Current Status and Future Program of Microalgae for Biofuel Production at TISTR, Thailand

Current Status and Future Program of Microalgae for Biofuel Production at TISTR, Thailand Aparat Mahakhant Bioscience Department Thailand Institute of...
Author: Barry Walton
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Current Status and Future Program of Microalgae for Biofuel Production at TISTR, Thailand Aparat Mahakhant Bioscience Department Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR) E-mail: [email protected]

Contents ¾ Introduction to Algae ¾ Algae as New Renewable Energy

(NRE) Feedstocks ¾ Current R&D on Biofuel from Algae at TISTR ¾ Future Program

Introduction to Algae

What are Algae ? ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾

Large, heterogeneous, polyphyletic Lack differentiated root, stem, leave Chlorophyll a- common 1o pigment Photoautotroph (CO2-fixation, O2 evolution ) N & P uptake storage starch, oil etc. Terrestrial-aquatic (fresh/brackish/ marine) Size 10-12 m (pico) to >10 m (seaweed)

This presentation focuses on “Microalgae”

Energy from Algae: History ¾


100 yr ago, oil-producing GA, Botryococcus braunii in Australiacollected & used as fuel Microalgae biofuel was mentioned over 50 yr at MIT-R&D program for algae biomass culture technology (Burlew, 1953)

Botryococcus bloom

oil droplet

Algae as NRE Feedstocks

Why Algae? ¾ High productivity: mass, starch, oil etc.

-batch/semi continuous/continuous culture -shorter time of growing/harvesting ¾ High biodiversity:10 divisions (selection) ¾ Smaller foot print & non-arable land ¾ Various kind of water (fresh/brackish/sea/waste)

Why Algae? ¾ Co-products: protein, pigment, biomass

food/feed/fertilizer etc. ¾ Co-processes: utilization of waste flue-gas CO2-fixation waste water eutrophication N, P uptake 3otreatment ¾ Food security: food crop vs. energy crop

Why Algae? Advantages of Microalgal Mass Cultivation Inexpensive & intensive cultivation systems e.g. race-way pond (opt. ot & light intensity -tropical zone all year round) ¾ Algal mass production can be 50X more productive than traditional crops ¾ C-credit-economic driver CO2-fixing rate: -microalgae 11-18 Ct/ha/yr -forest 1.1-2.5 Ct/ha/yr ¾

Microalgal Biodiesel Production Sources Soy bean Sun flower Canola Jatropha Palm oil Microalgae

Yields* (gallon/ac-yr) 50 100

Current productn (barrel/yr) >10,000,000 >1,000,000

160 200

>10,000,000 ? Some, not much

600 2,000 to ?

>10,000,000 ~0.1

*Microalgae yields projected for mid to long-term R&D, other currently achieved commercial yields (Source: Beneman, 2007)

Microalgal Oil Production Oil production (bbl/ac/yr)

Required area (acre)

Soy bean



Rape seed



Plant feedstock

Oil palm Microalgae Sources: Huntley, 2007





Opportunity from E-W Perspectives: Biofuel from Algae using Non-Freshwater Sources

Co-processes Impaired Water

Algae-Based Production of Biofuels, Co products, & Service w/ Impaired Waters


Algae Production Systems

- brackish groundwater - produced water


Ponds, PBRs*, Hybrid Systems+

- desalination concentrate

Organic Carbon

- wastewater


- Industrial wastewater - Municipal wastewater


- Geothermal water & heat Waste CO2 & Heat - Electric power generation


- Industrial processing

Biomass Harvesting

- Wastewater treatment - Desalination

Co-Products - feeds - fertilizers - biopolymers - glycerin - others

of CO2

Reclaimed Processing

Water - Nutrient removal


*PBRs = PhotoBioReactors

- biodiesel

- biogas

+ Hybrid Systems = Ponds + PBRs

- bioethanol

- H2

How Algae Become the Promising Sources for Biofuel Production? XAlgal strain with high oil (biodiesel) or high starch (bioethanol)

Y Algal strain with fast growing rate Z Algal strain growing in waste (CO2, water)

Current R&D on Biofuels from Algae at TISTR

Algal Collection & Cultivation System at TISTR ACC at TISTR ~ 1,000 strains

TISTR Algal Culture Collection (ACC) • 1,000 strains (BGA & GA) •Previous technology transferred (food, biofertilizer & soil conditioner) TISTR Cultivation System

50-500 mL

1-2 L

5,000-10,000 L

10-20 L

20-80 L

TISTR Perspectives on Algae R & D Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) ex situ conversion & sustainable utilization of algal strains ¾ Convention on Climate Change (CCC) CO2 fixation/wastewater treatment (CDM)/biofuel ¾ Convention to Combat Desertification Soil conditioner/biofertilizer ¾

Research: In-house-Contract-Grant

Bioethanol Production (in-house) Selection process ¾ Two high starch-producing strains (Hapalosiphon, Nostoc) ¾ Starch 26-30% (dw) Outdoor cultivation (Hapalosiphon) ¾ Stable at 10,000 L (50 m2 race-way pond) ¾ Biomass productivity 2.3 g/m2/d ¾ Increasing of productivity is investigated (inoculum size, medium etc.) ¾ R&D on bioethanol production by Dept. of Energy Tech. (DET), TISTR from >250 kg (fw)

Biodiesel Production (in-house) Selection process ¾ One high oil-producing strains (Nostoc) ¾

Oil ~30%

Outdoor cultivation (Nostoc) ¾ Stable at 700L (agitated pond) ¾ Biomass productivity 2.0 g/m2/d ¾ Scaling up at 5,000L (25 m2 race-way pond) is investigated ¾ R&D on biodiesel production by DET, TISTR from fresh-lyophilized-hot oven dry biomass

Utilization of Waste (Contract Research) Screening of algal strains ¾ TISTR-PTT Public Co. Ltd. CO2 - ethanol production plant ¾ TISTR-Mitr Phol Sugarcane Research Center Co. Ltd. wastewater-Mitr Phol Park (sugar & ethanol production plants) ¾ TISTR-Papop Co. Ltd wastewater-cassava flour production plant

CO2-fixation (TISTR-PTT) Selection process ¾

Selected 6/88 strains (GA 1, BGA 5 strains)

20L flat-plate PBR ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾

CO2 conc. 10-15% ↑Biomass 1.5-3.6 times C-content 40-44% Oil 11-20% (↑ CO2 oil↑) Starch 13-20% Protein 41-50% Applications: biofertilizer, soil conditioner, animal feed

Wastewater (TISTR-Mitr Phol) Selection process (Without dilution of wastewater) ¾ Selected 2/132 strains (BGA 2 strains)

20L flat-plate PBR C-content 37-39% ¾ Oil 11-17% ¾ Starch 9-12% ¾ Protein 40% ¾ Applications: animal feed, 3O treatment (N, P reduction & clarity) ¾

Wastewater (TISTR-Papop) Outdoor screening & cultivation (Without dilution of wastewater) ¾ Selected 6/132 strains (BGA 6 strains)

20L flat-plate PBR C-content 36-38% ¾ Oil 9-21% ¾ Starch 2-7% ¾ Protein 37-48% ¾ Applications: animal feed, pigment, 3O treatment (clarity) ¾

Conclusions (current status) In-house Research ¾

Selected strains -Oil 1 strain (Nostoc) -Starch 2 strains (Nostoc, Hapalosiphon) (screening process still carrying on) ¾ Engineering processes (down streams) for bioethanol & biodiesel production are available ¾ R&D on ethanol & biodiesel from algal biomass of selected strains are under investigated

Contract Research ¾

Non of selected strains from co-processes (CO2 & wastewater) showed potential on biofuel production

Future Program Thailand Network on Algae for Energy (TNAE) ¾ ¾

PTT-TISTR-BIOTEC-CU-KMUTT-MU Duration 7 yr (2010-2017)

PTT-TISTR ¾ R&D on production of oil from Botryococcus spp. (Phase I: 1.5 yr) ¾ R&D on screening & production of oil from extremophile algal strains (Phase I: 2 yr)

R&D on production of oil from Botryococcus spp. About Botryococcus ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾

Colony-forming green alga High oil producing strain (~70 %) Secretes oil droplet Very slow growth rate (td ~7 d) Easy to be overcome by other contaminated algal strains

Results from preliminary studies ¾ ¾

Optimal growth medium Outdoor flat-plate PBR -td = 4ds -duration >10 d -overcome by Chlorella

R&D on Screening & Production of Oil from Extremophile Algal Strains Extremophiles:



CO2-fixation (15%) ¾ Thermophilic =40oC (ACC) ≥70oC (hot spring) ¾ N2-fixation “Utilization of flue gas & reduction of contamination” Algal samples were collected from 21 hot springs-isolation & cultivation

Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR) 35 Mu 3 Khlong 5, Khlong Luang, Pathum Thani 12120, THAILAND Tel: (66) 2577 9198 Fax: (66) 2577 9197

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