|“Certain food-based biofuels like biodiesel have always been a bad idea. Others like corn ethanol have served a useful purpose and essentially are obsoleting themselves.”|
A realistic path: Energetic efficient and Economic viable
- First of all, microalgae biofuel are liquid hydrocarbon-based fuel product. Unfortunately, sole fuel product, either autotrophic (inorganic carbon-based) or heterotrophic (sugar-based) is NOT GOING TO WORK, at least for this decade. Cost of resources and human labor overwhelms the revenue that is collected from fuel product. Furthermore, solid residual which are left after harvest process will become a stinky waste which costs to be processed.
Figure 1. Comparison of world sugar and crude oil prices
- However, liquid fuel are critical to the human society, due to the inevitable use of aviation fuel and existing petrochemical industry. Realistically, fuel product combined with animal & aquaculture feed can be sold at more than 5 times than oil sales.
For example, we collected 15% hydrocarbon from 30% cellular hydrocarbon per cell dry weight after subcritical hydrothermal liquefaction or solid-state organic extraction, leaving 50% protein per cell dry weight at least can be further processed into feedstock. Animal and aquaculture can be sold at 3-4 folds than liquid fuel product per weight.
Figure 2. Example of microalgae cell dry weight content.
- We believe that a successful business model for microalgae is comprised of two paths: long-term, large volume liquid fuel and animal & aquaculture feedstock combinational production; short-term, transitional high value products.