fuels, who understands the opportunity our Green Crude oil holds as a feasible and sustainable crude oil choice for refiners.”

Combining Phillips 66′s experience in algae research and technical expertise in hydroprocessing and fuels upgrading with Sapphire Energy’s algae cultivation knowledge could yield promising results. Phillips says this new relationship with Sapphire Energy complements their other renewable fuels collaborations in academia and other sectors to convert a wide array of sustainable feedstocks to transportation fuels. The company’s biofuels platform is one piece of a technology strategy that also includes research and development of fuel cells and solar cells.

“Phillips 66 is committed to providing energy and improving lives. We are continually on the lookout for promising technology advances in energy manufacturing and logistics,” said Merl Lindstrom, vice president of Technology for Phillips 66. “We believe this joint development project with Sapphire Energy could produce a refinery-ready, sustainable product for Phillips 66, creating yet another exciting opportunity in this rapidly changing energy landscape.”

Sapphire Energy is now producing crude oil daily from algae biomass cultivated and harvested at the company’s Green Crude Farm, located in Columbus, New Mexico. The company says the farm is the world’s first algae-to-energy facility that demonstrates the entire value chain of algae-based crude oil production, from cultivation, to harvest, to the conversion of biomass into ready-to-refine crude oil.

Biofuel Industry: Need to Extend Current Tax Policies

A letter has been submitted to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees and signed by more than 60 advanced biofuel companies and four trade associations encouraging Congress to extend tax provisions set to expire at the end of December 2013.

Ways and Means Committee MembersThe Advanced Ethanol Council, Advanced Biofuel Association, Algae Biomass Organization and Biotechnology Industry Organization delivered the letter to Reps. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Sander Levin (D-Mich.) and Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on behalf of 63 member companies, whose logos are included on the letter.

“The advanced biofuels industry is at a critical stage of development. The industry has made great strides in reducing the cost of production and developing first-of-kind technologies and bio-refining operations to deploy the most innovative fuel in the world. In a difficult financial market, we are now operating commercial plants all across the country and continue to make progress on dozens of additional projects in the final stages of development. As was the case with the conventional biofuels industry, these groundbreaking production processes can be replicated rather quickly once the technology is proven at commercial scale,” the organizations and companies wrote.

The industry says these credits are vital to the ongoing development of the domestic advanced biofuels industry and therefore further urged the members of Congress to extend current tax provisions for multiple years, to ensure stability in the marketplace.

The letter continued, “Accelerated depreciation allowances, technology specific deductions and production-related tax credits are currently offered to incumbent fossil energy industries on a permanent basis. As such, similar tax provisions made available to the advanced and cellulosic biofuels industry level the playing field with fossil fuels and are critical to our efforts to compete for project capital given that these types of incentives are available to our primary competitors.”

‘Operation Free’ on Renewable Energy

Lt. Gen. Norman SeipArizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability recently hosted guest speaker and Operation Free representative Lt. Gen Norman Seip (USAF, ret) on the topic of sustainability and national security. The event was part of the Sustainable Speaker lecture series at ASU’s Tempe Campus.

Lt. Gen. Seip retired after 35 years of military service with his last assignment as commander of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. The three-star general continues his military support through his work with such non-profit military support organizations as Operation Free and the Truman National Security Project.

“Our nation’s dependence on unstable and unsustainable forms of fuel is a strategic vulnerability,” remarked Lt. Gen. Seip. “The military is moving out rapidly to combat this vulnerability. The Navy and Air Force are using advanced fuels to power its fleets and aircraft. At the 2012 RIMPAC exercise, which is the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, the Navy powered an entire Carrier Strike Group fueled by alternative sources of energy. Pilots flew the world’s most advanced combat aircraft up to twice the speed of sound, powered by an American-made biofuel blend made from algae and recycled cooking oil.”

Also in attendance at the lecture was 33-year veteran of the Army and Army National Guard, Lt. Col. Joseph Knott, who was one of 12 veterans recognized during a Nov. 5 ceremony at the White House for their work advancing clean energy and climate security. Lt. Col. Knott is a PhD student at ASU’s School of Sustainability, and a supporter of Operation Free.

operation free logo“I spent my career making our military more sustainable and more combat effective and Arizona’s military installations are leading the way,” shared Knott. “Davis Monthan and Luke Air Force bases installed a combined 30 MW of solar. The Army is moving forward to acquire up to 20 MW of solar power for Fort Huachuca, located in Cochise County. And the Arizona National Guard is also leading the way, already having installed over 800 KW of photovoltaic renewable energy generation operating at Guard facilities across Arizona. They have plans to increase their use of renewable energy to support the military readiness of the Arizona National Guard.”

Following today’s event, Operation Free representative and Afghanistan veteran, 1st Lt. Aaron Marquez shared his enthusiasm for the advancements in military sustainability. “I have seen it on the ground in Afghanistan and right here at home. A more sustainable military is a more effective fighting force. Our national security depends on our ability to adapt to the world’s evolving energy environment and innovate new solutions to our energy footprint. It is exciting to see this work taking place at the Pentagon, at Luke Air Force Base and right here at ASU where the School of Sustainability is actively engaging on military sustainability.”

Dutch Researchers ID Fittest of Fattest for Biodiesel

TUdelftalgae1Researchers in The Netherlands are finding the fattest, or best oil-producing, algae in hopes of developing the fittest strain for biodiesel production. This story from TU Delft says the school’s scientists have published their findings in the scientific journal Energy & Environmental Science.

‘The ultimate goal of our research is to make oil-producing algae as fat as possible, then press the oil out of them and finally produce biodiesel suitable for cars from this oil,’ explains PhD student Peter Mooij of TU Delft.

A major threat to the stable cultivation of oil-producing algae is infection by other, thinner algae. One option is to use a sealed cultivation system and keep unwanted algae out of the system by means of sterilisation. Although this is theoretically possible, it would be practically infeasible and extremely expensive to do this on a large scale.

‘Our method is more suitable for large-scale algae production. We try to select for a particular characteristic and not for a particular species of algae. We are unconcerned whether species A or species B is used in our system, as long as they have the characteristic ‘fat’. So all algae are welcome in our system,’ says Mooij.

The article goes on to explain how the researchers are using a technique that provides light and carbon dioxide to the algae during the day that promotes oil production but keeps them from dividing by holding back the nutrients needed for cell division. Those fattest algae are then separated from the others to find the fittest, fattest strain.

European Researchers Look to Turn Algae to Biofuel

swanseaUniversity researchers in Europe are looking at ways to turn algae into biofuels, including biodiesel. This article from the BBC says Swansea University is teaming up with scientists in seven other European countries to find the best way of turning it into fuel.

“The big driver behind the research for algae is the consideration about what we’re doing to our environment,” [EnAlgae project coordinator Dr Shaun Richardson] said.

“It’s the need to reduce CO2 levels and to find a more sustainable way of producing fuel, energy and products.

“We are growing it, we harvest it, take the water out of it and then you can convert it into a range of energy sources or products.

“Algae, especially micro algae, is ideally suited to turning into an oil which can then be turned into either aviation fuel for aeroplanes or a bio-diesel to power our cars.”

Swansea University opened its laboratories at the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) to the public on Tuesday to see the latest work being carried out.

School officials point to a test flight four years ago of a plane flying on an algae-based biofuel.

Study: Algae-based Biofuels Cut CO2 by 50-70%

ABOA new study shows that biofuels made from algae can reduce life cycle carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 50 to 70 percent compared to petroleum fuels. And according to the Algae Biomass Organization, citing the study in the journal Bioresource Technology, algae biofuels are approaching the Energy Return on Investment (EROI) values that conventional petroleum has.

“This study affirms that algae-based fuels provide results without compromise,” said Mary Rosenthal, ABO’s executive director. “With significant emissions reductions, a positive energy balance, nutrient recycling and CO2 reuse, algae-based fuels will be a long-term, sustainable source of fuels for our nation.”

The study, “Pilot-scale data provide enhanced estimates of the life cycle energy and emissions profile of algae biofuels produced via hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL),” is a life cycle analysis of an algae cultivation and fuel production process currently employed at pre-commercial scales. The authors examined field data from two facilities operated by Sapphire Energy in Las Cruces and Columbus, New Mexico that grow and process algae into Green Crude oil. Sapphire Energy’s Green Crude can be refined into drop-in fuels such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

The study found that when produced at commercial scales, algae technologies can be expected to be better than first generation biofuels when considering greenhouse emissions and on par with the return on energy investment when compared to those first generation biofuels. This is the first study to analyze real-world data from an existing algae-to-energy demonstration scale farm.

“These real-world data from demonstration scale facilities gave us new insight and allowed us to understand how scale will impact the benefits and costs of algae-to-energy deployment.” said lead author Andres F. Clarens, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. “These results suggest that algae-based fuels made using HTL have an environmental profile that is comparable to conventional biofuels.”