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Can Martek (A Leading Algae Oil Producer) Win the Algae Fuel Race? 13

I set out to research about companies which are already into algae for various purposes like pharma products and neutraceuticals and their efforts on algae fuels. Interestingly, I noticed the efforts of Martek Biosciences, producer of nutritional products that promote health and wellness. The company produces Docosahexaenoic acid and Arachidonic acid.

? DHA -Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid. DHA is a major fatty acid in sperm and brain phospholipids, particularly in the retina. Dietary DHA may reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing the level of blood triglycerides in humans. Low levels of DHA have been associated with Alzheimer's disease.

? ARA - Arachidonic acid is one of the most abundant fatty acids in the brain, and is present in similar quantities to DHA. The two account for approximately 20% of its fatty acid content. Arachidonic acid is necessary for the repair and growth of skeletal muscle tissue.

The company currently supplies DHA and ARA to infant formula manufacturers such as Mead Johnson , Nestle and Abbott Labs. The DHA and ARA are marketed in the name of Life?s DHA and Life?s ARA. Life?s DHA being produced from microalgae, is a vegetarian source of DHA which is otherwise derived from fish oil.

According to recent news articles, Martek is expanding its business into China.

? In April, the company announced a five-year agreement with COFCO to put DHA into the cooking oils it sells in China.

? Last month the company announced a five-year agreement with Mengniu Dairy, the largest dairy producer in China to fortify its ultra-high temperature (UHT) shelf-stable milk products with DHA.

Last week the company announced a multi-year agreement with another Chinese dairy to fortify infant formula and ?growing-up milk? products.

On Aug 2009, Maktek signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) to work on the production of microbial oils for biofuels applications with BP. The partnership combines a broad technology platform and operational capabilities to advance the development of a step-change technology for the conversion of sugars into biodiesel.

Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Martek and BP will work together to establish proof of concept for large-scale, cost effective microbial biodiesel production through fermentation. BP will be contributing up to $10 million to this initial phase of the collaboration which leverages Martek?s significant expertise in microbial oil production and BP?s production and commercialization experience in biofuels as the platform for the joint development effort.

Recently, in an interview, Chief Executive Officer Steve Dubin when asked about the status on BP deal, he told the press that, though Martek being a leading producer of oil from algae for neutraceuticals, making it cost competitive with fossil fuel is a real challenge in this industry.

?The status is there's a five-year project to develop some alternative fuels instead of using fossil fuel to get fuels from micro-organisms. We started the project about a year ago and we think we're making good progress. We met the first milestones in the deal and we're hoping in four years or so, we'll actually have a product. And the key is to get production, to be cost-competitive, with fossil fuels. You can make oil out of algae today or other micro-organisms. In fact, we're the leading producer of oil from algae in the world today. That's how we make more nutritional products. But you have to get it down to a very inexpensive cost to compete with gasoline, and that's the challenge? says Dubin.

Can this algae oil producer make algae fuels a reality? I don?t have the answer with me now. But I think it is worth following Martek?s efforts in this field. To me it looks like Martek?s efforts to bring down the cost of algae oil production will be different from most other companies as they have prior experience in this field.
Sat June 19 2010 06:15:47 AM by Parkavi Algae Fuel Companies 2456 views

Comments - 4

  • Vign2211 wrote:
    Sat June 19 2010 03:35:17 PM

    Well this is indeed great finding, a medicine for alzheimer and against aging can be expected in near future,can u give links or website name to know more about it.

    Vote Up! 0 Vote Down! 0

  • Manohar wrote:
    Sun June 20 2010 11:05:59 PM

    The following line is pretty interesting and makes me curious. " Martek and BP will work together to establish proof of concept for large-scale, cost effective microbial biodiesel production through fermentation "

    This is large scale. And not in the distant future.

    Vote Up! 3 Vote Down! 0

  • Shankar wrote:
    Mon June 21 2010 02:31:53 AM

    Dubin says
    " In fact, we're the leading producer of oil from algae in the world today. That's how we make more nutritional products. "

    This is huge statement. They make a speciality product and then they make a commodity like oil.
    They claim to be the largest makers of oil from alage. !!

    Is there anyone here with a project that makes a or a few nutraceuticals and then using the algae for oil ??

    Vote Up! 1 Vote Down! 0

  • Veronica wrote:
    Fri July 02 2010 03:53:01 AM

    How much of algae do they produce per day ?

    Vote Up! 0 Vote Down! 0

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