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Assessment of the Technological Development and Economic Potential of Photobioreactos

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Author Info

  • Holtermann, Timm

    ()
    (Institut für Textiltechnik, RWTH Aachen University)

  • Madlener, Reinhard

    ()
    (E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN))

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the technological development and economic potential of the photobioreactor (PBR) technology for energy purposes, i.e. production of hydrogen or biofuels. The approach adopted is to consider the technology, its expected costs and revenues, and related risks from an investor perspective. To this end we develop an investment model that is used to calculate the economic feasibility of PBRs for different scenarios, including a best-case scenario, with plenty of sunlight and water, inexpensive nutrients, high prices for hydrogen and biomass, and low other costs. The best-case scenario is compared to a scenario with less favorable boundary conditions. We find that PBR efficiencies will likely be less than 10%, with typical values between 1.8-5.6%. We also find that hydrogen production costs would be lower than those for biodiesel or biogas from solid biomass produced in PBRs. Compared to biofuels from traditional agriculture there is a great advantage for the PBR technology if land is scarce, because land is used more efficiently. Since PBRs can be designed as a closed system they can be applied in very dry regions. In the long term this might enable this promising concept to penetrate the energy supply market.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN) in its series FCN Working Papers with number 8/2009.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ris:fcnwpa:2009_008

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Keywords: photosynthesis; economics; technology; analysis; algae; bioenergy; hydrogen; market forecast; land use;

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Cited by:
  1. Rohlfs, Wilko & Madlener, Reinhard, 2013. "Challenges in the Evaluation of Ultra-Long-Lived Projects: Risk Premia for Projects with Eternal Returns or Costs," FCN Working Papers 13/2013, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  2. Sorda, Giovanni & Madlener, Reinhard, 2012. "Cost-Effectiveness of Lignocellulose Biorefineries and their Impact on the Deciduous Wood Markets in Germany," FCN Working Papers 8/2012, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  3. Rohlfs, Wilko & Madlener, Reinhard, 2012. "Assessment of Clean-Coal Strategies: The Questionable Merits of Carbon Capture-Readiness," FCN Working Papers 18/2012, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  4. Palmer, Johannes & Sorda, Giovanni & Madlener, Reinhard, 2013. "Modeling the Diffusion of Residential Photovoltaic Systems in Italy: An Agent-based Simulation," FCN Working Papers 9/2013, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  5. Hackbarth, André & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Consumer Preferences for Alternative Fuel Vehicles: A Discrete Choice Analysis," FCN Working Papers 20/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  6. Rohlfs, Wilko & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Multi-Commodity Real Options Analysis of Power Plant Investments: Discounting Endogenous Risk Structures," FCN Working Papers 22/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  7. Achtnicht, Martin & Madlener, Reinhard, 2012. "Factors Influencing German House Owners' Preferences on Energy Retrofits," FCN Working Papers 4/2012, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  8. Bruns, Stephan B. & Gross, Christian, 2013. "What if energy time series are not independent? Implications for energy-GDP causality analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 753-759.
  9. Michelsen , Carl Christian & Madlener, Reinhard, 2013. "Switching from Fossil Fuel to Renewables in Residential Heating Systems: An Empirical Study of Homeowners’ Decisions in Germany," FCN Working Papers 14/2013, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  10. Rohlfs, Wilko & Madlener, Reinhard, 2013. "Optimal Power Generation Investment: Impact of Technology Choices and Existing Portfolios for Deploying Low-Carbon Coal Technologies," FCN Working Papers 12/2013, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  11. Bernstein, Ronald & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Responsiveness of Residential Electricity Demand in OECD Countries: A Panel Cointegation and Causality Analysis," FCN Working Papers 8/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  12. Kraas, Birk & Schroedter-Homscheidt, Marion & Pulvermüller, Benedikt & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Economic Assessment of a Concentrating Solar Power Forecasting System for Participation in the Spanish Electricity Market," FCN Working Papers 12/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  13. Michelsen, Carl Christian & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Homeowners' Preferences for Adopting Residential Heating Systems: A Discrete Choice Analysis for Germany," FCN Working Papers 9/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  14. Harmsen - van Hout, Marjolein & Ghosh, Gaurav & Madlener, Reinhard, 2013. "An Evaluation of Attribute Anchoring Bias in a Choice Experimental Setting," FCN Working Papers 6/2013, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  15. Ghosh, Gaurav & Shortle, James, 2012. "Managing Pollution Risk through Emissions Trading," FCN Working Papers 1/2012, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  16. Dergiades, Theologos & Madlener, Reinhard & Christofidou, Georgia, 2012. "The Nexus between Natural Gas Spot and Futures Prices at NYMEX: Do Weather Shocks and Non-Linear Causality in Low Frequencies Matter?," FCN Working Papers 17/2012, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN), revised Sep 2013.
  17. Hackbarth, André & Madlener, Reinhard, 2013. "Willingness-to-Pay for Alternative Fuel Vehicle Characteristics: A Stated Choice Study for Germany," FCN Working Papers 20/2013, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  18. Michelsen, Carl Christian & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Homeowners' Motivation to Adopt a Residential Heating System: A Principal-Component Analysis," FCN Working Papers 17/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN), revised Jan 2013.
  19. Harmsen - van Hout, Marjolein & Ghosh, Gaurav & Madlener, Reinhard, 2013. "The Impact of Green Framing on Consumers’ Valuations of Energy-Saving Measures," FCN Working Papers 7/2013, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).

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