Author(s): Vasudevan V, Stratton RW, Pearlson MN, Jersey GR, Beyene AG,
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Abstract Considerable research and development is underway to produce fuels from microalgae, one of several options being explored for increasing transportation fuel supplies and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). This work models life-cycle GHG and on-site freshwater consumption for algal biofuels over a wide technology space, spanning both near- and long-term options. The environmental performance of algal biofuel production can vary considerably and is influenced by engineering, biological, siting, and land-use considerations. We have examined these considerations for open pond systems, to identify variables that have a strong influence on GHG and freshwater consumption. We conclude that algal biofuels can yield GHG reductions relative to fossil and other biobased fuels with the use of appropriate technology options. Further, freshwater consumption for algal biofuels produced using saline pond systems can be comparable to that of petroleum-derived fuels.
This article was published in Environ Sci Technol
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology