skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Assessment of algal biofuel resource potential in the United States with consideration of regional water stress

Abstract

Algae have been considered as a promising feedstock for biofuels. Because scaling-up algae biofuels production consumes significant amount of water, the impact of water use should be considered. This study evaluates algae-derived biofuel production potential in the United States (US) with consideration of regional water stress. We identified 7,075 potential sites in the US meeting land, biomass productivity and CO2 co-locating criteria using the Biomass Assessment Tool (BAT). The impact of water use for algal biofuel production in terms of water scarcity footprint is quantified using modeled 33-year site-scale water consumption from BAT and the county-level water stress indicator from the Available Water Remaining for the US (AWARE-US) metric. Long-term (20 billion gallon per year [BGY]) and near-term (5 BGY) renewable diesel (RD) production targets are considered. To select suitable algae cultivation facilities, biomass yield and water use are considered with and without a water stress constraint. We found that ranking sites based on biomass yield results in a high water use impact (24.5 thousand US equivalent billion gallons (BGYe) for the long-term RD target). If sites are instead ranked on water use efficiency, water consumption is reduced on average by 62%, with an average reduction in biomass yield bymore » 25%. To reconcile trade-offs between biomass yield and water use impact, AWARE-US can be applied along with considering biomass yield. This strategy removes sites located in water stressed areas while keeping high productivity sites. For the 20 BGY RD target, this reduces water use impact by 55% without lowering biomass productivity or 97% with moderate reductions (4% on average) in biomass productivity, compared to the sites ranked by biomass yield alone. The results demonstrate that incorporating water stress into energy-scale algae biofuel production planning is key to achieving synergies between biofuel yield and fresh water use impact.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [2];  [1]
  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Transportation Office. Bioenergy Technologies Office
OSTI Identifier:
1494699
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1492708; OSTI ID: 1637168
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-138253
Journal ID: ISSN 2211-9264; 147266
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-06CH11357; AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Algal Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 37; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 2211-9264
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; algae; biofuel; renewable energy; water scarcity footprint; water use; sustainability; algae, biofuel, renewable energy, water scarcity footprint, water use, sustainable, Biomass Assessment Tool, BAT, AWARE-US

Citation Formats

Xu, Hui, Lee, Uisung, Coleman, André M., Wigmosta, Mark S., and Wang, Michael. Assessment of algal biofuel resource potential in the United States with consideration of regional water stress. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1016/j.algal.2018.11.002.
Xu, Hui, Lee, Uisung, Coleman, André M., Wigmosta, Mark S., & Wang, Michael. Assessment of algal biofuel resource potential in the United States with consideration of regional water stress. United States. doi:10.1016/j.algal.2018.11.002.
Xu, Hui, Lee, Uisung, Coleman, André M., Wigmosta, Mark S., and Wang, Michael. Tue . "Assessment of algal biofuel resource potential in the United States with consideration of regional water stress". United States. doi:10.1016/j.algal.2018.11.002. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1494699.
@article{osti_1494699,
title = {Assessment of algal biofuel resource potential in the United States with consideration of regional water stress},
author = {Xu, Hui and Lee, Uisung and Coleman, André M. and Wigmosta, Mark S. and Wang, Michael},
abstractNote = {Algae have been considered as a promising feedstock for biofuels. Because scaling-up algae biofuels production consumes significant amount of water, the impact of water use should be considered. This study evaluates algae-derived biofuel production potential in the United States (US) with consideration of regional water stress. We identified 7,075 potential sites in the US meeting land, biomass productivity and CO2 co-locating criteria using the Biomass Assessment Tool (BAT). The impact of water use for algal biofuel production in terms of water scarcity footprint is quantified using modeled 33-year site-scale water consumption from BAT and the county-level water stress indicator from the Available Water Remaining for the US (AWARE-US) metric. Long-term (20 billion gallon per year [BGY]) and near-term (5 BGY) renewable diesel (RD) production targets are considered. To select suitable algae cultivation facilities, biomass yield and water use are considered with and without a water stress constraint. We found that ranking sites based on biomass yield results in a high water use impact (24.5 thousand US equivalent billion gallons (BGYe) for the long-term RD target). If sites are instead ranked on water use efficiency, water consumption is reduced on average by 62%, with an average reduction in biomass yield by 25%. To reconcile trade-offs between biomass yield and water use impact, AWARE-US can be applied along with considering biomass yield. This strategy removes sites located in water stressed areas while keeping high productivity sites. For the 20 BGY RD target, this reduces water use impact by 55% without lowering biomass productivity or 97% with moderate reductions (4% on average) in biomass productivity, compared to the sites ranked by biomass yield alone. The results demonstrate that incorporating water stress into energy-scale algae biofuel production planning is key to achieving synergies between biofuel yield and fresh water use impact.},
doi = {10.1016/j.algal.2018.11.002},
journal = {Algal Research},
number = C,
volume = 37,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {11}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 4 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: Overall workflow for water impact analysis. Algae cultivation facilities are selected using three alternative sitting strategies: 1) biomass productivity ranking considering CO2 resources, 2) water use efficiency ranking, and 3) avoiding high water stressed regions (hotspots) with biomass productivity ranking. Water stress impact is quantified using site-level watermore » consumption and a county-level water stress indicator (Available Water Remaining for the United States [AWARE-US]).« less

Save / Share:

Works referencing / citing this record:

Latest development in microalgae-biofuel production with nano-additives
journal, May 2019


Avoiding Conflicts between Future Freshwater Algae Production and Water Scarcity in the United States at the Energy-Water Nexus
journal, April 2019

  • Jager, Henriette I.; Efroymson, Rebecca A.; Baskaran, Latha M.
  • Water, Vol. 11, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.3390/w11040836