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Non-technical Issues to Consider in Developing Wastewater Algae Biofuel

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Algae cultivation integrated into wastewater treatment process represents a potentially low cost approach to producing biomass for biofuel. The method serves the second purpose of removing nutrients from wastewater. The feasibility of technology is assumed. The paper addresses “non-technical” issues which are often equally important as the technology itself in determining whether a biofuel industry based on wastewater algae can be developed. Biofuels; biodiesel, corn ethanol, and cellulosic ethanol were analyzed in terms of volume goals set forth for each type of biofuel by Expanded Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS2). The analysis indicated that supply of biomass may be insufficient to meet the RFS2 goal of 36 billion gallons of by 2022. While algae cultivation has been focused on oil for conversion to biodiesel, the use of algae biomass for conversion to ethanol via fermentation is perhaps more financially attractive, particularly for wastewater grown algae.
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Keywords: Algae; IAC; POTWs; RFS; RFS2; biodiesel; biomass; cellulosic ethanol; cultivation; ethanol; nutrients

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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