as a nutrient and power source. Clearly, high-value products are made using algae today with success. These products are small-volume applications where the value of the product, for example nutraceuticals, can be thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per tonne. Any fuel produced in addition to the high-value product could, indeed, be sold into the fuels market profitably. The available fuel is limited to the market accessible to the high-value product. Once the market for the high-value product is saturated, the economic benefit for fuel production decreases substantially. Coproduction of fuel and other products has limited potential and is not a solution to improving economics of widespread and large-scale deployment of algal biofuels.


Davis, R., A. Aden, and P.T. Pienkos. 2011. Techno-economic analysis of autotrophic microalgae for fuel production. Applied Energy 88(10):3524-3531.

DOE-EERE. (U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy). 2011. Anaerobic digestion. Available online at Accessed June 8, 2012.

Redfield, A.C. 1958. The biological control of chemical factors in the environment. American Scientist 46:205-221.

Szmant, H.H. 1989. Organic building blocks of the chemical industry. New York: Wiley.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement