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Algae Industry in 2014 – A Review of AIM’s and Oilgae’s Comprehensive Perspectives

algae-pic-1

Algae Industry Magazine had recently covered in great detail the growth and happening in the algae industry in 2014.

This was an excellent three part blog posts. (For full details, read the blog posts from here – part 1, part 2 and part 3)

I had the opportunity to read all these in detail, and am presenting a summary of these. I took the opportunity to also include data and details from other reviews and posts we had done at Oilgae, so let’s say this is a fairly comprehensive review of AIM’s and Oilgae’s perspectives.

Algae Fuels

Funnily, or perhaps on reflection, not so funnily, I found there’s little mention of any dramatic developments in the algae to fuel domain.

The only two prominent mentions I found from the AIM’s reports were one about Japan’s Isuzu Motors Ltd. agreeing to work on biodiesel from algae, and Australia’s Muradel launching the country’s first integrated demonstration plant to sustainably convert algae into green crude.

Further review of Oilgae’s posts over 2014 show a few more, but not exactly plenty:

One is about ABB partnering with a US company on integrated algae production systems, a bit vague really;  a couple of other news items talk about Neste and Boeing keen on dipping their toes into algae fuels, still appears fairly nascent exercises. Another energy major, Iberdrola had announced plans early 2014 to invest in a Mexico facility. And finally, a company Qeshm from Iran seems to be getting serious about bio-jet fuel.

Having seen the algae fuel industry last 8 years, we have heard enough announcements similar to the ones above. All I can say, 2014 was a nothing-year as far as fuels from algae was concerned. Sure, 2015 could be better, but some one should show some real scale production and more important, real working out of costs. Just announcements will not do.

Algae Non-fuel Products

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==Attractive Algae Product Opportunities

The posts (both from AIM and Oilgae) however have a lot to report on when it comes to non-fuel value added products from algae.

 

Some prominent highlights for the following sectors

  • Human and Animal Nutrition
  • Medicine & Pharma
  • Paper & Plastics
  • Specialty Chemicals

 

Algae in Human and Animal Nutrition Products

Algae in Human Nutrition

Not surprisingly, the products that were really in limelight were Omega-3 EPA/DHA, Spirulina, and Astaxanthin. And to a certain extent, Chlorella.

Astaxanthin & Other Specialty Anti-oxidants

 

Chlorella

Spriulina & Proteins

  • Projects sprung up to cultivate spirulina as a superfood to fight malnutrition. These include efforts from the National Center for Biotechnology Information for spirulina to benefit HIV-infected adult women, and another to explore use of spirulina in controlling the spread of pancreatic cancer cells.
  • Advanced Algal Technologies purchased animal nutrition company Ridley’s former salt fields in north Queensland, Australia, while on their plans to produce 500 acres of spirulina.
  • Smart Microfarms continued to develop the practical prototype for home-style spirulina growers.
  • While on proteins, Solazyme got into the protein market through AlgaVia Protein, an algae powder that is a source of protein, fiber, healthy lipids and micronutrients. This potential could be used in everything from nutrition bars and smoothies to crackers and gummy bears.
  • This is an interesting and positive news for all Spirulina lovers. Spirulina gained approval in the US as a naturally derived blue colorant

Omega 3 (EPA and DHA)

  • Synthetic Genomics and Archer Daniels Midland Company announced that they are entering into a long-term agreement to commercialize omega-3 Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) from algae.
  • Texas-based Qualitas Health struck a distribution agreement for its Almega PL omega-3 ingredient with Lipa Pharmaceuticals for sale to the dietary supplement sectors.
  • Blue Ocean Nutrasciences demo-ed EPA and DHA rich omega 3 production systems
  • Solarvest Bioenergy Inc., a Canadian algae company, has tied up with two European facilities for the production of omega-3 using its proprietary process. The company’s production process is the world’s first used to make organic omega-3 from algae.

 

Human Nutrition – Others

  • Allma launched crispy snacks – Portuguese based microalgae company Allma launched cereal based Chlorella pieces. The product is a blend of rice cereal and Chlorella vulgaris in multiple sizes and favours like carrots, rosemary and lemon. Having a high nutritional value and food technology characteristics, Chlorella can be used as a natural colourant.
  • Nutrusta launched a new algae based health supplement – Researchers at Nutrusta, a natural supplement company, have tried to include pure and natural astaxanthin extracted from micro-algae in their new omega-3 Formula together with Vitamin D3. This omega-3 formula contains other active ingredients not found in other supplements. High ratio of DHA to EPA, along with astaxanthin and Vitamin D3 makes this product unique.
  • Solazyme thinks algae milk is the next big thing on the nutritional product launch calendar – Solazyme displayed one use of its algal flours in the form of Algae Milk. This innovation in food ingredients could provide Solazyme with a significant market opportunity.

 

Algae for Animal Health

Quite a bit of research centered around algae’s properties to improve animal health.

  • Trials in 2014 proved that supplementing algae meal into chicken diets produced meat that was healthier than that of chickens raised on traditional diets without algae. (for more info on this topic, see here, here, here)
  • Omega3 Beef debuted the results of its innovative, all-natural cattle feed, supplemented with algal-based omega-3.
  • Algasol’s launched new facilities in Bangladesh that comprises a unique, large-scale demonstration of micro-algae production for fish feed.
  • Agricultural specialist Olmix launched a new product called MFeed+ to boost the value of animal feed by optimizing digestion using a unique combination of seaweed extracts.
  • Animal feed giant Alltech developed SP1 – a safe, DHA-rich algae product fed directly to fish, poultry and cattle, which can allow the commodities of meat, eggs, and milk to be transformed into value-added, DHA-enriched functional foods.
  • Nofima’s Heterotrophic Algae to Replaces Fish Oil in Salmon Feed – Nofima, the Norwegian institute of food, fisheries and aquaculture research, showed through their experiments that heterotrophic algae can completely replace fish oil in salmon feed. The Algae meal seemed to be a better alternative in various aspects

Algae in Medicine & Pharma

Algae Plastics

Algae in Specialty Chemicals

Algae Based Bioremediation

Other Highlights from the AIM Reports & Oilgae’s 2014 Posts

  • PBRsProterro patented the company’s proprietary photobioreactor, a novel component of its patented sugar-making process. Also, NREL came up with a unique bioreactor too in 2014.
  • Algae-based Carbon Capture Initiative -ABO launched a “We the People” White House petition to drive awareness and support of Carbon Capture and Utilization. Nearly 350 respondents from 45 states and 215 cities signed the petition, demonstrating broad enthusiasm across the political spectrum.
  • Government Funding for AlgaeEERE’s Targeted Algal Biofuels and Bioproducts (TABB) award of $13-25M for algal biofuel research to find 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.
  • ABO Joins Hands with EABA or Joint Promotion – As a sign of support for these international alliances, the US-based Algae Biomass Organization and the European Algae Biomass Association agreed to collaborate to further the development of algae biomass technologies in the U.S., Europe and globally through events, conferences and policy advocacy.
  • Integrated algae products effort in UK – A multi-million pound project to make energy out of pink and orange algae is being led by researchers at a Kent university. An international team of scientists aim to build a biorefinery called the D-Factory to turn an algae called Dunaliella into useful products like food, plastics and fuel.

Hope you found this comprehensive review of what happened in the world of algae in 2014.

I look forward to your comments and suggestions, please use the Comments section, thank you – Narasimhan Santhanam, Oilgae

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Oilgae’s comprehensive report on the attractive product and business opportunities from algae

A report on every possible non-fuel product opportunity from algae – in nutrition, animal/fish feed, medicine and pharma, specialty chemicals such as agrochemicals and lubricants, plastics, environmental remediation and more.

Know more about the Comprehensive Algae Business Opportunities report from here .

==

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