Smith School lifecycle study highlights importance for algae-derived biodiesel of co-product utilization and optimizing and decarbonizing every step of the supply chain

Read the full post at Green Car Congress.

Currently, algae-derived-biodiesel is up to 2.5 times as energy intensive to produce as conventional diesel, which restricts the current financial and environmental feasibility of algae production, according to a new life cycle analysis by a team from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.

However, biodiesel from advanced biomass has an inherent environmental advantage of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction that can be realized once every step of the production chain is fully optimized and decarbonized, the researchers said. In a paper published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science, the team said these steps include smart co-product utilization; decarbonization of the electricity and heat grids as well as indirect energy requirements for fertilizer; transport; and building material. Only if all these factors are taken into account is the cost of heat and electricity reduced and GHG emissions fully mitigated, they suggested.

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