The Bioeconomy of Microalgal Biofuels
Biofuels such as biodiesel and bioethanol, synthesized via microalgal bioprocess engineering, could be a major contributor to the purview of sustainable energy in the foreseeable future. In contrast to other biomass feedstocks like corn, sugar crops, and vegetable oil, microalgae display a number of significantly superior benefits as a raw material for biofuel manufacturing. This includes an enhanced metabolic rate of biomass production, subsistence of diverse microalgae species with sundry biochemical profiles, prospects for carbon dioxide sequestration, and either limited or near absolute monopoly from the perspective of food production modalities and logistics. However, attributing to a wide range of factors, for instance the insipid characteristic of microalgal cultures, and the fact that microalgae cells possess trivial sizes, the process of biomass production and subsequent conversion into biofuels become prohibitively expensive. As a consequence, from an economic outlook, the large-scale production of biofuels from microalgae achieves a somewhat less appealing status, compared to the other biomass types and sources. The current chapter delivers an outline of the bioeconomy analysis for microalgae-derived biofuels. In addition, case studies on microalgal biofuel production are presented along with cost estimations and the necessary strategies to augment its commercial viability.
KeywordsTechno-economic assessment Biofuel production Microalgae-based biofuels
The current work is jointly financed by the research program from the Science and Technology Bureau of Xiamen City in China (3502Z20151254), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, HUST (2016YXMS043, 2016YXZD007), Xiamen University (20720160077), China.
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