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Title: A Microalgae-Based Platform for the Beneficial Re-use of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Power Plants

Abstract

This project sought to address the technical and economic barriers to carbon dioxide capture and utilization using microalgae. Operating data were collected in 2016 and 2017 during cultivation of Scenedesmus acutus at Duke Energy’s East Bend Station – a coal-fired power plant located in northern Kentucky – using flue gas as the CO 2 source. Algae were grown in a 1200 L “cyclic flow” photobioreactor (PBR) designed by the University of Kentucky. A key finding was that the harvested algae contained only very low concentrations of heavy metals (As, Cd, Hg, Se), consistent with heavy metals incorporation from the supplied nutrients. This indicates that algal biomass produced from coal-derived flue gas would be suitable for a variety of applications, including the production of bioplastics, use as fertilizer, etc. A lifecycle assessment showed that the UK-designed PBR employed in this work qualifies as a net CO 2 capture technology. Indeed, over a 30-year period, net CO 2 capture would equate to 43% of the targeted amount, i.e., the amount captured from the supplied flue gas. A techno-economic analysis indicated that the minimum production cost of Scenedesmus acutus biomass in the US is in the order of 875 USD/ton, excluding the costmore » of capital. While this figure is not too dissimilar to values reported for open raceway ponds in similar scenarios, it emphasizes that for current cultivation technology any pathway to economic viability will require applications for which algal boimass can be sold at prices in excess of 1,000 USD/ton. Currently, such applications represent relatively small markets, such as pigments (e.g., astaxanthin) and nutraceuticals (ω-3 unsaturated fatty acids), as well as nutritional supplements (whole algae) for human consumption and for use in pet food. Consequently, the commercialization of large-scale algae-based CO 2 capture and utilization will require the development of new technologies to reduce the cost of algae production and/or the development of new, high-value applications for algal biomass. One of the more promising applications for algal biomass is in the production of bioplastics. In this work, the potential for the algae grown in the East Bend PBR for the production of bioplastic with adequate mechanical properties was clearly shown. Positive features of the produced biomass included a high protein content and a composition that was generally more homogeneous than biomass grown in open ponds (in which many species may be present). The best candidate for further review, after incorporation into ethylene-vinyl acetate, was a lipid and sugar extracted material, which showed the highest extension values with comparable load values to other UK-derived samples. It also demonstrated extension benefits against the Algix Bloom product (currently offered commercially), even though it contained agglomerates which generally exert a negative effect on mechanical properties. This leads to speculation that with enhanced milling that exists on the commercial scale, the sugar and fat extracted product may be even more competitive. This, in turn, points to the need for additional work in order to assess the properties of such optimized algae-based plastics and the price point they can command.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [2];  [3]
  1. Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY (United States)
  2. Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE (United States)
  3. Algix, Meridian, MS (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY (United States); National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Pittsburgh, PA, and Morgantown, WV (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE); Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE (United States); Algix, Meridian, MS (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
1419316
Report Number(s):
DOE-KENTUCKY-FE0026396
DOE Contract Number:
FE0026396
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; algae; carbon dioxide; utilization; biofuels; bioplastics

Citation Formats

Crocker, Mark, Groppo, Jack, Kesner, Stephanie, Mohler, Daniel, Pace, Robby, Santillan-Jimenez, Eduardo, Wilson, Michael, Schambach, Jenna, Stewart, Jennifer, and Zeller, Ashton. A Microalgae-Based Platform for the Beneficial Re-use of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Power Plants. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.2172/1419316.
Crocker, Mark, Groppo, Jack, Kesner, Stephanie, Mohler, Daniel, Pace, Robby, Santillan-Jimenez, Eduardo, Wilson, Michael, Schambach, Jenna, Stewart, Jennifer, & Zeller, Ashton. A Microalgae-Based Platform for the Beneficial Re-use of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Power Plants. United States. doi:10.2172/1419316.
Crocker, Mark, Groppo, Jack, Kesner, Stephanie, Mohler, Daniel, Pace, Robby, Santillan-Jimenez, Eduardo, Wilson, Michael, Schambach, Jenna, Stewart, Jennifer, and Zeller, Ashton. Fri . "A Microalgae-Based Platform for the Beneficial Re-use of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Power Plants". United States. doi:10.2172/1419316. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1419316.
@article{osti_1419316,
title = {A Microalgae-Based Platform for the Beneficial Re-use of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Power Plants},
author = {Crocker, Mark and Groppo, Jack and Kesner, Stephanie and Mohler, Daniel and Pace, Robby and Santillan-Jimenez, Eduardo and Wilson, Michael and Schambach, Jenna and Stewart, Jennifer and Zeller, Ashton},
abstractNote = {This project sought to address the technical and economic barriers to carbon dioxide capture and utilization using microalgae. Operating data were collected in 2016 and 2017 during cultivation of Scenedesmus acutus at Duke Energy’s East Bend Station – a coal-fired power plant located in northern Kentucky – using flue gas as the CO2 source. Algae were grown in a 1200 L “cyclic flow” photobioreactor (PBR) designed by the University of Kentucky. A key finding was that the harvested algae contained only very low concentrations of heavy metals (As, Cd, Hg, Se), consistent with heavy metals incorporation from the supplied nutrients. This indicates that algal biomass produced from coal-derived flue gas would be suitable for a variety of applications, including the production of bioplastics, use as fertilizer, etc. A lifecycle assessment showed that the UK-designed PBR employed in this work qualifies as a net CO2 capture technology. Indeed, over a 30-year period, net CO2 capture would equate to 43% of the targeted amount, i.e., the amount captured from the supplied flue gas. A techno-economic analysis indicated that the minimum production cost of Scenedesmus acutus biomass in the US is in the order of 875 USD/ton, excluding the cost of capital. While this figure is not too dissimilar to values reported for open raceway ponds in similar scenarios, it emphasizes that for current cultivation technology any pathway to economic viability will require applications for which algal boimass can be sold at prices in excess of 1,000 USD/ton. Currently, such applications represent relatively small markets, such as pigments (e.g., astaxanthin) and nutraceuticals (ω-3 unsaturated fatty acids), as well as nutritional supplements (whole algae) for human consumption and for use in pet food. Consequently, the commercialization of large-scale algae-based CO2 capture and utilization will require the development of new technologies to reduce the cost of algae production and/or the development of new, high-value applications for algal biomass. One of the more promising applications for algal biomass is in the production of bioplastics. In this work, the potential for the algae grown in the East Bend PBR for the production of bioplastic with adequate mechanical properties was clearly shown. Positive features of the produced biomass included a high protein content and a composition that was generally more homogeneous than biomass grown in open ponds (in which many species may be present). The best candidate for further review, after incorporation into ethylene-vinyl acetate, was a lipid and sugar extracted material, which showed the highest extension values with comparable load values to other UK-derived samples. It also demonstrated extension benefits against the Algix Bloom product (currently offered commercially), even though it contained agglomerates which generally exert a negative effect on mechanical properties. This leads to speculation that with enhanced milling that exists on the commercial scale, the sugar and fat extracted product may be even more competitive. This, in turn, points to the need for additional work in order to assess the properties of such optimized algae-based plastics and the price point they can command.},
doi = {10.2172/1419316},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Feb 02 00:00:00 EST 2018},
month = {Fri Feb 02 00:00:00 EST 2018}
}

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