The Planted Tank Forum - View Single Post - actual algae company case studies?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 10-11-2011, 08:47 AM
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Are you referring to companies that are trying to grow algae as biofuels, foodstuffs? The ones that have come closest to breaking even are located in the desert (Arizona, New Mexico, etc.) where there is endless sunlight and less chance of contamination from foreign algaes and microorganisms.

Most of them eventually fail because the extraction processes are woefully inefficient. Extracting oil from algaes results in fuel that costs $200 a gallon to make.

As far as food stuffs, there are algaes out there that are 70% or even higher protein by dry weight, but keep in mind that algae is something on the level of 99% water. Basically, you harvest a hundred pounds of algae and end up with a few ounces of useable food.

Most of these companies are able to exist only with massive injections of government grants. The idea is that keeping them in buisiness will eventually result in technological improvements that will make them a viable buisiness.

There are quite a few articles out there in periodicals like Scientific American, and I believe I saw one in National Geographic a few months back, but I don't recall exactly and am not home to look through my magazine mountain.

There are internet articles also, but most of them display a ridiculous amount of bias either extolling the virtues of green fuel, or blasting this type of research as government waste. That's not to say they don't contain useful information, but consider the source when you read them (or lack of sources sighted).
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