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Title: Managing variability in algal biomass production through drying and stabilization of feedstock blends

The uncertainty and variability of algal biomass production presents several challenges to the algal biofuel industry including equipment scaling and the ability to provide a consistent feedstock stream for conversion. Blended feedstocks containing both algal and terrestrial biomass may provide a cost-effective method to manage variability of algal biomass production. The hypothesis is that mixing of algae with terrestrial biomass has the potential to create blends with rheologic (flowability) properties similar to terrestrial feedstock and that blends with the consistency of terrestrial biomass can be dried using established low-cost drying systems. To test this hypothesis and its technical feasibility, prototype bench scale simulated drum dyers were designed and tested with blends of algae and ground pine. Scenedesmus dimorphus biomass was used as the algal feedstock, while 2 mm grind pine was used as the terrestrial feedstock. Pine was selected as the representative terrestrial feedstock to leverage independent HTL research using pine feedstock. In these studies, blends up to 60% algae produced drying curves similar to those of pine alone, and reached dryness (2% moisture) much more rapidly than algae alone. Thermogravimetric analyses performed on these feedstocks provided drying curves consistent with the simulated drum dryers. In addition, observable rheologic propertiesmore » at the time of blending served as an indicator of drying performance, as those blends with texture similar to pine also dried similar to the pine control. Logistics analyses performed to determine cost and availability of feedstock materials for blending at production scale further indicate the potential of this approach. Lastly, our results indicate that blending of algae with terrestrial biomass enables the use of low cost dryers and has the potential to improve overall algal biofuel economics by capturing the value of excess biomass produced during periods of high productivity and by decoupling of algal production farms and conversion facilities.« less
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  1. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2211-9264; PII: S2211926416306348
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Algal Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 24; Journal Issue: PA; 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; algal logistics; blended feedstocks; algae biofuels; hydrothermal liquefaction; algae biomass storage; blending; economic feasibility; sustainability
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1396632