Since 2006 there has been an explosion in government, university and private-sector industry interest in algae as a renewable fuel. This is manifested in the form of millions of dollars of investment in research programs.
Algae are simple plants that can range from the microscopic (microalgae), to large seaweeds (macroalgae), such as giant kelp more than one hundred feet in length. Individual species number in the tens of thousands. Having evolved over billions of years, these organisms generate energy and nutrient rich oils more efficiently than any other known natural or engineered process.
A much broader, presently untapped market opportunity exists in the transportation fuels industry. Investigation of the potential to convert algae into biofuels has witnessed an investment boom during the past decade. Private investment since 2000 is estimated to exceed US$2billion whilst US Government agencies have committed in the order of US$300million1.
These research and development efforts have seen algae-based fuels power passenger aircraft flights, navy vessels, and vehicles on a demonstration basis. However further investment is required to deliver technology capable of supporting commercial production.
Current trends in higher oil prices, continuing escalation of fossil fuel consumption, the depletion rate, advances in technology development and governments’ increased focus on global warming and renewable fuels have attracted new interest in algae as a potentially rich source of sustainable biofuels.The Benefits of Algae as a renewable fuel source are significant:
These benefits highlight the primary drivers and provide the basis for Algae.Tec's business strategy