Why arent we rushing in to grow algae as a biomass ? 12Thanks to Aathmika for the post by two profs from Netherlands.
Not only was it very insightful, it makes me think that the world is opening upto growing algae in a large scale soon. Why wait for 10 to 15 years ?
As per the Profs, there are about 5000 Tonnes of algae (dry) that are currently produced at a price / cost of Euro 250 /kg.
That is mostly because the algae now produced are largely used for expensive nutraceuticals like Carotenoids and omega 3 fatty acids and other food supplements.
Remember that the latest investor in Solazyme is a food ingredient giant from Japan, called San-ei Gen.
The current costs are prohibhitive for the objective of growing algae to make fuel.
Palm oil costs approximately, Euro 0.50 per kg. But as we know and as the authors say, palm oil is controversial. So are many other oils which puts us back to the food vs fuel debate.
The professors carried out a scale enhancement study and concluded that the cost of algae grown in such large scale methods can cost as low as Euro 4 per kg.
By making use of residues such as wastewater and CO2, from exhaust gases, by improving the technology and by shifting countries with more sunshine, the price can be brought down to Euro 0.40 per kg.
Even at Euro 0.40/kg, it is financially unviable to make bio fuel from algae.
Viability can be achieved only by the co products.
One needs to use the entire biomass.
That consists of roughly 50 % oil ( 40 cents per kg), 40 % protein ( Euro 1.2 per kg) and finally sugars ( Euro 1 per kg).
Thus if you take the cost of all that are available in the biomass that is grown, the cost works out to Euro 1.65 per kg)
At a price of Euro 1.65 /kg for the algae bio mass, it can be grown in large scale.
DOEs estimated cost of biomass is about 50 to 60 dollars per tonne. Let us assume the price be 100 dollars.
Per kg it works out to be 10 US cents. Pittance. So, what is preventing people from rushing into the algae as a biomass race ? Login to Post a Comment