Towards industrial products from microalgae†
Microalgae show an enormous potential as sustainable feedstock for numerous bioproducts. The current work analyzes the feasibility of business cases for different markets of products from microalgae. We perform a techno-economic evaluation of the whole process chain including cultivation, biorefinery and market exploitation for a 100 hectares facility in six locations. Our projections show a current cost per unit of dry biomass of 3.4 € kg−1 for microalgae cultivation in Spain (excluding biorefining products), with an expected reduction to 0.5 € kg−1 in ten years. A sensitivity analysis reveals the roadmap to achieve this. Production of high-value products (e.g. pigments) would be currently profitable, with a net present value of 657 M€ in 15 years. Markets aimed at food and chemical commodities require further cost reductions for cost competitiveness, reachable in the next decade.