In Australia the announcement of a $30 million seawater pipeline to support algae cultivation for the production of biofuel, Omega-3 and protein products is a good example of what kind of infrastructure development will be necessary as more algae companies ramp up production.
The pipeline in Australia is going to support Aurora Algae’s facilities, one of the largest algae companies operating in Australia, but could easily support others in the industry as well.
This type of infrastructure may only be the tip of the iceberg, and demonstrates the kind of economic development, and jobs, that the algae industry will spur as the science of growing algae becomes a commercial reality.
Since algae can be grown in saltwater or waste water (no freshwater required!) there will be a need to build the pipelines and processing facilities to bring that water to algae farms.
Other infrastructure will be required to move carbon dioxide, perhaps from fossil fuel power plants, to be consumed by algae at newly built farms. All of this will require enormous contributions from the construction trades and from the technical staff needed to run the growth and harvesting operations.
The algae industry is not a venue for highly trained researchers alone. Like any energy industry it will require a range of talent from skilled labor to transportation and shipping, to business development and trading and finance. And since the feedstock inputs don’t have to be imported, almost all of these jobs will remain in the country in which algae farms are built.
Many of these positions are already here, but given the dramatic potential of algae to sustainably provide so many products and services, we are likely only seeing the beginning of a large future workforce.