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Familiarity with a variety of existing production facility designs

Production facility design is undergoing rapid evolution. For some types of design, each manufacturer has developed an approach that may be unique for its needs. Much experience with these designs is proprietary. While experience with traditional open pond designs of the raceway approach is significant, those that involve advance photobioreactor or other non-traditional designs have little history of safe use. Thus, for both traditional and advanced facilities, an analysis should be made about their probability of failure, based on existing experience.

It may be expected that the production technology will develop rapidly with increasing success and needs. This includes both facility and organism design. It may be expected that new techniques will evolve for the genetic engineering of algae in order to make production more efficient. A thorough understanding of the effects of these technical advancements on potential risks associated with their use needs to be established concomitantly with the understanding of the effects of the advancements on improvements in production.


  • 1.
  • 2. Presented to the National Research Council Committee for Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels, 17 March 2011.
  • 3. “Comprehensive Environmental Assessment and Synthetic Biology Applications”, held at the the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC, in July 2011.


Committee on the Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels, Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Board on Energy and Environmental Systems, Division on Earth and Life Studies, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences National Research Council (2012), Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels, The National Academies Press, Washington DC.

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