Advanced scenario studies for large scale biofuel pruduction using algae

P.M. Slegers, A.J.B. van Boxtel, R.H. Wijffels, G. van Straten

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The interaction of the production system and their environment has a large impact on the performance of the micro-algae production system. In this project the interaction of different production systems and cultivation technology is evaluated and bottlenecks are indicated. Biomass production is the first step involved in the biofuel production process and is influenced by many decision variables like climate, reactor system characteristics and operating conditions. Models have been developed for large scale algae biomass production in open raceway ponds, flat panel and tubular photobioreactors. The effect of climate conditions on light conditions in the systems and for open ponds on water temperature are considered. Shading effects by neighbouring reactor units are included. Design scenarios were applied to quantify the effect of location, algae species and reactor design on productivity. Cultivation systems have a strong interaction with the environment as resources have to be supplied for biomass production. Logistics play an important role in this interaction. Logistic models to find the best location of wood-based biomass refineries at the lowest overall costs are available in literature. One of these models has been modified to fit to the algae case. The objective is to maximise algal biomass production at the lowest costs. Carbon dioxide and water are the main resource flows that have to be supplied to the algae cultivation plants. Biomass production is determined with the previously developed models for algae production as a function of reactor design, climatic conditions of the location and algae species. Downstream processing and transport of products are not considered yet. The new approach is in an initial phase and is able to determine the location and size of algae plants using the lowest transport and production costs based on a given biomass demand. The adapted logistic model in combination with the models on algae biomass production enables us to quantify the transport costs, compare the costs (production and transport) of the three cultivation systems and get insight in suitable production sizes and in the effect of infrastructure on production plants
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event1st YoungAlgaeneers symposium, Wageningen, the Netherlands -
Duration: 14 Jun 201216 Jun 2012


Conference1st YoungAlgaeneers symposium, Wageningen, the Netherlands


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