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Another key point is that, in a large majority of scenarios, the economic viability of the pathway relies on the valorisation of what one usually calls co-products. Valorisation of co-products is not considered a valid option in the long-term as no market identified today could absorb the quantities associated to a new fuel market. Besides, environmental studies have demonstrated that the energetic balance was not favourable at present, based on current processes, but the variation range of the results let some space for significant improvements.
The balance of greenhouse gas emissions was favourable, and there also the variation range was very wide. As regards the other environmental impact categories, however, the uncertainties are too great to draw any conclusions. Because of the heterogeneity of approaches and results for the development of the algaepathway, we must bear in mind that without reliable and robust assessments of these sectors it will not be possible to direct their technical development sustainably.
Macroalgae as a resource for biofuels production are very far from being a commercial reality, but do present some advantages such, for green algae, exhibiting several similarities with current GI and G2 feedstock, being producers of starch and unlignified cellulose. Nevertheless, they also contain other specific compounds. Red and brown macroalgae are currently the most produced species, but their composition calls for the development of new transformation processes.
Although technically feasible at lab-scale, the economic viability of such processes is being endangered by the complexity of the processes involved and the numerous steps required as well as by non-technical issues such as competition with other markets like green chemistry. To have a true share of the future fuel mix, macroalgae production needs to be increase by a dozen- time fold.
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This increase should not be done without social acceptance or at the expenses of the environment. This issue was adressed for microalgae, but data on macroalgae are currently lacking to be able to conduct Life Cycle Assessment LCA on this very specific environment. There are also additional problems to be taken into account, such as the lack of legislation or conflicts of usage with existing sea activities for example. Potential for high tonnage production seems real, but the challenge is to federate existing actors and new ones to build a new agro-industry.
As a conclusion, no true leveraging option, leading to significant breakthroughs has really emerged as a short term solution, but wide spaces for significant improvement could be envisaged and more laboratory and pilot works have to be achieved before being able to move to a higher scale, leading to the first step toward industrial production.
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Pour les autres aspects environnementaux, les incertitudes sont trop grandes pour conclure. Data correspond to usage on the plateform after The current usage metrics is available hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days. IFP Energies nouvelles, 68 5 Abstract. Table of Contents.
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