Environmental profiles of microalgae photobioreactors – what are the environmental hot spots? Roland Essel*, Ellen Slegers#, Christin Liptow* *nova-Institut, Hürth, Germany #Wageningen University While microalgae have been mainly reckoned as an option for environmentally friendly fuels, this is only one possible field of their application. In fact, microalgae might be used as an environmentally benign option for a broad spectrum of products, including commodities, as well as food and non-food specialties. However, despite this vast spectrum, most of these non-fuel applications are still at a rather early stage in their development, leaving room for guidance. A method that can provide this guidance, particularly with respect to environmental friendliness, is life cycle assessment (LCA). It accounts for all environmentally relevant inputs and outputs to a product or production system (e.g. biorefinery) and based on this determines ecological improvement possibilities. In this life cycle assessment, we investigate the environmental impact of a multi-product biorefinery for microalgae as part of the EU FP-7 project MIRACLES. The aim of MIRACLES is the development of an environmentally friendly biorefinery concept for microalgae under application of photobioreactors. Based on the recent research results, we will present life cycle inventory data and environmental impacts for three different photobioreactors spanning from lab scale projects to commercial facilities. Particularly, we will focus on environmental hot spots in order to support process developers with the ecological optimization and design of biorefinery concepts. Moreover, we will compare the overall impacts of the three systems in order to help filling the current knowledge gap concerning the environmental impacts of photobioreactor-based production of microalgae. The knowledge of which can also be used for comparison with other cultivation systems. Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge funding from EU MIRACLES project (Grant agreement 613588) (http://miraclesproject.eu/).
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
|Event||3rd European Workshop on LCA for Algal Biofuels and Biomaterials, Brussel, Belgium - |
Duration: 11 May 2015 → 11 May 2015
|Workshop||3rd European Workshop on LCA for Algal Biofuels and Biomaterials, Brussel, Belgium|
|Period||11/05/15 → 11/05/15|