algae biofuels

Johannes Skarka, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Algae have one of the highest potential for large scale production of biofuels and other bioproducts. Nevertheless, there are still limiting factors to just how much biomass can be produced. Johannes Skarka from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany has conducted some research on how land and CO2 availability will affect the algae industry in Europe.

Below is Skarka’s description of his work followed by a PDF file which contains a map with the cost of growing biomass at various sites in Europe.

“Microalgae are seen as a promising source for sustainable biofuels since they can be cultivated in photobioreactors on non-arable land and thus reduce the fuel vs. food dilemma. Furthermore they can use CO2 from industrial and power plants. However, in Europe most areas suitable for microalgae production are not located in the direct vicinity of these CO2 sources. Thus, the application of CO2 from fuel gas in algaefuel production requires a transmission infrastructure.

“Against this background a GIS-based model including pipeline transport of CO2 and land availability was developed at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) to determine the microalgal biomass production potential at site-specific costs. The results show a total potential of 45 Mt in the EU-27 for sites with biomass costs less than 2,000 US$/t on a dry matter basis. Most of the potential can be found in the southern part of Europe, particularly on the Iberian Peninsula. Assuming an oil content of 50 % of the algal biomass and by considering a correction factor for the consequent lower biomass productivity, a considerable potential of 22 % of the EU-27’s jet fuel demand could be provided by microalgae derived biofuels.”

Johannes Skarka
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Check out his work here:

Microalgal biomass for biofuels in Europe


Cyano Biofuels has been founded in 2007 as a spin-off company from the Institute of Biology, Humboldt University.

In 2010 the company has been acquired by Algenol Biofuels and is now a member of the Algenol Group.

Cyano Biofuels is a R&D company focused on the Biology part of the Biofuels and chemical feedstocks business.



ALGAE FOOTPRINT: Researchers find that algae is a bigger energy hog than other biofuel sources.

Growing algae for use in biofuels has a greater environmental impact than sources such as corn, switch grass and canola, researchers found in the first life-cycle assessment of algae growth.

Interest in algae-based biofuels has blossomed in the past year, sparking major investments from Exxon Mobil Corp. and Dow Chemical Co., and it has gained steam on Capitol Hill, as well. But the nascent industry has major environmental hurdles to overcome before ramping up production, according to research published this week in Environmental Science and Technology.

“What we found was sort of surprising,” said Andres Clarens, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University of Virginia and lead author of the paper. “We started doing this with as much optimism as everybody else.”

Read the whole article here ( Source ):

While corn ethanol dominates the current biofuel market, the future of clean liquid-energy looks more likely to be found floating on ponds than growing in fields.

George Santana, Greener Dawn
Relative amounts of land needed to be covered by fuel crops to generate enough supply for US use.

Algae-derived biofuels have garnered a lot of attention and investment over the past year due to their potential market-disrupting economics, even if they have become more common in research labs.

“We estimate the pricing of our diesel products at as little as $30 per barrel,” says Bill Sims, CEO of Joule Biotechnologies, a bioengineering firm focusing on the renewable biofuels market. “The big prize is to be competitive with fossil fuels, not with other biofuels.”

How this should work you can read here ( Source ) :