An economic analysis of bioethanol production from the marine macroalga Ulva (Chlorophyta)

L Korzen, Yoav Peled, Shiri Zemah Shamir, Mordechai Shechter, Aharon Gedanken, A Abelson, Alvaro Israel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We performed a cost-benefit analysis for bioethanol production using biomass of Ulva rigida, a marine macroalga (seaweed), co-cultured with fish in an intensive offshore aquaculture unit. This is the first report for such analysis that takes into consideration offshore seaweed cultivation and uses a recently developed, novel and simplified ethanol production technology that is devoid of costly pre-treatments imposed to the seaweed biomass. By simultaneously producing ethanol with valuable Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS) by-products such as animal feed, the economic viability of this system is plausible over a production range of 77–240 dry tons of seaweed per day. As such, applying the model to suggested future scenarios for the Israeli Mediterranean shorelines, which limits aquaculture to ca. 600 ha, results in unprofitability. Further, sensitivity analyses place profitability as mainly dependent on DDGS prices and on the daily growth rate (biomass yield) of the macroalga. These two are key factors to achieve profitability at the 600-ha scenario.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-118
Number of pages5
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2015


  • Bioethanol
  • Economic Analysis
  • Seaweed
  • Ulva


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