Microalgae Production from Power Plant Flue Gas: .Microalgae Production from Power Plant Flue Gas:

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  • Microalgae Production fromPower Plant Flue Gas:Environmental Implications ona Life Cycle Basis

    June 2001 NREL/TP-510-29417

    Kiran L. Kadam

    National Renewable Energy Laboratory1617 Cole BoulevardGolden, Colorado 80401-3393NREL is a U.S. Department of Energy LaboratoryOperated by Midwest Research Institute Battelle Bechtel

    Contract No. DE-AC36-99-GO10337

  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory1617 Cole BoulevardGolden, Colorado 80401-3393NREL is a U.S. Department of Energy LaboratoryOperated by Midwest Research Institute Battelle Bechtel

    Contract No. DE-AC36-99-GO10337

    June 2001 NREL/TP-510-29417

    Microalgae Production fromPower Plant Flue Gas:Environmental Implications ona Life Cycle Basis

    Kiran L. KadamPrepared under Task No. DO11.4010

  • NOTICE

    This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United Statesgovernment. Neither the United States government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees,makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy,completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or representsthat its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercialproduct, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarilyconstitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States government or anyagency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflectthose of the United States government or any agency thereof.

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    Table of Contents

    Executive Summary ............................................................................................................................ 1Background.................................................................................................................................................. 1

    Key LCA Results ......................................................................................................................................... 1

    Conclusion .................................................................................................................................................... 2

    1 Introduction................................................................................................................................. 32 Microalgae Production ................................................................................................................ 4

    2.1 CO2 Recovery.................................................................................................................................. 4

    Resource Assessment................................................................................................................................... 5

    3 Project Scope ............................................................................................................................... 53.1 Study Objective............................................................................................................................... 5

    3.2 Life Cycle Assessment Principles .................................................................................................. 5

    3.3 Methodology.................................................................................................................................... 73.3.1 Functional Unit ........................................................................................................................................... 73.3.2 Definition of System Boundaries................................................................................................................ 73.3.3 Interpretation: Life Cycle Impact Assessment........................................................................................... 8

    4 Scoping Options and Decisions .................................................................................................. 84.1 Project Parameters ......................................................................................................................... 9

    4.1.1 General System Boundaries........................................................................................................................ 94.1.2 Environmental Issues Considered............................................................................................................... 94.1.3 Geographical Scope .................................................................................................................................. 124.1.4 Temporal Scope ........................................................................................................................................ 13

    4.2 Product Parameters...................................................................................................................... 134.2.1 Scenarios................................................................................................................................................... 134.2.2 Functional Unit ......................................................................................................................................... 13

    4.3 Process Parameters ...................................................................................................................... 13

    4.4 LCA-Specific Parameters ............................................................................................................ 144.4.1 Allocation Rules ....................................................................................................................................... 14

    4.5 Summary of Scoping Decisions and Approaches....................................................................... 14

    5 Life Cycle Modeling .................................................................................................................. 155.1 LCA Software ............................................................................................................................... 15

    5.2 CO2-to-Algae Processes................................................................................................................ 155.2.1 Gas Delivery ............................................................................................................................................. 165.2.2 MEA Process ............................................................................................................................................ 165.2.3 Algae Drying ............................................................................................................................................ 165.2.4 Data Summary for CO2-to-Algae Processes ............................................................................................. 17

    5.3 Electricity Production .................................................................................................................. 18

    5.4 Steam Production ......................................................................................................................... 18

    5.5 CO2 Accounting ............................................................................................................................ 19

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    6 Data Quality and Sources ......................................................................................................... 196.1 Data Sources.................................................................................................................................. 19

    6.2 Data Quality .................................................................................................................................. 19

    7 Results and Discussion ............................................................................................................. 207.1 Presentation of Results................................................................................................................. 20

    7.2 Time-Space Implications of Emissions ....................................................................................... 20

    7.3 Life Cycle Energy Balance........................................................................................................... 21

    7.4 LCI for Coal Firing versus Coal/Algae Cofiring: Direct Injection Process ............................ 227.4.1 Resource Depletion................................................................................................................................... 227.4.2 Air Pollutants ............................................................................................................................................ 227.4.3 Waste Generation...................................................................................................................................... 227.4.4 Energy Consumption and GHGs ............................