The Growth and Production of Crude Oil from Algae Using Hydrothermal Liquefaction and Catalytic Hydrothermal Liquefaction
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis report evaluates the current economic outlook of producing algal biofuels as a potential replacement for fossil fuels. The proposed design incorporates two new technologies: hydrothermal liquefaction and catalytic hydrothermal gasification. Both of these technologies provide significant advantages over other dewatering, extraction, and residual biomass processing methods that are typically considered in past models. The design also accounts for the maximal recycle of resources in the system including water, nutrients, carbon dioxide, and heat. Based on current market info, it was shown that the design is not economically feasible at this time. The plant would break even (NPV of $0 at a 40% tax rate) after 30 years if the selling price of the oil is $174 per barrel. A Monte Carlo simulation was established to monitor the effects that different operating conditions have on the commercial viability of the process. In approximately 5% of the scenarios, a positive economic outlook was found for the proposed plant. These parameters include the efficiency of the electric generator, the price of the oil, the price of electricity, the yield out of hydrothermal liquefaction, and the yield of algal biomass out of the growth raceways.
Degree ProgramHonors College