Algae production basically includes the sourcing of carbon dioxide, water, nutrients and light energy to the photosynthesis system for conversion to algae of a specific composition.
Carbon Dioxide Source
There are a number of potential carbon dioxide stackgas sources with high CO2 concentrations preferable for algae production, including power plants and energy intensive manufacturing facilities.
Water provides the critical hydrogen source for photosynthesis. Various algae species thrive in fresh water and/or high salinity water environments. Certain wastewater streams, containing high levels of nutrients, may also be effectively utilized for algae production.
The primary nutrients required for photosynthesis include nitrogen and phosphorous, sourced from conventional N/P fertilizers.
Sunlight provides the main energy source for conversion of CO2 and water into algae, generally 70% to 85% of the total energy requirements. Only the visible light portion of sunlight is useful for algae production and more specifically certain wavelengths are more efficiently absorbed.
The composition of algae product is highly dependent on the specific species utilized and the photo-synthesis operating conditions employed. Algae products contain from 45% up to 80% carbon content in the form of lipids/oils, carbohydrates, proteins and hydrocarbons.