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Title: Regional Algal Biofuel Production Potential in the Coterminous United States as Affected by Resource Availability Trade-offs

The warm sunny climate and unoccupied arid lands in the American southwest are favorable factors for algae cultivation. However, additional resources affect the overall viability of specific sites and regions. We investigated the tradeoffs between growth rate, water, and CO2 availability and costs for two strains: N. salina and Chlorella sp. We conducted site selection exercises (~88,000 US sites) to produce 21 billion gallons yr-1 (BGY) of renewable diesel (RD). Experimental trials from the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bio-Products (NAABB) team informed the growth model of our Biomass Assessment Tool (BAT). We simulated RD production by both lipid extraction and hydrothermal liquefaction. Sites were prioritized by the net value of biofuel minus water and flue gas costs. Water cost models for N. salina were based on seawater and high salinity groundwater and for Chlorella, fresh and brackish groundwater. CO2 costs were based on a flue gas delivery model. Selections constrained by production and water were concentrated along the Gulf of Mexico and southeast Atlantic coasts due to high growth rates and low water costs. Adding flue gas constraints increased the spatial distribution, but the majority of sites remained in the southeast. The 21 BGY target required ~3.8 millionmore » hectares of mainly forest (41.3%) and pasture (35.7%). Exclusion in favor of barren and scrub lands forced most production to the southwestern US, but with increased water consumption (5.7 times) and decreased economic efficiency (-38%).« less
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  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2211-9264; BM0108010
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Algal Research; Journal Volume: 5
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS algae biofuel; sustainability; resource assessment; land use change