Argonne releases new method for measuring GHG emissions for algae

March 29, 2012 |

In Illinois, researchers from Argonne National Laboratory have identified a better way to analyze GHG emissions in algae using GREET, a tool for the life-cycle analysis of energy use and emissions in transportation systems. The baseline scenario produced 55 400 g CO2 equivalent per million BTU of biodiesel compared to 101 000 g for low-sulfur petroleum diesel.

The analysis considered the potential for greenhouse gas emissions from anaerobic digestion processes commonly used in algal biofuel models. The work also studied alternative scenarios, e.g., catalytic hydrothermal gasification, that may reduce these emissions. The analysis of the nitrogen recovery step from lipid-extracted algae (residues) highlighted the importance of considering the fate of the unrecovered nitrogen fraction, especially that which produces N2O, a potent greenhouse gas with global warming potential 298 times that of CO2.

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