Energy return on investment for algal biofuel production coupled with wastewater treatment

Colin M. Beal, Ashlynn S. Stillwell, Carey W. King, Stuart M. Cohen, Halil Berberoglu, Rajendra P. Bhattarai, Rhykka L. Connelly, Michael E. Webber, Robert E. Hebner

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Abstract

This study presents a second-order energy return on investment analysis to evaluate the mutual benefits of combining an advanced wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) (with biological nutrient removal) with algal biofuel production. With conventional, independently operated systems, algae production requires significant material inputs, which require energy directly and indirectly, and the WWTP requires significant energy inputs for treatment of the waste streams. The second-order energy return on investment values for independent operation of the WWTP and the algal biofuels production facility were determined to be 0.37 and 0.42, respectively. By combining the two, energy inputs can be reduced significantly. Consequently, the integrated system can outperform the isolated system, yielding a second-order energy return on investment of 1.44. Combining these systems transforms two energy sinks to a collective (second-order) energy source. However, these results do not include capital, labor, and other required expenses, suggesting that profitable deployment will be challenging.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages692-710
Number of pages19
JournalWater Environment Research
Volume84
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

biofuel
energy
wastewater treatment
Biofuels
Wastewater treatment
wastewater treatment plant
Algae
Nutrients
Personnel
transform
labor
alga
nutrient removal
analysis
energy source
material

Keywords

  • Algae
  • Algal biofuel production
  • Biofuel
  • Biological nutrient removal
  • Energy balance
  • Energy return on investment
  • Synergy
  • Wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

Beal, C. M., Stillwell, A. S., King, C. W., Cohen, S. M., Berberoglu, H., Bhattarai, R. P., ... Hebner, R. E. (2012). Energy return on investment for algal biofuel production coupled with wastewater treatment. Water Environment Research, 84(9), 692-710. DOI: 10.2175/106143012X13378023685718

Energy return on investment for algal biofuel production coupled with wastewater treatment. / Beal, Colin M.; Stillwell, Ashlynn S.; King, Carey W.; Cohen, Stuart M.; Berberoglu, Halil; Bhattarai, Rajendra P.; Connelly, Rhykka L.; Webber, Michael E.; Hebner, Robert E.

In: Water Environment Research, Vol. 84, No. 9, 2012, p. 692-710.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Beal, CM, Stillwell, AS, King, CW, Cohen, SM, Berberoglu, H, Bhattarai, RP, Connelly, RL, Webber, ME & Hebner, RE 2012, 'Energy return on investment for algal biofuel production coupled with wastewater treatment' Water Environment Research, vol 84, no. 9, pp. 692-710. DOI: 10.2175/106143012X13378023685718
Beal, Colin M. ; Stillwell, Ashlynn S. ; King, Carey W. ; Cohen, Stuart M. ; Berberoglu, Halil ; Bhattarai, Rajendra P. ; Connelly, Rhykka L. ; Webber, Michael E. ; Hebner, Robert E./ Energy return on investment for algal biofuel production coupled with wastewater treatment. In: Water Environment Research. 2012 ; Vol. 84, No. 9. pp. 692-710
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