Some interesting news from a state that has shown serious interest over the years in cultivating a robust algae industry: Figures from a recent CleanTech Group announcement show that high-tech algae farming is attracting a big portion of the cleantech investing in Arizona.
The press release notes that clean technology venture investment in Arizona during 2013 totaled $88,202,732. In the breakout of the big companies attracting investment there is mention of Heliae‘s $28,400,000 from Salim Group, The Mars Family, and Thomas J. Edelman. That means algae attracted almost one third of Arizona’s clean technology investing in 2013.
Heliae is an algae company making great strides. They opened their first commercial facility in Gilbert, Arizona last fall, and plan 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.
Heliae’s innovation and hard work accounts for much of their success, but Arizona is also far along in developing a supportive ecosystem for the algae industry. In 2012 the Arizona legislature passed bipartisan changes to the tax code that put algae cultivators on more equal footing with other farmers, and the research communities at Arizona State and the University of Arizona are making enormous contributions.
We’ll be watching to see the big steps Arizona can make in 2014, and how other states stack up as more algae companies expand and march toward commercial production.