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Title: Siting algae cultivation facilities for biofuel production in the United States: trade-offs between growth rate, site constructability, water availability, and infrastructure

Locating sites for new algae cultivation facilities is a complex task. The climate must support high growth rates, and cultivation ponds require appropriate land and water resources as well as key utility and transportation infrastructure. We employ our spatiotemporal Biomass Assessment Tool (BAT) to select promising locations based on the open-pond cultivation of Arthrospira sp. and a strain of the order Desmidiales. 64,000 potential sites across the southern United States were evaluated. We progressively apply a range of screening criteria and track their impact on the number of selected sites, geographic location, and biomass productivity. Both strains demonstrate maximum productivity along the Gulf of Mexico coast, with the highest values on the Florida peninsula. In contrast, sites meeting all selection criteria for Arthrospira were located along the southern coast of Texas and for Desmidiales were located in Louisiana and southern Arkansas. Site selection was driven mainly by the lack of oil pipeline access in Florida and elevated groundwater salinity in southern Texas. The requirement for low salinity freshwater (<400 mg L-1) constrained Desmidiales locations; siting flexibility is greater for salt-tolerant species such as Arthrospira. Combined siting factors can result in significant departures from regions of maximum productivity but are withinmore » the expected range of site-specific process improvements.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Environmental Science & Technology, 48(6):3559-3566
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
Algae Biofuel; site evaluation, resource evaluation; GIS