Optimisation of Third Generation Algal Gaseous Biofuel

Third Generation Algal Gaseous Biofuel

Researcher: Ao Xia

T: +353 21 4901948

E: ao.xia@ucc.ie

Funding Body: Science Foundation Ireland

Programme: MaREI

Project Type: Post-Doctoral Researcher

Period: Jan 2014 – May 2015

Project Description:

Over one third of total energy consumption is associated with transport, emissions from which have led to a deleterious decrease in urban air quality. Petrol and diesel dominate energy in transport. Gaseous fuels, such as hydrogen and methane, are more efficient and cleaner and will be significant players in future transport systems. Hydrogen may be produced via dark fermentation and methane by anaerobic digestion. Algae is seen as a plentiful and sustainable source of future third generation gaseous biofuel; however there is not an agreed vision on the logistics of such a system.

The overall objective of the project is to develop clean and sustainable gaseous biofuel production from algae and surplus biomass. An optimal system is suggested which combines dark fermentation, anaerobic digestion and carbon dioxide biofixation. Biogas is upgraded to hydrogen and methane (> 97% hydrogen and methane content) through CO2 biofixation by microalgae. The microalgae, which remove CO2, are used as a substrate for biogas, forming an energy efficient closed loop system. This proposal seeks to investigate and optimise the proposed conversion from biomass supply to utilisation as transport fuel. A detailed systems analysis will assess energy and green house gas balance, the resource of the fuel and its likely cost.

Environmental Research Institute

University College Cork, Lee Road, Cork