Algae biodiesel is a promising but expensive alternative fuel to petro-diesel. To overcome cost barriers, detailed cost analyses are needed. A decade-old cost analysis by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory indicated that the costs of algae biodiesel were in the range of $0.53–0.85/L (2012 USD values). However, the cost of land and transesterification were just roughly estimated. In this study, an updated comprehensive techno-economic analysis was conducted with optimized processes and improved cost estimations. Latest process improvement, quotes from vendors, government databases, and other relevant data sources were used to calculate the updated algal biodiesel costs, and the final costs of biodiesel are in the range of $0.42–0.97/L. Additional improvements on cost-effective biodiesel production around the globe to cultivate algae was also recommended. Overall, the calculated costs seem promising, suggesting that a single step biodiesel production process is close to commercial reality.
- Techno-economic analysis