10 Future Algae Trends


Seems that a number of people, and companies, are coming around to the idea that you can create a large amount of products – big money products – through one-celled microbes. The money, R&D and production money, are flowing in a number of directions.

Some facts? The United States thermoplastic industry is over 375 billion lbs per year- and the overall algae bioplastic market hit $3 billion in 2009, in addition to  expanding at a blistering 22% pace. Therefore, the moment for this technology has arrived. But bio plastics are only one of 10 algae markets set to explode.

Listed below are the best 10 trends in no particular order.


1. Bioconcrete construction supplies

Following The holiday season, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya scientists declared they’ve created and patented a form of biological cement that sustains the organic, rapid expansion of pigmented organisms.

The material is made up of a standard carbonated concrete and a magnesium phosphate cement which are covered to supply a place for the expansion and growth of specific biological microorganisms, to be precise, specific categories of microalgae, fungi, lichens and mosses. The finished façades control thermal conductivity, soaks up and decreases environmental CO2, and provides a distinctive architectural coloring and texture to structures. Can you say the beginning of algae based architecture?


2. Cosmetic components

Hardly a massive product or service, but make no mistake… it’s big business, cosmetics.

In January, Air Liquide has acquired BiotechMarine by its subsidiary SEPPIC. BiotechMarine is really a organization that focuses on the planning and promotion of bio-based, cosmetic ingredients produced from algae. BiotechMarine is situated in the western side of France, in the area of Pontrieux, and has Thirty-five workers. The purchase of BiotechMarine will supply SEPPIC with supporting skills in marine biotechnologies and plant cell culture. That is just one company, I’m seeing a LOT of algae cosmetics, face wraps, and numerous other cosmetic applications coming onto the market. This is a section of the market to watch.


3. Plastics and polyurethanes

In December, Cereplast released the commercialization of Cereplast Algae Bioplastics with the release of Biopropylene 109D.  Cereplast discovered a post-industrial algae resource, making it possible for the business to commercialize Cereplast Algae Bioplastics earlier than expected. In addition, Cereplast R&D has identified a post-industrial method that drastically minimizes the smell that’s usually natural to algae biomatter. Biopropylene 109D is an injection molding grade created with 20% post-industrial algae biomatter.

The algae biomass utilized are usually wastes from algae biofuels and nutritionals, due to manufacturing processing to remove specialized chemical compounds. In October, Dordan unveiled the first ever thermoformed trial of Algix’s algae-plastic in its 3rd Annual Bio Resin Show N Tell. The thermoformed bioplastic gets as much as 70% of its feedstock from marine bio-mass extracted from nitrogen and phosphorus-rich waste-water and mix with a variety of amounts of PE, PP, EVA, PLA, TPS, PHA etc. All of which is mumbo-jumbo for lots of different bioplastics.

Following many months of R&D, Dordan effectively thermoformed the algae-plastic, displaying the bioresin’s flexibility and utility to thermoforming.

Way back in September, Malama Composites introduced the release of the very first bio-based rigid polyurethane memory foam produced particularly for artists, sculptors and the industrial design community. When you look around at all the plastic products available to today, it is easy to see this becoming very, very, big business in the future.


4. Nutraceuticals

In January, Solarvest Bioenergy finished negotiations to obtain a 30,000 sq. ft. center in Summerville, Prince Edward Island. Solarvest has purchased the premises on a rent to own basis for $436,000 with an 8-year time period.  Solarvest is expecting the intended restoration is going to be finished in the 2nd quarter of 2013 with pilot construction to start mid to late 2013. The original industrial nutraceutical supplements are going to be created from algae strains that are producing substantial amounts of Omega-3 DHA/EPA. The Business has efficiently created clinical size amounts and is now capable of scale up manufacturing from pilot batch to industrial manufacturing.

Earlier this year, Globes claimed that UK-based Grovepoint Capital had purchased a managing involvement in Algatechnologies. The business makes a cosmeticeutical and nutritional supplement, astazanthin, from Haematococcus pluvialis, a microalgae. Based on the article, Algatechnologies is worth $50 million dollars.


5. Food compounds

Solazyme Roquette’s Almagine HL provides an option to standard fats when providing flavor, sensorial and practical advantages to the end product. Produced from microalgae, Almagine HL is a natural, eco friendly, whole food component abundant with nutritious fats and made up of protein, carbohydrate (polysaccharides, dietary fiber as well as simple sugars), emulsifiers and various micronutrients including lutein. As a multicomponent component, Almagine HL permits product designers to produce with significantly less fat and/or less egg/egg yolk.


6. Industrial symbiosis: Sahara Forest

In Qatar last December, we documented that Norwegian company Yara had joined with the Qatari government on the Sahara Forest project which will utilize solar energy and sea water to create food crops including tomatoes, cucumber, melon, fodder crops, freshwater, clean energy, salt, algae and for biofuel.The metrics? An industrial scale undertaking of 4,000 hectares could provide sufficient energy for the undertaking and export 325GWh annually along with 7,500 tons of algae oil, and hundreds of thousands of tons of foodstuff and fodder crops.

Typically, manufacturing models are arranged as a straight line procedure – moving resources straight into products, but also ending up with assorted waste-streams as a result. In organic models this kind of linear method is very seldom experienced. Microorganisms that waste resources and energy have minimal probabilities for success. The path that mother nature points technology to is obvious – technological models in which the waste materials  from one technology is employed as resource for the next.

“The Sahara Forest Project is a holistic approach for creation of local jobs, food, water, and energy, utilizing relatively simple solutions mimicking design and principles from nature,” said Frederic Hauge, founder and president of the Norwegian environmental nonprofit the Bellona Foundation.

One of the undertakings – a state-of-the-art 50 m3 algae test center – the only one of its kind in Qatar and the greater region – allows commercial-scale analysis on the growth of marine algae varieties indigenous to the Gulf and Red Sea to be utilized as nutriceuticals, biofuels, and as animal and fish fodder. Like I said before, when one of the oil-rich countries of the world start to invest in algae biofuels, what does this tell you?


7. Cultivation, harvest and processing

The unstoppable algae R&D roller coaster  continues on

In January, the US Department of Energy introduced an “Advancements in Algal Biomass Yield” Financing Program as high as $10 million to assist in unlock the possibilities of biofuels produced from algae. The capital will probably service studies targeted at improving the efficiency of algae cultivation models and establishing and proving reliable, energy-efficient, and low-cost algae harvesting and production systems, including centrifugation and extraction. The goal of the financing program is to display, at a process development unit scale of one (1) acre cultivation comparative, algal biofuel advanced yield of 2,500 gallons of biofuel feedstock (or comparative dry weight basis) per acre annually by 2018. It is a sign the US Government is getting serious about funding and developing algae biofuels.

The Biomass Technologies Office thinks this goal is a crucial milestone in cutting the price tag on algal biofuels to cost-competitive levels in order to obtaining 5,000 gallons per acre by 2022.


8. Internal products manufacturing

In January, ex- Ryanair CEO Declan Ryan joined up with financiers in assisting Aer Sustainable Energy Ltd, also known as Aer Bio. He was a director of Ryanair Holdings from August 1986 until 2004, having a number of senior management placements which includes CEO. It’s labeled as a low-cost, effective extraction operation from an organization that’s “ruthlessly focused on a technology, elegant and simple, that breaks down the cell wall to release the oils and sugars,” according at AER Bio CEO Donal Mac Nioclais.

“The Idea of trying enzymatic hydrolysis with algae is not new, but this is a modified organism, specifically optimized for this problem – to lyse the cell wall. Isn’t that the story of technology? First you have the generics, then the customized solutions.”

Back in December, Algasol claimed that it’s going to be working together with industrial equipment supplier GIAN.MAI srl for floating PhotoBioReactor (PBR) technology as they produce a 4000m2 pilot facility. The venture will afterwards scale to 20 hectares and can retrieve CO2 from conventional smoke stacks, carry out wastewater treatment, and make use of algae biomass for several purposes.

Earlier this month, Solazyme and Mitsui reported they’ve signed a $20 million multi-year contract to mutually create a collection of triglyceride oils to be utilized mainly in the oleochemical industry. The arrangement involves more improvement of Solazyme’s innovative high myristic algal oil, a priceless raw material in the oleochemical sector, along with further oils that Solazyme is creating for the oleochemical and manufacturing industries.

Product advancement is predicted to cover a multi-year time period, with periodic product or service introductions during the entire term of the joint development partnership. End use applications might incorporate green, high-performance polymer additives for plastic usages, aircraft lubricants, and toiletry and household items.

In January, Muradel’s two-year pilot algae venture have been authorized by the Whyalla City Council. The council decided to rent the project two hectares for the feedstock manufacturing tests. Muradel is a JV between Murdoch University, the University of Adelaide and non-public sector partner SQC which was introduced in 2010. The desire is that following the success of the two hectare venture with Two 20 square meter ponds that the technology will likely be scaled up to 1,000 hectares.


9. BioFuels

Algae biofuels continue to explode across the globe. No surprise there. In January, Algae.Tec declared authorization from the Australian Government for an AU$12.15 million capital repayment on Australian and offshore production outlay for the financial years 30 June 2012 to 30 June 2015. The conditions of the transaction enable a preliminary $27 million pay out on Algae.Tec technology advancements, of which in turn the Australian Government may compensate 45% or $12.15 million. The authorization is to secure the financing for a minimum of three algae bioreactor systems in Australia, Asia and the US.

In the UAE, Lootah Biofuels has joined with Singapore-based AlgaOil to create biodiesel in the region while preliminary diagnostic tests are anticipated at the start of 2013. Extensive manufacturing in the desert isn’t seen for at least 20 to 30 years, however.


10. Remediation

Earlier this month, OriginOil introduced that its Solids Out of Solution technology can help the aquaculture market lessen toxin levels and adopt algae as fish feed on a large scale. Building on its original profitable lab successes, OriginOil has decided to create a cooperative partnership with WeFeedUs, a Carlisle, Pennsylvania-based aquaculture company, to evaluate and confirm OriginOil’s proprietary water purification and algae harvesting systems for aquaculture solutions in the field.

Riggs Eckelberry, OriginOil CEO stated, “But heavy toxin levels limit growth and are unhealthy for the fish and the environment. We believe that we may be able to do something about that. We also believe that we may be able to help this industry adopt algae for feed on a much greater scale.”

In January, scientists are working with a red tide algae, dinoflagellate Karenia brevis, to boost nerve functionality in stroke patients. The group, headed by Creighton University School of Medicines’ Dr. Thomas Murray, is attempting to discover a restorative degree for the brevetoxin manufactured by the algae. In article in Kinston.com, Dr. Murray is quoted as saying, ” What we are doing is finally determining the concentration at which the brevetoxin can exert positive therapeutic effects rather than the overwhelming toxic effects.”

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