BioEconomy with Algae – Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of an Algae-based Biorefinery
25th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition , 1/2017
The viability of using microalgae for energy production depends on the overall sustainability (environmental, economic, social). The project FUEL4ME applies a life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) providing scientific indicators for economic (e.g. operational costs, investment cost, trade effects, effects on employment), environmental (global warming potential, cumulated primary energy demand, land use) and social aspects (e.g. regional cooperations, product responsibility, labour practices) of an algae-based biorefinery (production of biofuels and PUFAs). Climate change impacts usually focus only on the bio/chemical contribution (i.e. greenhouse gases) but within FUEL4ME biophysical climate impacts due to albedo change were included in the assessment of the global warming potential. A comparison using the LCSA results of a modelled full scale commercial FUEL4ME process was made to analyse the gap between the current TRL and guiding values for TRL 9. Due to actual demonstrated state of technology (current TRL) further technology development is needed.