Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2017

Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

David A. Bell

Abstract

The goal of this project was to address the environmental implications of an algae biomass system that sequesters carbon dioxide to produce economically valuable products. The Algalrithm, a theoretical company driven by reducing CO2 emissions, chose a final product based upon the results of economic analyses that considered potential carbon capture and utilization incomes, as well as the value of diverse products under various commodity pricing constraints. Many algae-based bio-products were considered before narrowing in on a specific product that would encompass the volume of typical utility-scale electricity producing plants, a wide range of future carbon costs, and the scalability of the proposed carbon utilization process. Due to the economic viability of algal-based products in prominent industries, a full analysis has led to the selection of bio-surfactants, a widely applied, high-value product. The Algalrithm's company will produce lipids that they will sell to a surfactant producing plant and a major algae cake by-product will be produced and sold as a soil amendment. As the Algalrithm moves forward based upon conclusive research and evaluations of both the economics and the unit operations, it will establish a company that is both marketable and environmentally-friendly.

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