Harvesting time and biomass composition affect the economics of microalgae production

Yixing Sui, Yu Jiang, Michele Moretti, Siegfried E. Vlaeminck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Cost simulations provide a strong tool to render the production of microalgae economically viable. This study evaluated the unexplored effect of harvesting time and the corresponding microalgal biomass composition on the overall production cost, under both continuous light and light/dark regime using techno-economic analysis (TEA). At the same time, the TEA gives evidence that a novel product “proteinaceous salt” from Dunaliella microalgae production is a promising high-value product for commercialization with profitability. The optimum production scenario is to employ natural light/dark regime and harvest microalgal biomass around late exponential phase, obtaining the minimum production cost of 11 €/kg and a profitable minimum selling price (MSP) of 14.4 €/kg for the “proteinaceous salt”. For further optimization of the production, increasing microalgal biomass concentration is the most effective way to reduce the total production cost and increase the profits of microalgae products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120782
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2020


  • Biobased economy
  • Food market
  • Microalgae
  • Novel food
  • Single-cell protein


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