Algal biofuels: key issues, sustainability and life cycle assessment

Publication: Research - peer-reviewArticle in proceedings – Annual report year: 2011


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In recent years research activities are intensively focused on renewable fuels in order to fulfill the increasing energy demand and to reduce the fossil fuels consumption and external oil dependency either in order to provide local energetic resources and or as a means for reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions to reduce the climate change effects. Among the various renewable energy sources algal biofuels is a very promising source of biomass as algae sequester huge quantities of carbon from atmosphere and are very efficient in utilizing the nutrients from the industrial effluent and municipal wastewater. Algae capture CO2 from atmosphere and industrial flue gases and transform it in to organic biomass that can be used for the production of biofuels. Like other biomass, algal biomass is also a carbon neutral source for the production of bioenergy. Therefore cultivation of algal biomass provides dual benefits; while being able to utilize nutrients in waste water thus reducing impacts on inland waters it produce biomass for the production of biofuels. However, reaching commercial scale production of algal biofuels is difficult. The main drawbacks include the harvesting of dry biomass and higher capital investment. The harvested algal biomass and its extracts can be efficiently converted to different biofuels such as bioethanol, biodiesel, biogas and biohydrogen by implementation of various process technologies. Comprehensive life cycle assessments (LCA) of algal biofuels illustrating environmental benefits and impacts can be a tool for policy decisions and for technology development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnergy Systems and Technologies for the coming Century
Number of pages454
VolumeSession 6B - Bio Energy II
Place of PublicationRoskilde
PublisherDanmarks Tekniske Universitet, Risø Nationallaboratoriet for Bæredygtig Energi
Publication date2011
ISBN (print)978-87-550-3903-2
StatePublished - 2011
Event4th Risø Energy Conference - København, Denmark


Conference4th Risø Energy Conference
Period08/11/2005 → …
SeriesDenmark. Forskningscenter Risoe. Risoe-R


  • Algal biofuels, Life cycle assessment (LCA), Sustainability, Risø-R-1776, Risø-R-1776(EN)
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