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Diverse Product Range from Algae Will Boost the Economics of Biofuel Production

April 15th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Algae

A few years ago when Algae captured global attention for having the potency to become the much anticipated ‘sustainable biofuel feedstock’, there was a sigh of relief as it was thought that the burden of alternative energy is mitigated. However, the progress on biofuel front is moving quite slowly than expected.

Algae do not produce oil for the world out of kindness at heart. They produce it for their own needs and to exploit it for our needs isn’t as easy as it may look at first sight. Optimising cash flow and making the business economically viable has really become a daunting task. Only recently has the world waked up to realise that algae is not all about oil. There is so much more on offer from algae and wise use of algae can very well optimise the business and make it economically viable.

Ambitious and smart algae biofuel companies have decided to diversify their product range from algae and put their algal product into every segment imaginable, be it your makeup, your protein supplements or even your medication.

Medication: Algae can be added to more traditional medications; its anti-inflammatory properties could be helpful in treating conditions like arthritis in the most natural way possible. But arthritis was just an example as the medical possibilities are seriously endless. According to one recent study, protein from algae can even be used to treat SARS infections. When I talk about nutraceutical, algae’s antioxidant properties and rich carotenoid source speaks for itself. Algae is also an excellent Omega-3 supplement and is a sought after source for all those vegetarians around the world.

Protein Drinks: You may not notice the difference when your favourite protein drink contains algae–but the company behind the product certainly will. Algae is infinitely scalable and cheap, meaning it’s one of the easiest places for food and beverage companies to grab the protein they need for their products. The dietary supplement Spirulina doesn’t need an explanation here and the whole world knows about it. It is available as a whole food,  tablet, flake and powder form.

Fish Food: It’s not just you and me having healthy dietary supplements from algae..! Algae is important for the aquaculture industry too, which is expected to double in size by 2030. The demand for cheap, renewable protein sources are high and many companies offer pelletized animal feed.

Cosmetics: Solazyme has already launched head-first into the market with its Algenist skincare line. The company’s proprietary algae-based compound is supposedly more effective at triggering skin elastin production, inhibiting melanin production, and protecting against UV-triggered cell damage than other popular skin care products.

The list of non fuel application of algae is growing every day. Though algae offer so much attractive products, the primary application deserves the most serious attention. The role of these secondary products is just to help the companies to optimise their business and help in making algae biofuels sustainable.

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