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Title: Life-cycle analysis of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and water consumption in the 2016 MYPP algal biofuel scenarios

Abstract

The Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) Multi-year Program Plan (MYPP) describes the bioenergy objectives pursued by BETO, the strategies for achieving those objectives, the current state of technology (SOT), and a number of design cases that explore cost and operational performance required to advance the SOT towards middle and long term goals (MYPP, 2016). Two options for converting algae to biofuel intermediates were considered in the MYPP, namely algal biofuel production via lipid extraction and algal biofuel production by thermal processing. The first option, lipid extraction, is represented by the Combined Algae Processing (CAP) pathway in which algae are hydrolyzed in a weak acid pretreatment step. The treated slurry is fermented for ethanol production from sugars. The fermentation stillage contains most of the lipids from the original biomass, which are recovered through wet solvent extraction. The process residuals after lipid extraction, which contain much of the original mass of amino acids and proteins, are directed to anaerobic digestion (AD) for biogas production and recycle of N and P nutrients. The second option, thermal processing, comprises direct hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of the wet biomass, separation of aqueous, gas, and oil phases, and treatment of the aqueous phase withmore » catalytic hydrothermal gasification (CHG) to produce biogas and to recover N and P nutrients. The present report describes a life cycle analysis of energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the CAP and HTL options for the three scenarios just described. Water use is also reported. Water use during algal biofuel production comes from evaporation during cultivation, discharge to bleed streams to control pond salinity (“blowdown”), and from use during preprocessing and upgrading. For scenarios considered to date, most water use was from evaporation and, secondarily, from bleed streams. Other use was relatively small at the level of fidelity being modeled now.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [2];  [3];  [3];  [3];  [3]
  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  3. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
OSTI Identifier:
1281137
Report Number(s):
ANL/ESD-16/11
128907
DOE Contract Number:
AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Frank, Edward, Pegallapati, Ambica K., Davis, Ryan, Markham, Jennifer, Coleman, Andre, Jones, Sue, Wigmosta, Mark S., and Zhu, Yunhua. Life-cycle analysis of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and water consumption in the 2016 MYPP algal biofuel scenarios. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.2172/1281137.
Frank, Edward, Pegallapati, Ambica K., Davis, Ryan, Markham, Jennifer, Coleman, Andre, Jones, Sue, Wigmosta, Mark S., & Zhu, Yunhua. Life-cycle analysis of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and water consumption in the 2016 MYPP algal biofuel scenarios. United States. doi:10.2172/1281137.
Frank, Edward, Pegallapati, Ambica K., Davis, Ryan, Markham, Jennifer, Coleman, Andre, Jones, Sue, Wigmosta, Mark S., and Zhu, Yunhua. 2016. "Life-cycle analysis of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and water consumption in the 2016 MYPP algal biofuel scenarios". United States. doi:10.2172/1281137. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1281137.
@article{osti_1281137,
title = {Life-cycle analysis of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and water consumption in the 2016 MYPP algal biofuel scenarios},
author = {Frank, Edward and Pegallapati, Ambica K. and Davis, Ryan and Markham, Jennifer and Coleman, Andre and Jones, Sue and Wigmosta, Mark S. and Zhu, Yunhua},
abstractNote = {The Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) Multi-year Program Plan (MYPP) describes the bioenergy objectives pursued by BETO, the strategies for achieving those objectives, the current state of technology (SOT), and a number of design cases that explore cost and operational performance required to advance the SOT towards middle and long term goals (MYPP, 2016). Two options for converting algae to biofuel intermediates were considered in the MYPP, namely algal biofuel production via lipid extraction and algal biofuel production by thermal processing. The first option, lipid extraction, is represented by the Combined Algae Processing (CAP) pathway in which algae are hydrolyzed in a weak acid pretreatment step. The treated slurry is fermented for ethanol production from sugars. The fermentation stillage contains most of the lipids from the original biomass, which are recovered through wet solvent extraction. The process residuals after lipid extraction, which contain much of the original mass of amino acids and proteins, are directed to anaerobic digestion (AD) for biogas production and recycle of N and P nutrients. The second option, thermal processing, comprises direct hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of the wet biomass, separation of aqueous, gas, and oil phases, and treatment of the aqueous phase with catalytic hydrothermal gasification (CHG) to produce biogas and to recover N and P nutrients. The present report describes a life cycle analysis of energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the CAP and HTL options for the three scenarios just described. Water use is also reported. Water use during algal biofuel production comes from evaporation during cultivation, discharge to bleed streams to control pond salinity (“blowdown”), and from use during preprocessing and upgrading. For scenarios considered to date, most water use was from evaporation and, secondarily, from bleed streams. Other use was relatively small at the level of fidelity being modeled now.},
doi = {10.2172/1281137},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 6
}

Technical Report:

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  • The Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) Multi-year Program Plan (MYPP) describes the bioenergy objectives pursued by BETO, the strategies for achieving those objectives, the current state of technology (SOT), and a number of design cases that explore cost and operational performance required to advance the SOT towards middle and long term goals (MYPP, 2016). Two options for converting algae to biofuel intermediates were considered in the MYPP, namely algal biofuel production via lipid extraction and algal biofuel production by thermal processing. The first option, lipid extraction, is represented by the Combined Algae Processing (CAP) pathway in whichmore » algae are hydrolyzed in a weak acid pretreatment step. The treated slurry is fermented for ethanol production from sugars. The fermentation stillage contains most of the lipids from the original biomass, which are recovered through wet solvent extraction. The process residuals after lipid extraction, which contain much of the original mass of amino acids and proteins, are directed to anaerobic digestion (AD) for biogas production and recycle of N and P nutrients. The second option, thermal processing, comprises direct hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of the wet biomass, separation of aqueous, gas, and oil phases, and treatment of the aqueous phase with catalytic hydrothermal gasification (CHG) to produce biogas and to recover N and P nutrients.« less
  • The vast reserves of coal in the U.S. provide a significant incentive for the development of processes for coal conversion to liquid fuels (CTL). Also, CTL using domestic coal can help move the U.S. toward greater energy independence and security. However, current conversion technologies are less economically competitive and generate greater greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than production of petroleum fuels. Altex Technologies Corporation (Altex, hereinafter) and Pennsylvania State University have developed a hybrid technology to produce jet fuel from a feedstock blend of coal and biomass. Collaborating with Altex, Argonne National Laboratory has expanded and used the Greenhouse gases, Regulatedmore » Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation (GREET®) model to assess the life-cycle GHG emissions and water consumption of this hybrid technology. Biomass feedstocks include corn stover, switchgrass, and wheat straw. The option of biomass densification (bales to pellets) is also evaluated in this study. The results show that the densification process generates additional GHG emissions as a result of additional biomass process energy demand. This process coproduces a large amount of char, and this study investigates two scenarios to treat char: landfill disposal (Char-LF) and combustion for combined heat and power (CHP). Since the CHP scenarios export excess heat and electricity as coproducts, two coproduct handling methods are used for well-to-wake (WTWa) analysis: displacement (Char-CHP-Disp) and energy allocation (Char-CHP-EnAllo). When the feedstock contains 15 wt% densified wheat straw and 85 wt% lignite coal, WTWa GHG emissions of the coal-and-biomass-to-liquid pathways are 116, 97, and 137 gCO2e per megajoule (MJ) under the Char-LF, Char-CHP-Disp, and Char-CHP-EnAllo scenarios, respectively, as compared to conventional jet fuel production at 84 gCO2e/MJ. WTWa water consumption values are 0.072, -0.046, and 0.044 gal/MJ for Char-LF, Char-CHP-Disp, and Char-CHP-EnAllo, respectively, as compared to conventional jet fuel production at 0.028 gal/MJ. To reach the break-even point of 84 gCO2e/MJ, under the assumptions of constant product yields and energy demands regardless of the share of biomass and coal feedstocks, 31 wt%, 23 wt%, and 53 wt% of the feedstock blend need to be biomass under the Char-LF, Char-CHP-Disp, and Char-CHP-EnAllo scenarios, respectively.« less
  • This report is the third in a series of reports sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Program in which a range of water-related issues surrounding geothermal power production are evaluated. The first report made an initial attempt at quantifying the life cycle fresh water requirements of geothermal power-generating systems and explored operational and environmental concerns related to the geochemical composition of geothermal fluids. The initial analysis of life cycle fresh water consumption of geothermal power-generating systems identified that operational water requirements consumed the vast majority of water across the life cycle. However, it relied upon limited operationalmore » water consumption data and did not account for belowground operational losses for enhanced geothermal systems (EGSs). A second report presented an initial assessment of fresh water demand for future growth in utility-scale geothermal power generation. The current analysis builds upon this work to improve life cycle fresh water consumption estimates and incorporates regional water availability into the resource assessment to improve the identification of areas where future growth in geothermal electricity generation may encounter water challenges. This report is divided into nine chapters. Chapter 1 gives the background of the project and its purpose, which is to assess the water consumption of geothermal technologies and identify areas where water availability may present a challenge to utility-scale geothermal development. Water consumption refers to the water that is withdrawn from a resource such as a river, lake, or nongeothermal aquifer that is not returned to that resource. The geothermal electricity generation technologies evaluated in this study include conventional hydrothermal flash and binary systems, as well as EGSs that rely on engineering a productive reservoir where heat exists, but where water availability or permeability may be limited. Chapter 2 describes the approach and methods for this work and identifies the four power plant scenarios evaluated: a 20-MW EGS binary plant, a 50-MW EGS binary plant, a 10-MW hydrothermal binary plant, and a 50-MW hydrothermal flash plant. The methods focus on (1) the collection of data to improve estimation of EGS stimulation volumes, aboveground operational consumption for all geothermal technologies, and belowground operational consumption for EGS; and (2) the mapping of the geothermal and water resources of the western United States to assist in the identification of potential water challenges to geothermal growth. Chapters 3 and 4 present the water requirements for the power plant life cycle. Chapter 3 presents the results of the current data collection effort, and Chapter 4 presents the normalized volume of fresh water consumed at each life cycle stage per lifetime energy output for the power plant scenarios evaluated. Over the life cycle of a geothermal power plant, from construction through 30 years of operation, the majority of water is consumed by plant operations. For the EGS binary scenarios, where dry cooling was assumed, belowground operational water loss is the greatest contributor depending upon the physical and operational conditions of the reservoir. Total life cycle water consumption requirements for air-cooled EGS binary scenarios vary between 0.22 and 1.85 gal/kWh, depending upon the extent of belowground operational water consumption. The air-cooled hydrothermal binary and flash plants experience far less fresh water consumption over the life cycle, at 0.04 gal/kWh. Fresh water requirements associated with air- cooled binary operations are primarily from aboveground water needs, including dust control, maintenance, and domestic use. Although wet-cooled hydrothermal flash systems require water for cooling, these plants generally rely upon the geofluid, fluid from the geothermal reservoir, which typically has high salinity and total dissolved solids concentration and is much warmer than normal groundwater sources, for their cooling water needs; thus, while there is considerable geofluid loss at 2.7 gal/kWh, fresh water consumption during operations is similar to that of aircooled binary systems. Chapter 5 presents the assessment of water demand for future growth in deployment of utility-scale geothermal power generation. The approach combines the life cycle analysis of geothermal water consumption with a geothermal supply curve according to resource type, levelized cost of electricity (LCOE), and potential growth scenarios. A total of 17 growth scenarios were evaluated. In general, the scenarios that assumed lower costs for EGSs as a result of learning and technological improvements resulted in greater geothermal potential, but also significantly greater water demand due to the higher water consumption by EGSs. It was shown, however, that this effect could be largely mitigated if nonpotable water sources were used for belowground operational water demands. The geographical areas that showed the highest water demand for most growth scenarios were southern and northern California, as well as most of Nevada. In addition to water demand by geothermal power production, Chapter 5 includes data on water availability for geothermal development areas. A qualitative analysis is included that identifies some of the basins where the limited availability of water is most likely to affect the development of geothermal resources. The data indicate that water availability is fairly limited, especially under drought conditions, in most of the areas with significant near- and medium-term geothermal potential. Southern California was found to have the greatest potential for water-related challenges with its combination of high geothermal potential and limited water availability. The results of this work are summarized in Chapter 6. Overall, this work highlights the importance of utilizing dry cooling systems for binary and EGS systems and minimizing fresh water consumption throughout the life cycle of geothermal power development. The large resource base for EGSs represents a major opportunity for the geothermal industry; however, depending upon geology, these systems can require large quantities of makeup water due to belowground reservoir losses. Identifying potential sources of compatible degraded or low-quality water for use for makeup injection for EGS and flash systems represents an important opportunity to reduce the impacts of geothermal development on fresh water resources. The importance of identifying alternative water sources for geothermal systems is heightened by the fact that a large fraction of the geothermal resource is located in areas already experiencing water stress. Chapter 7 is a glossary of the technical terms used in the report, and Chapters 8 and 9 provide references and a bibliography, respectively.« less
  • Soil emissions have been inadequately characterized in life cycle assessment of biofuels (see section 3.2.3). This project measures the net differences in field-level greenhouse gas emissions (CO 2, N 2O, and CH 4) due to corn residue removal for cellulosic ethanol production. Gas measurements are then incorporated into life cycle assessment of the final biofuel product to determine whether it is in compliance with federal greenhouse gas emissions standards for biofuels (Renewable Fuel Standard 2, RFS2). The field measurements have been conducted over three years on two, quarter-section, production-scale, irrigated corn fields (both roughly 50 hectares, as this size ofmore » field is necessary for reproducible eddy covariance flux measurements of CO 2; chamber measurements are used to determine N 2O and CH 4 emissions). Due to a large hail storm in 2010, estimates of the emission from residue could not be separated from the total CO 2 flux in 2011. This led us to develop soil organic carbon (SOC) modeling techniques to estimate changes in CO 2 emissions from residue removal. Modeling has predicted emissions of CO 2 from oxidation of SOC that are consistent (<12%) with 9 years of CO 2 flux measurements at the two production field sites, and modeling is also consistent with other field measurements (Liska et al., submitted). The model was then used to estimate the average change in SOC and CO 2 emissions from nine years of simulated residue removal (6 Mg biomass per hectare per year) at the sites; a loss of 0.43 Mg C ha -1 yr -1 resulted. The model was then used to estimate SOC changes over 10 years across Nebraska using supercomputing, based on 61 million, 30 x 30 meter, grid cells to account for regional variability in initial SOC, crop yield, and temperature; an average loss of 0.47 Mg C ha -1 yr -1 resulted. When these CO 2 emissions are included in simple life cycle assessment calculations, emissions from cellulosic ethanol from crop residue are above mandated levels of 60% reduction compared to gasoline (Liska, in press). These approaches are both technically effective and economically feasible. This work has been extensively peer reviewed.« less