Date of Award

Fall 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil & Environmental Engineering

Committee Director

Sandeep Kumar

Committee Member

Ben J. Stuart

Committee Member

Mujde Erten-Unal


Process simulation and techno-economic analysis of 95wt.% protein concentrate from microalgae has been performed using SuperPro Designer v. 9.0. This work, first of its kind, is focused on the economic analysis of protein concentrate that includes processes such as microalgae cultivation, harvesting, protein extraction and drying steps. A baseline capacity of 160 MT/day protein concentrate production on commercial basis has been analyzed. This throughput requires 336 MT/day dry algae (54 wt.% protein). The amount of carbon dioxide required to grow this quantum of algae is estimated to be 648 MT/day, which is produced from an in situ 21 MW power plant run by approximately 12 MT/h natural gas (methane).

The economic feasibility study has been performed for the entire process. It became clear that decreasing the amount of water of the microalgae biomass slurry to the flash hydrolyzer reduces the fixed capital investment (FCI) and the annual operating cost (AOC). The baseline production of protein concentrate reveals the following results: FCI: $264 million; AOC: $145 million; capital recovery: $180 million/year for 15 years; unit cost of production: $2.86/kg protein depending on the algae slurry density; minimum selling price: $4.13/kg protein; power requirement: 19.5 MW; Land requirement: 7177 acres; water: 15576 MT/day (4.1MGD).

Further analysis revealed that the major contributors to the financial statue of this work is contingent on the algae slurry going to the flash hydrolysis, protein content of the microalgae, pond depth for algae cultivation, and algae productivity.


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