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What’s up with Algae Now?

Submitted by on July 10, 2015 – 12:08 pmNo Comment

by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest)  … 31 Algae players, what do they make now, and how are they making out? … Here’s our company by company guide to 31 of the players on the scene — project developers and technology suppliers.


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 reported 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.


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.


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.


Algenol is commercializing its patented algae technology platform for production of ethanol and other biofuels.

Algae Systems

Algae Systems LLC completed demonstration of a new biofuel production approach in early-August jointly with Japans IHI Corporation. The process is based on the conversion of algae and wastewater to energy and clean water. A demonstration plant, located in Daphne Alabama, combines wastewater with algae to produce the worlds first energy-generating wastewater treatment process, using carbon-negative technologies. This process will yield both bio-fuel and drinking water.


In March, following successful algae growth trials, Algae.Tec commenced the expansion of its development and manufacturing facilities in Cumming, Georgia and the building of an initial small scale plant for the production of algae for the nutraceutical market. On completion, scheduled to be within 6 months, it is expected that this initial plant will produce algae at the rate of 50,000 kilos of algae per year and generate revenues of $1 million per year.


Aquafuel’s algae fuel was used to power the world’s first electric Grand Prix series showcasing zero emission technologies. Formula E’s sustainability manger Julia Pallé told BusinessGreen the championship organizers have signed a deal with U.K. startup Aquafuel to supply generators powered by glycerine, a byproduct of biodiesel that also can be produced from saltwater algae. Organizers had hoped to have 10 teams compete in 10 “ePrix” in the first season, but planned events in Rio and Mexico City have fallen through.

Working with the UK’s leading fuel company Greenergy, Aquafuel has developed new technology for the combustion of glycerine in standard diesel generators. Located in the paddock, these generators will be used at all ePrix with the sole purpose of ensuring the Formula E cars are charged quickly, safely, fairly and without producing CO2 emissions.

Using a single generator, all 40 cars can be charged from flat to full in 50 minutes and with automated precise power controls, can be relied upon to ensure no car is given additional power.

BioProcess Algae

BioProcess Algae LLC is based in Omaha, Neb. and is currently running a demonstration plant at the Green Plains Inc. ethanol plant in Shenandoah, Iowa. Grower Harvester bioreactors installed in Shenandoah are tied directly into the plant’s CO2 exhaust gas and have been operating continuously since inoculation in October 2009. The company serves five markets: Animal Feed, Nutraceuticals, Fish Feed, Chemicals and Fuel.


Last summer, the US Department of Energy announced $3.5 million for a Cellana algae project aimed at accelerating the development of sustainable, affordable algal biofuels. Cellana was selected to develop a fully integrated, high-yield algae feedstock production system by integrating the most advanced strain improvement, cultivation, and processing technologies into their operations at their Kona Demonstration Facility.

Why significant? This is the first major grant award for algae to a multi-product biorefinery with Omega-3s as the high-value co-product.  (ATP3 maybe counts, but it wasn’t direct to Cellana.)  One observer noted, “DOE has come a long way in broadening their perspectives on how one can scale to achieve both commercial quantities of biofuels and profits simultaneously, rather than one at a time.


In January, OriginOil announced that it is collaborating with the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) of the U.S. Department of Energy. A proposed project focuses on development and implementation of novel approaches to improve efficiency in algal biofuel production.

Together, OriginOil and INL have submitted a proposal in response to a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) titled Targeted Algal Biofuels and Bioproducts (TABB). The TABB FOA seeks alternative pathways to overcome two of the key barriers to commercializing algal biofuels: the high cost of producing algal biomass and the low yield of target biofuel and bioproduct feedstocks produced from algae.

Last September, the company announced it would provide algae harvesting technology for the low-cost algae growth system from Algasol Renewables. The integrated system will launch at Algasol’s new facilities in Bangladesh — a unique, large-scale demonstration of micro-algae production for fish feed.  Initially, the site will cover 6.5 acres, and be capable of producing approximately 25 tonnes of micro-algae per month. Algasol recently launched a showcase site on the island of Mallorca, Spain. Algasol Renewables estimates that algae can be produced for feed using its proprietary technology at industry-low prices, and is negotiating agreements for micro-financing to help large numbers of small farmers in the low-lying delta region of Bangladesh roll out this complete growth and pelletizing system.

Sapphire Energy

Sapphire has three facilities across California and New Mexico. In 2010, the company began construction of the world’s first commercial demonstration algae-to-energy farm in Columbus, New Mexico, a project backed by a grant from the United States Department of Energy and a loan guarantee from the United States Department of Agriculture. Construction of Phase 1 was completed on-time and on-budget in 2012, and the company paid back the USDA loan guarantee in 2013.

It’s a different day at Sapphire, as the company has recently followed Solazyme and others from a focus on algae biofuels to a portfolio approach including algal oils for nutraceutical applications, protein and fuel.  READ MORE

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