Don’t get caught at a holiday office party or family gathering without these notes on the latest developments in the algae industry! If you run into any skeptics this season, you can report confidently that 2013 was the year that algae accomplished more firsts than ever before:
Heliae opened its first commercial facility in Gilbert, Arizona, and plans further expansion in 2014. Heliae has purchase agreements already in place for the algae-based nutraceutical, personal care and other products the facility will produce.
For those that suspect algae are not ready to supply enough fuels, I point to the announcement from Algenol that their direct-to-ethanol technology is achieving annual fuel yields approaching 10,000 gallons per acre. That figure includes a range of fuels-ethanol, gasoline, aviation and diesel fuels. Algenol is now planning its first commercial facility in Florida.
For those that suspect the fossil fuel industry is skeptical, point to Sapphire Energy’s partnerships this year made with Tesoro and Phillips 66. Sapphire Energy began producing Green Crude oil from its algae farm in New Mexico just last year, and already big oil companies are seeing algae as a pathway to the future.
Cellana piled on the trend of attracting big partnerships by inking a multi-year, commercial scale off-take agreement with Neste Oil, the world’s leading supplier of renewable diesel.
Don’t forget to bring up BioProcess Algae‘s cultivation operation in Iowa, using the CO2 from an ethanol plant to produce algae-derived nutraceuticals, fish meal, fish oil replacements and fuels. Iowa’s legislature was impressed enough to pass bipartisan legislation supporting the algae industry.
Internationally, the Japanese Algae Industry Incubation Consortium coordinated with ABO as it began to look at how algae can help diversify Japan’s energy economy and provide a sustainable and safe alternative to nuclear energy.
And don’t forget to toss in a few of the incredible research and collaboration breakthroughs of the past 12 months: algae has been used to more efficiently produce cancer fighting medicine, fight malaria and capture carbon.
These are all new developments during 2013, all steps forward, and all signs that algae technology is going to continue to revolutionize production of many of the goods we consume each day.
We have a lot to celebrate as 2013 comes to a close! Best wishes in spreading the good news.