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Title: Development of algae biorefinery concepts for biofuels and bioproducts; a perspective on process-compatible products and their impact on cost-reduction

Identifying and addressing critical improvements in biomass, bioproduct and biofuel productivity is a priority for the nascent algae-based bioeconomy. Economic and sustainability principles should guide these developing improvements and help to unravel the contentious water–food–energy–environment nexus that algae inhabit. Understanding the biochemistry of the storage carbon metabolism of algae to produce biofuels and bioproducts can bring to light the key barriers that currently limit the overall carbon efficiency and the photosynthetic efficiency, and ultimately guide productivity and commercial viability in the context of limiting resources. In the analysis reported here, we present different potential pathways for a conceptual algae biorefinery framework, with each pathway addressing one of the main identified barriers to future deployment. We highlight the molecular identification, in the form of an extensive literature review, of potential bioproducts that may be derived directly from both biomass and fractions produced through a conversion pathway, for three important commercially-relevant genera of algae, Scenedesmus, Chlorella and Nannochloropsis. Here, we establish a relationship between each of the potential bioproducts, describe relevant conversion and extraction processes, and discuss market opportunities with values and sizes as they relate to commercial development of the products.
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  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1754-5692; EESNBY
Grant/Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308; AC36-08-GO28308
Published Article
Journal Name:
Energy & Environmental Science
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 1754-5692
Royal Society of Chemistry
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; biomass; bioproducts; biofuels; algae; biorefinery
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1375622