Algal biofuels: key issues, sustainability and life cycle assessment

Anoop Singh, Stig Irving Olsen

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    Abstract

    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
    Pages275-282
    ISBN (Print)978-87-550-3903-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    Event4th Risø Energy Conference: The Future Energy System - Distributed Production and Use - København, Denmark
    Duration: 8 Nov 2005 → …
    Conference number: 4

    Conference

    Conference4th Risø Energy Conference
    Number4
    CountryDenmark
    CityKøbenhavn
    Period08/11/2005 → …
    SeriesDenmark. Forskningscenter Risoe. Risoe-R
    Number1776(EN)
    ISSN0106-2840

    Keywords

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

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