Interest from private investors and government agencies has promoted algae and other "micro-crops" as a source of sustainable biofuels. However, this emerging and dynamic industry will require proper assessment to resolve uncertainties. Concerns of potential environmental impacts caused by commercial scale algae biofuels production include genetic modification, land-use, water quality and quantity, biodiversity and waste management at both local and landscape scale. We predict potential environmental impacts through the creation of model open system raceway pond and closed system photobioreactor systems that utilize photoautotrophic technology. Results from these systems will provide insight to inputs and outputs of algae biofuel facilities at a commercial scale, while also determining the algae biofuel industry's financial viability and subsequently pose policy recommendations to guide industry expansion.
- Aaron Assmann, MS Conservation Biology
- Amy Braun, MS Environmental Policy and Planning
- Siddharth John, MS Sustainable Systems
- Antony Lei, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems
- Sean Southard, MS Environmental Policy and Planning