An Examination of Alternative Algae Feedstock on the Economic Feasibility of Biofuel Production
International Congress on Sustainability Science Engineering ICOSSE
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm
The need for alternative feedstock in biofuel production has been increasing even as public policies supporting the industry undergoes changes around the world. One feedstock receiving increasing attention is algae in biodiesel production. The study assesses the economic feasibility of alga biodiesel production using algae from two alternative source – an open-raceway pond and naturally-harvested from the ocean using a system dynamic modeling approach. The primary differences in the two sources lie in the former’s production capital cost and quality and availability uncertainty surrounding the latter. The study assumes a mass balance/unit operation system for carbon to ensure environmental sustainability of the production system. Working on the assumption of producing 50 million gallons of biodiesel per year and using 14% of the diesel plus by-products from the diesel production as the system’s fuel, we find that the algal yield was a major bottleneck in the feasibility of the open-raceway system.