Oilgae was started the way most good ideas start - as a solution for a need. Back in June 2006, Narasimhan (Narsi) Santhanam, a Biofuel enthusiast and a resident of Chennai, India was keen on learning more about algae as a Biofuel feedstock after reading about its enormous potential. At that time, there were perhaps only about a dozen researchers and companies worldwide interested in this field. Except for a few blog posts and forum discussions, Narsi found that there were few details and insights available about algae fuels (the exception was the excellent document on the Aquatic Species Program -http://www.nrel.gov/docs/legosti/fy98/24190.pdf ).
What excited Narsi the most was that most fossil oil that we use today is reckoned to be the derivatives of millions of years of nature's action on - algae ( http://www.oilgae.com/ref/oil/or/or.html ). This was getting interesting. If algae were predominantly responsible for the oil we use today, and given that algae could grow with much higher yields than land crops, there were too many reasons why algae should be researched as a key potential feedstock for biofuels.
He thought it was odd that there was so little information for a feedstock that appeared to hold so much potential. The thought was succeeded by a small web page he put up at one of the web sites he used at that time where he introduced algae biofuels and provided the few useful links he could find. The whole process took him about three hours.
After this quick jaunt, he promptly forgot about his web page. It was thus a pleasant surprise for him to start getting a number of emails a week from the time he had put up the web page. He was amazed at the number of people who wanted more information about algae fuels but were unable to find it anywhere.
This was the beginning of Oilgae.
Over the next one month, Narsi created a simple website with the first name he could come up with - Oilgae. A funny name, he thought. Little did he imagine that a few years hence the algae fuels industry would be called the Oilgae industry ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algae_fuel ) and that Oilgae would be working with leading companies, entrepreneurs and researchers worldwide on making algae fuels a reality.
The first few months, Narsi did solo research on algae biofuels. By end of 2006, he had recruited more professionals and researchers into the team, realizing the importance of providing high quality assistance to the site's visitors and those who wished to have more information from his team.
Over the years, the Oilgae website has evolved from a clunky site to a large, professionally managed web resource. And the Oilgae team has grown from a lone biofuel enthusiast to team comprising biotech professionals, industry researchers, economists and more.
And oh yes, thanks for wanting to know the Oilgae Story.