What’s up with Algae now? 

July 9, 2015 |

algenol-algaeSix years after 2009’s “summer of algae”, we look at who’s doing what now, as the industry diversifies heavily into nutraceuticals in search of sustaining product revenue.

31 Algae players, what do they make now, and how are they making out?

Algae, algae, algae —  biofuels made from and by the littleist creatures in the advanced bioeconomy is back in focus this week, as the DOE puts $18M in funding into the marlet aimed at stimulating sub-$5 per gallon algae biofuels by 2019.

What are the current generation of algae technologies and companies up to? What are they making, and how are they making out, exactly? Here’s our company by company guide to 31 of the players on the scene — project developers and technology suppliers.

AlgaEnergy

AlgaEnergy is a technology-based company specialized in the field of microalgae biotechnology aiming to develop novel products derived from microalgae -nutritional, cosmetics and energetic, among others.

In February 2014, we repoirted that Spanish company AlgaEnergy plans to develop a 1 million liter biomass-powered facility to demonstrate its technology at scale for further market development in North and South America. The company will begin operating its $9.6 million facility in Arcos de la Frontera, starting with 350,000 liters and eventually ramping up to 1 million liters as is planned for Mexico.

AlgaEnergy is currently marketing products targeting the sectors of aquaculture, agriculture, food, feed, natural pigments, cosmetics, and technology and engineering, via the selling of turnkey plants. In the near future, AlgaEnergy will have developed new products for the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors, whilst at the same time, it is intensifying its researches and developments across the whole value chain towards the cost reduction, under profitability and sustainability criteria, of third generation biofuels to be used for road transport and aviation.

Algasol

Algasol Renewables has “transitioned from a technology company, owning the most coveted patent and cost efficient (CAPEX, OPEX and productivity) on algae growth systems towards becoming one of the largest algal biomass manufacturers through its daughter companies, Algasol Bangladesh Ltd and Algae Biomass Bangladesh Ltd,” the company proclaims.

Algasol announced this week that a patent for its floating PhotoBioReactor (PBR), based on density difference, has been issued in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The company’s photobioreactor technology “breaks the cost barrier and allows microalgae production to be economically viable” now, the company says. On average, Algasol notes, the “technology lowers CAPEX by 90% when compared to other growth systems, and is deployable both on land (in ponds) and in the oceans. To give you an example, 1 ha (10,000m2) of Algasol PBRs is as low as $52,500, including harvesting valves and internal aeration.”

In May, Algasol and PT Elnusa TBK announced the signing of a joint-endeavour for growing large volumes of algae biomass and sequestering larger quantities of CO2 with Algasol’s patented floating PBR technology in Indonesian territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone, EEZ.

The patent has previusly been allowed in the US and Vietname among other nations.

Algatechnologies

Algatechologies is a rapidly growing biotechnology company, specializing in the commercial cultivation of microalgae. Founded in 1998, Algatechnologies is a world leader in the production and supply of AstaPure – a premium natural astaxanthin – one of the world’s most powerful antioxidants sourced from the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis.

In January 2014, natural algae astaxanthin manufacturers Fuji Chemical Industry Co, Algatechnologies Ltd, and Cyanotech Corporation announced that they will form the “Natural Algae Astaxanthin Association,” a trade organization dedicated to educating the public and dietary supplement industry about the health benefits of Natural Astaxanthin and the major differences between sources.

These three founding members will welcome other algae-based astaxanthin producers to the Association in the near future. The association is being formed in response to the petrochemical derived synthetic astaxanthin, which is now being marketed.

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