Parametric analysis for an algal oil production process

F. Madugu, M. Collu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Microalgae are considered to be one of the most feasible options that have the potential to serve as a major feedstock for biofuels and bio-products production. However, the economic viability of commercial scale production remains questionable by many researchers and investors. There are several uncertainties in the technology for microalgae growing and harvesting, and the extraction of algal oil, which makes it difficult to identify the technology most suitable for minimizing cost and maximizing profits. Therefore, there is a need to carry out parametric analyses to identify the influence of system configuration and process on the economic viability. This study establishes an economic analysis for a microalgae oil production pathway to determine the minimum cost of producing algal oil. Taking the capital and operating costs parameters from the economic analysis, some of the key parameters are changed across a range of values and their influence on the final cost of algal oil is analysed. Each of the parameters is analysed across a range of production scale from 5 to 75 g/m2/d. The results show that the most important cost-driving parameters are the pond cost (especially the liners) and the harvesting costs, and that the costs can be reduced from £1.87/L to £1.58/L for a growth rate of 25 g/m2/d and £1.34/L for a growth rate of 50 g/m2/d. This ultimately suggests that to achieve economic viability, improvements to cell biology (both growth rates and lipid content) and reducing systems unit costs while improving performance will be required together.

LanguageEnglish
Pages141-154
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Energy Production and Management
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016

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production process
oil production
costs
cost
Costs
economics
Economic analysis
economic analysis
Economics
cost minimizing
oil
Cytology
biofuel
operating costs
analysis
Oils
Ponds
Biofuels
investor
biology

Keywords

  • algal oil
  • biofuels
  • economic cost
  • parametric analysis

Cite this

Madugu, F. ; Collu, M. / Parametric analysis for an algal oil production process. 2016 ; Vol. 1, No. 2. pp. 141-154.
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Parametric analysis for an algal oil production process. / Madugu, F.; Collu, M.

Vol. 1, No. 2, 01.04.2016, p. 141-154.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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