skip to main content

Title: Getting to low-cost algal biofuels: A monograph on conventional and cutting-edge harvesting and extraction technologies

Among the most formidable challenges to algal biofuels is the ability to harvest algae and extract intracellular lipids at low cost and with a positive energy balance. Here, we construct two paradigms that contrast energy requirements and costs of conventional and cutting-edge Harvesting and Extraction (H&E) technologies. By application of the parity criterion and the moderate condition reference state, an energy–cost paradigm is created that allows 1st stage harvesting technologies to be compared with easy reference to the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts (NAABB) target of $0.013/gallon of gasoline equivalent (GGE) and to the U.S. DOE's Bioenergy Technologies Office 2022 cost metrics. Drawing from the moderate condition reference state, a concentration-dependency paradigm is developed for extraction technologies, making easier comparison to the National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap (NABTR) target of less than 10% total energy. This monograph identifies cost-bearing factors for a variety of H&E technologies, describes a design basis for ultrasonic harvesters, and provides a framework to measure future technological advancements toward reducing H&E costs. Finally, we show that ultrasonic harvesters and extractors are uniquely capable of meeting both NAABB and NABTR targets. Ultrasonic technologies require further development and scale-up before they can achieve low-cost performance atmore » industrially relevant scales. But, the advancement of this technology would greatly reduce H&E costs and accelerate the commercial viability of algae-based biofuels.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2211-9264
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396; EE0003046
Published Article
Journal Name:
Algal Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal Issue: PB; Journal ID: ISSN 2211-9264
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; Harvesting; Extraction; Membrane filtration; Electrocoagulation; Centrifugation; Ultrasound