Don’t miss the story in Biofuels Digest on the latest research into how the cost of algae-derived fuels can drop below $3.00 per gallon.
The Digest look at research out of the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and BioProducts (NAABB) consortium that identifies key technology areas that can be targeted to achieve cost-competitive algae fuels. Considering that the NAABB was already able to find ways to bring the price of algae fuels down to about $7.50 from more than $200, it may be worth looking at their recommended areas for improvement.
Among the processes where cost improvements could make the biggest difference:
1. Increasing the growth rate from 25 grams per square meter per day to 30 grams.
2. Increasing lipid content from 25% to 50%
3. Cutting harvest cost by 50%
4. Cut extraction cost by 50%
5. Sell Lipid Extracted Algae residual biomass for $500 per ton.
The Biofuels Digest article explains how several ongoing efforts to reduce CO2 costs, pond liner costs, ash content and manage water usage are some of the approaches that are finding improvements in each of the areas above.
These might sound like big hurdles, but remember that the algae industry is new and dramatic advances are being made every month. Some would argue the industry has already met more difficult challenges than these. And one approach alone, deploying technologies at larger scales, could achieve substantial cost reductions in all of these areas simultaneously.