While algae-based carbon capture offer the potential to provide sustainable solutions for alternative biofuels and CO2 mitigation, important challenges must be overcome to make them cost-effective and economically sustainable. • Carbon life-cycle analysis
Unlike terrestrial crops that have been cultivated and harvested for centuries, the infrastructure and knowledge needed to cultivate and harvest algae using industrial processes is in a pre-commercial stage of development. Within the discipline of plant biotechnology, algal research is one of the least explored fields and industrial-scale algae energy systems will benefit greatly from intense R&D efforts.
Though intermittent investments and progress has been made in recent decades, the potential of algae energy systems has yet to be fully realized and recycling carbon through industrial or agricultural algae energy systems that simultaneously produce biofuels is a relatively new concept.
Clearly-defined goals and significant, well-managed and critical investments are needed in the following areas:
• CO2 delivery and conditioning
• Integration and systems engineering
• Strain optimization and optimization
• Energy and water use
• Algal areal and volumetric productivity
• Cultivation system design
• Synthetic biology
• Downstream processing
• Value-added co-products development
The challenges of algae-based CO2 capture are explained in the subsequent pages.
Peer reviewed research articles