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Title: Assessment of Algal Farm Designs Using a Dynamic Modular Approach

The notion of renewable energy provides an important mechanism for diversifying an energy portfolio, which ultimately would have numerous benefits including increased energy resilience, reduction of foreign energy supplies, reduced GHG emissions, development of a green energy sector that contributes to economic growth, and providing a sustainable energy supply. The conversion of autotrophic algae to liquid transportation fuels is the basis of several decades of research to competitively bring energy-scale production into reality; however, many challenges still remain for making algal biofuels economically viable. Addressing current challenges associated with algal production systems, in part, requires the ability to assess spatial and temporal variability, rapidly evaluate alternative algal production system designs, and perform large-scale assessments considering multiple scenarios for thousands of potential sites. We introduce the Algae Logistics Model (ALM) which helps to address these challenges. The flexible nature of the ALM architecture allows the model to: 1) interface with external biomass production and resource assessment models, as well as other relevant datasets including those with spatiotemporal granularity; 2) interchange design processes to enable operational and economic assessments of multiple design configurations, including the integration of current and new innovative technologies; and 3) conduct trade-off analysis to help understand the site-specificmore » techno-economic trade-offs and inform technology decisions. This study uses the ALM to investigate a baseline open-pond production system determined by model harmonization efforts conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy. Six sites in the U.S. southern-tier were sub-selected and assessed using daily site-specific algae biomass productivity data to determine the economic viability of large-scale open-pond systems. Results show that costs can vary significantly depending on location and biomass productivity and that integration of novel dewatering equipment, order of operations, and equipment scaling can also have significant impacts on economics.« less
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  1. Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States). Biofuels and Renewable Energy Technology
  2. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Hydrology Technical Group
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2211-9264; BM0204010
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Algal Research; Journal Volume: 5
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; BEVERAGES; BIOFUELS; RESOURCE ASSESSMENT techno-economic analysis; microalgae; open pond; biodiesel