This project uses technology modeling and life cycle assessment to characterize the systems-level environmental implications of producing algal fuels and bioproducts.
Algae are a potentially bountiful feedstock for bio-products and biofuels, but as a nascent technology, the environmental impacts of large scale cultivation and processing need to be assessed. This project has two parts - one is to examine different technological options for algae cultivation and processing and to test different combinations for their environmental performance. The second is to gather existing life cycle assessment studies of algae that report a wide range of energy and green house gas results, and to undertake a meta-analysis in order harmonize the studies and look for central tendencies. This enables a meaningful discussion of actual technological difference among systems, which were previously obscured by the wide range of modeling assumptions and system boundaries considered.