The promise of algae biofuels October 2009

To properly assess algae biofuels, there is a need to see the big picture—to develop the full life cycle of algae-to-biofuel production and analyze all potential impacts. This is especially important for a technology that we hope will contribute on a meaningful scale to meeting our transportation energy needs.
This report provides an overview of the potential positive and negative environmental externalities of algae biofuel processes and technologies. In doing so, we hope to provide a methodology and logic that can be used in the future to analyze all inputs and outputs associated with every potential process in an algae-to-biofuel production pathway. Specifically, the report identifies key environmental issues to be considered across all stages of an algae biofuel production; proposes a mapping framework for these algae-to-biofuel pathways; summarizes what is known and unknown about the potential environmental impacts of each algae-to-biofuel process; and identifies areas of future research need and recommends policy and industry actions to improve the environmental sustainability of the industry and its fuel production practices.

By: Terrapin Bright Green LLC, Natural Resources Defense Council