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Title: Nitrogen derived from Combined Algal Processing supports algae cultivation for biofuels

Abstract

Algae biomass, a biofuel feedstock with potential to reduce global CO2 emissions, is currently too expensive Nitrogen, a significant input and life cycle cost, requires research on recycling and additional sources to reduce costs. Integral to nitrogen recycling is the knowledge of actual nitrogen requirements in outdoor ponds, thus data from the Unified Field Studies of the Algae Testbed Public-Private Partnership was analyzed. The data showed that Nannochloropsis oceanica used 14–24 mg/L NH4+ per harvest cycle for robust growth. Nitrogen recycled directly from the algae conversion process will likely be the primary source of nitrogen for algae cultivation. Harvested algae can be fractionated via Combined Algal Processing (CAP), where algae are pretreated, fermented, and the fuel feedstocks (e. g. ethanol, lipids) are removed leaving a nitrogen rich slurry. Chlorella vulgaris grew robustly in nitrogen-free media supplemented with CAP residues through 4 harvest cycles with no inhibition. The amount of nitrogen as free ammonium available for recycling directly without further processing was insufficient (~4% of total needed), thus the nitrogen fixing bacteria, Azotobacter vinelandii, was investigated as a means for increasing ammonium concentration in CAP residues. This organism was shown to be proficient at growth on sugars liberated from algae biomassmore » during pretreatment and sustained algae growth using A. vinelandii supernatants was also demonstrated. Using Azotobacter to increase ammonium concentrations on-site using an inexpensive biological process to generate the necessary ammonium for outdoor algae cultivation improves sustainability of algae biofuels by avoiding the energy intensive steps of typical ammonium production and transport. Furthermore, these results show that byproducts of algae conversion begin to close nitrogen demand and, with further supplementation by diazotrophic bacteria or protein hydrolysis, may completely replace current energyintensive and costly industrial nitrogen sources offering a path to increased economic feasibility and improved life cycle analysis of algae-based biofuels.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [2];  [2]
  1. Layfatte College, Easton, PA (United States)
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Transportation Office. Bioenergy Technologies Office
OSTI Identifier:
1785547
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1637370
Grant/Contract Number:  
EE0005996; AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Algal Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 50; Journal ID: ISSN 2211-9264
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
Algae cultivation; Biofuels; Nitrogen recycle; Azotobacter

Citation Formats

Savage, Evan, Nagle, Nick, Laurens, Lieve M. L., and Knoshaug, Eric P. Nitrogen derived from Combined Algal Processing supports algae cultivation for biofuels. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.algal.2020.101987.
Savage, Evan, Nagle, Nick, Laurens, Lieve M. L., & Knoshaug, Eric P. Nitrogen derived from Combined Algal Processing supports algae cultivation for biofuels. United States. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.algal.2020.101987
Savage, Evan, Nagle, Nick, Laurens, Lieve M. L., and Knoshaug, Eric P. Sat . "Nitrogen derived from Combined Algal Processing supports algae cultivation for biofuels". United States. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.algal.2020.101987. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1785547.
@article{osti_1785547,
title = {Nitrogen derived from Combined Algal Processing supports algae cultivation for biofuels},
author = {Savage, Evan and Nagle, Nick and Laurens, Lieve M. L. and Knoshaug, Eric P.},
abstractNote = {Algae biomass, a biofuel feedstock with potential to reduce global CO2 emissions, is currently too expensive Nitrogen, a significant input and life cycle cost, requires research on recycling and additional sources to reduce costs. Integral to nitrogen recycling is the knowledge of actual nitrogen requirements in outdoor ponds, thus data from the Unified Field Studies of the Algae Testbed Public-Private Partnership was analyzed. The data showed that Nannochloropsis oceanica used 14–24 mg/L NH4+ per harvest cycle for robust growth. Nitrogen recycled directly from the algae conversion process will likely be the primary source of nitrogen for algae cultivation. Harvested algae can be fractionated via Combined Algal Processing (CAP), where algae are pretreated, fermented, and the fuel feedstocks (e. g. ethanol, lipids) are removed leaving a nitrogen rich slurry. Chlorella vulgaris grew robustly in nitrogen-free media supplemented with CAP residues through 4 harvest cycles with no inhibition. The amount of nitrogen as free ammonium available for recycling directly without further processing was insufficient (~4% of total needed), thus the nitrogen fixing bacteria, Azotobacter vinelandii, was investigated as a means for increasing ammonium concentration in CAP residues. This organism was shown to be proficient at growth on sugars liberated from algae biomass during pretreatment and sustained algae growth using A. vinelandii supernatants was also demonstrated. Using Azotobacter to increase ammonium concentrations on-site using an inexpensive biological process to generate the necessary ammonium for outdoor algae cultivation improves sustainability of algae biofuels by avoiding the energy intensive steps of typical ammonium production and transport. Furthermore, these results show that byproducts of algae conversion begin to close nitrogen demand and, with further supplementation by diazotrophic bacteria or protein hydrolysis, may completely replace current energyintensive and costly industrial nitrogen sources offering a path to increased economic feasibility and improved life cycle analysis of algae-based biofuels.},
doi = {10.1016/j.algal.2020.101987},
journal = {Algal Research},
number = ,
volume = 50,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {7}
}

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