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Compiled by a diverse team of experts, with experience in scientific and industrial fields, the Comprehensive Report for Wastewater Treatment Using Algae is the first report that provides in-depth analysis and insights on this important field. It uses innumerable data and information from a wide variety of expert sources and market studies, and distills these inputs and data into intelligence and a roadmap that you can use. More »

Comprehensive Guide for Algae-based Carbon Capture

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Comprehensive Report on Attractive Algae Product Opportunities

The report provides an overview of the wide range of non-fuel applications of algae – both current and future prospects. It will provide entrepreneurs with an idea of how to derive more benefits from their algal energy ventures. The report provides detailed case studies, success stories and factoids of companies that have been involved in the algae products venture More »

Comprehensive Castor Oil Report

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Bioplastics Market & Strategy Advisor

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Algae-Useful Substances

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Algae Biodiesel Cost – What Exactly Makes Algae Fuel Costly?

December 11th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-Energy-Cost

You are at: Oilgae Blog.

Whether it is the person who I meet at a conference, or folks who interact at Oilgae blog, or people who write to me, the one big question they always ask is, “How much does it cost to make fuel from algae?”

Now, I am not going to say I have precise answers, but based on cost estimates of various components as well as based on what other experts and companies have mentioned, I think it is fairly obvious that it is very difficult to have the final fuel cost to be anything less than 7-8 $ per gallon is one uses photobioreactors.

I’d reckon the two main significant cost components of algae fuel are photobioreactors (capex and also its depreciated value in the annual expenditure) and cost of harvesting (my estimates run from anywhere between 0.25 – 1 $ per gallon based on what methods one uses, including capex depreciation). Of these the photobioreactors appear to be the really scary cost component, with current estimates running at about 75-100$ per 100 m2. At that rate, taking a 10% depreciation annually alone would make the depreciated cost of PBRs equal to almost 3-4 $ / gallon of algae fuel produced.

The other two cost components – extraction and transesterification – appear to be fairly reasonable and are comparable to the costs for any other biomass – less than 50 cents per gallon, together.

Based on the above, I’d agree with what some experts have said – closed systems, especially photobioreactors, are simply unlikely to make the cut in future unless someone can bring down their costs by 60-80%. Now that’s asking for something really steep.

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