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BT16 is the first in the Billion-Ton series to include algae in the biomass resource potential assessment. This resource assessment estimates the site-specific and national economic availability of microalgae biomass co-located with one of three CO2 sources for cultivation-coal-fired power plants, natural gas power plants, or ethanol production plants. Co-location reduces costs and focuses attention on appropriate technologies and locations for commercialization. All scenarios use open ponds, with examples of freshwater and saline water use. The following are key results from chapter 7, "Microalgae".


Simulated algae farms co-located with CO2 sources are distributed across the country. Algae production depends on many source and pond variables that can be selected here. Minimum prices for potential algae production with dewatering to a 20% solids content are estimated to range from $719 to $2,030 per dry ton for a freshwater strain and $755 to $2,889 per dry ton for a saltwater strain.



Users can select the cost range per dry ton to view the quantity and distribution of biomass. Maps of co-located algae farms at present productivities and future productivities are depicted for three types of ponds.


Cumulative total potential algal biomass varies by co-location strategy, freshwater or saltwater media, full or minimal liner, and present or future productivity.



Table 7.11: Summary of Biomass potential from Co-Location (million tons/year) with CO2 in Open Ponds Using Chlorella sorokiniana (example freshwater strain) or Nannochloropsis salina (example saline strain)

Scenario Ethanol Plant Coal EGU Natural gas EGU Totala Range of minimum prices per dry tonb
Present productivities, freshwater media 12 19 15 <46 $719-$2,030
Present productivities, saline media 10 54 32 <86 $755-$2,899
Future productivities, freshwater media 12 10 0 <23 $490-$1,327
Future productivities, saline media 11 12 0 <24 540-$2,074

aTotals are uncertain because analyses of different co-location sources were run independently; therefore, some production facilities that are close to multiple CO2 sources may be double-counted

bFor Nannochloropsis salina, the range of minimum selling prices includes both minimally lined ponds and lined ponds. For Chlorella sorokiniana, the range of minimum selling prices includes only minimally lined ponds