A vast array of algae eco-products for global markets
Most people have no idea how many everyday products contain algae. Algae is a primary or secondary ingredient in thousands of products for food, feed, color, nutraceutical, medicinal, personal care, biofertilizer, fine chemical, biofuel. Even more innovative algae based products are coming.
In the past few years, more than a billion US dollars have flowed into algae ventures from private capital, governments and oil companies. They are spending on R&D to develop commercial biofuels from algae.
The opportunity: fast growing algae is 20 time more productive per land area than terriestrial crops, and does not compete with food crops. The challenge: algae production systems are more expensive to build and operate, so algae biofuel costs a lot more than fossil fuel.
To offset higher capital and operating costs, biofuel ventures are looking to develop and market other valuable products from algae. If algae biomass is 25% oil content for biofuels, the remaining portion may contain valuable co-products for other markets. Thousands of types of algae are now being screened to evaluate which ones have the highest potential value of all components including biofuels. If companies develop revenue streams from multiple algae products covering 50% or more of production costs, biofuel from algae may become more cost competitive. In the meantime, discoveries from this big investment will launch many new innvovative algae products.