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Title: Evaluation of a high-moisture stabilization strategy for harvested microalgae blended with herbaceous biomass: Part II — Techno-economic assessment

The seasonal variability in algal biomass production and its susceptibility to rapid degradation increases uncertainty in algal productivity and increases risks to feedstock supply for conversion. During summer months when algal biomass productivity is highest, production could exceed conversion capacity, resulting in delayed processing and risk of biomass degradation. Drying algae for preservation is energy-intensive and can account for over 50% of the total energy demand in algae preprocessing. Anaerobic wet storage – ensiling – is a widely used storage technique for stabilization of high moisture forage. Wet stabilization of algae eliminates the need for drying, and blending with herbaceous biomass allows for the utilization of the silage industry’s existing harvest, handling and storage infrastructure. A storage facility co-located with the algae production and conversion operations was designed to stabilize algal biomass produced in excess of conversion capacity during summer months for use in the winter when algal biomass production is reduced. Techno-economic assessment of the costs associated with ensiling algae and corn stover blends suggest it to be a cost effective approach, compared to drying. In a high algal biomass productivity scenario, costs of wet storage ($/gallon diesel) were only 65% of the cost of drying. When a reducedmore » algal biomass productivity scenario was considered, the stored blend was able to cost-effectively provide sufficient biomass such that winter production in the algal ponds could cease, meanwhile incurring only 91% of the costs of drying; such an approach would facilitate algal biomass production in northern latitudes. Moreover, the wet storage approaches requiring only 8-10% of the total energy consumption and releasing only 20-25% of the greenhouse gasses when compared to a natural-gas based drying approach for microalgae stabilization.« less
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  1. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
  2. Harris Group, Seattle, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2211-9264; PII: S2211926416307676
Grant/Contract Number:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Algal Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 25; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 2211-9264
Research Org:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; algae; blending; corn stover; ensiling; storage; techno-economic analysis
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1360915