Life-cycle assessment of energy production from algae: removal of emerging contaminants from wastewater

Harris, James W., Chemical Engineering, University of Virginia
Peterson, Lisa, EN-CEE, University of Virginia
Norton, Peter D., School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia

As the United States works to reduce carbon emissions and seek energy independence, alternative forms of energy are receiving increasing attention and scrutiny. Some emerging industries such as solar energy, wind energy, and corn ethanol have flourished under this pressure while others have yet to be deployed at appreciable scale (DOE, 2010; EIA, 2007). Growth of the lesser-used technologies has been inhibited by concerns about their safety, net energy use, and environmental effects as well as several policy factors. Examining the net energy use of emerging alternative energy technologies and how policy factors have limited their development will allow for better implementation and faster growth of these technologies.
One proposed alternative energy source is algae grown in wastewater. The life cycle energy use for many algae to energy systems has been shown to be net consuming, meaning more energy is consumed than is produced. If algae can remove emerging contaminants from wastewater effluent, the outlook for algae to energy life cycle energy use will improve.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Alternative energy sources, Algae
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