Anthropogenic CO2 as a Feedstock for Cyanobacteria-Based Biofuels: Integration of Biofuel Production with Power Generation Facilities

J. Beaudry-Losique, R.R. Chance, R.P. Lively, B.A. McCool, P. Sharma
Algenol Biofuels, Inc., US

Keywords: biofuel, cyanobacteria


As global energy markets become more carbon-constrained, carbon-neutral technologies will become increasingly more important elements of the overall energy portfolio. Biofuels have great potential as low-carbon alternatives, and can serve as drop-in fuels for existing transportation infrastructures. Thus, the incentives are large but a number of issues exist: competition with food, land use, fresh water use, economics with respect to fossil fuels, and achievable reduction in carbon footprint. This talk will focus on CO2 utilization of anthropogenic CO2 in an advanced biofuel system and the integration of that system with various power plant designs. The biofuel system is the Algenol Direct to EthanolĀ® technology, which provides an efficient, cyanobacteria-based system for producing ethanol. The process consumes anthropogenic carbon dioxide in a solar energy conversion process that yields a substantial reduction in net fossil fuel use, and much lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline.1 Different options for CO2 capture and utilization in the Algenol process will be considered and their economic impact on the operating cost of the system evaluated. Comparisons of operating costs and life-cycle carbon footprints will be made for the Algenol technology versus fossil fuels and other transportation fuel options. Finally, we expand the boundary of the life cycle analysis to include the power plant, considering specifically natural gas, pulverized coal, supercritical and IGCC (Integrated Gas Combined Cycle) options. We compare carbon footprints for the integrated system to CCS (carbon cycle and sequestration) and well as the status quo of CO2 release to the atmosphere.