For the basis of this economic illustration, a crude algae oil production capacity of 211 mtpa will be used.
This corresponds to a volumetric capacity of 250m litres per annum (740000 litres per day) Assuming a crude algae oil price of £350 GBP/te, the annual production represents 273.9m GBP/year
Assuming the algae oil attracts a premium equivalent to the RTFO 'Buy-Out' price of 30p/ litre, this corresponds to additional revenue of 275.8m GBP/year, As such total revenue for the algae oil is £149.7m GBP/year.
The Capital Cost of a full-scale commercial plant of this capacity is estimated to cost in the region of £30m GBP.
The electrical requirement for the operation of the Photo-Bio-Reactor and associated equipment is 70MWh.
Similar to biofuels, which utilise agricultural feedstock (for example wheat and corn based ethanol or oil seed based biodiesel), in the event that the resultant algal oil is refined into transport fuels, the fuel should be eligible for government support (UK only) from the receipt of RTFC (Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation) certificates, although as no commercial facility exists in the UK, algal biofuels are not currently named as 'known renewable fuels).
However, unlike biofuels derived from agricultural feedstocks (wheat, corn, oil seed rate etc.), algae can be grown on marginal land (unsuitable for farming) and so there is no conflict with 'food or fuel'. As such transport fuels derived from algae are defined as advanced biofuels (commonly called second or third generation biofuels).
For the purpose of the financial illustration, it has been assumed that the algal oil generated by the system will be sold at a value equivalent to the crude oil price (as the oil will be supplied bulk for downstream refining by others) and also attract a premium equivalent to the Renewable Transport Fuel certificate 'Buy-Out' price, which is currently 30 pence per litre.
The equivalent utility scale bio plants will deliver Crude Oil at Circa $40 USD per Barrel.