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Cost-effectiveness analysis of algae energy production in the EU


  • Kovacevic, Vujadin
  • Wesseler, Justus


Today's society relies heavily on fossil fuels as a main energy source. Global energy demand increase, energy security and climate change are the main drivers of the transition towards alternative energy sources. This paper analyses algal biodiesel production for the EU road transportation and compares it to the fossil fuels and 1st generation biofuels. A cost-effectiveness analysis was used to aggregate private and external costs and derive the social cost of each fuel. The following externalities were internalized: emissions (GHG and non-GHG), food prices impact, pesticides/fertilizers use and security of supply. Currently the social cost of producing algal biodiesel at 52.3Â [euro]Â GJ-1 is higher than rapeseed biodiesel (36.0Â [euro]Â GJ-1) and fossil fuels (15.8Â [euro]Â GJ-1). Biotechnology development, high crude oil prices and high carbon value are the key features of the scenario where algal biodiesel outcompetes all other fuels. A substantial investment into the biotechnology sector and comprehensive environmental research and policy are required to make that scenario a reality.

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  • Kovacevic, Vujadin & Wesseler, Justus, 2010. "Cost-effectiveness analysis of algae energy production in the EU," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 5749-5757, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:10:p:5749-5757

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Adenle, Ademola A. & Haslam, Gareth E. & Lee, Lisa, 2013. "Global assessment of research and development for algae biofuel production and its potential role for sustainable development in developing countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 182-195.
    2. Dutta, Kasturi & Daverey, Achlesh & Lin, Jih-Gaw, 2014. "Evolution retrospective for alternative fuels: First to fourth generation," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 114-122.
    3. Speranza, Lais Galileu & Ingram, Andrew & Leeke, Gary A., 2015. "Assessment of algae biodiesel viability based on the area requirement in the European Union, United States and Brazil," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 406-417.
    4. Takeshita, Takayuki, 2011. "Competitiveness, role, and impact of microalgal biodiesel in the global energy future," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 88(10), pages 3481-3491.
    5. Najafi, Gholamhassan & Ghobadian, Barat & Yusaf, Talal F., 2011. "Algae as a sustainable energy source for biofuel production in Iran: A case study," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(8), pages 3870-3876.
    6. Carriquiry, Miguel A. & Du, Xiaodong & Timilsina, Govinda R., 2011. "Second generation biofuels: Economics and policies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 4222-4234, July.
    7. Chakrabarti, Mohammed Harun & Ali, Mehmood & Usmani, Jafar Nazir & Khan, Nasim Ahmed & Hasan, Diya'uddeen Basheer & Islam, Md. Sakinul & Abdul Raman, Abdul Aziz & Yusoff, Rozita & Irfan, Muhammad Fais, 2012. "Status of biodiesel research and development in Pakistan," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(7), pages 4396-4405.
    8. Chaudry, Sofia & Bahri, Parisa A. & Moheimani, Navid R., 2015. "Pathways of processing of wet microalgae for liquid fuel production: A critical review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 1240-1250.
    9. Piloto-Rodríguez, Ramón & Sánchez-Borroto, Yisel & Melo-Espinosa, Eliezer Ahmed & Verhelst, Sebastian, 2017. "Assessment of diesel engine performance when fueled with biodiesel from algae and microalgae: An overview," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 833-842.
    10. Zhu, Liandong, 2015. "Biorefinery as a promising approach to promote microalgae industry: An innovative framework," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 1376-1384.
    11. Thomassen, Gwenny & Van Dael, Miet & Lemmens, Bert & Van Passel, Steven, 2017. "A review of the sustainability of algal-based biorefineries: Towards an integrated assessment framework," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 68(P2), pages 876-887.
    12. Moslem Mousavi, Sayed & Bagheri Ghanbarabadi, Morteza & Bagheri Moghadam, Naser, 2012. "The competitiveness of wind power compared to existing methods of electricity generation in Iran," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 651-656.
    13. Kim, Jiyong & Miller, James E. & Maravelias, Christos T. & Stechel, Ellen B., 2013. "Comparative analysis of environmental impact of S2P (Sunshine to Petrol) system for transportation fuel production," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 1089-1098.
    14. Loan T. Le, 2016. "Biofuel Production in Vietnam: Cost-Effectiveness, Energy and GHG Balances," EEPSEA Research Report rr20160315, Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA), revised Mar 2016.

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