Biofuel, Bioplastic, Company initiatives, studies and reports

Algae 2013 Survey

The Algae Biomass Organization recently released its 2013 industry survey conducted in January where more than 470 people within the algae industry submitted their opinions and projections on the industry’s growth, barriers to advancement and policy priorities through 2020.

According to the survey, respondents this year more optimistic that algae fuels will be price competitive within the decade; that production and hiring will increase in both the short and long term; and that improved federal policy could significantly benefit the industry’s development of algae-based fuels, feeds, fertilizers and other products.

Here are the key highlights of the survey:

  • The 2013 survey shows that optimism on the price competitiveness of algae fuels remains. Around 91% of respondents say it is likely that algae-based fuels will be cost-competitive by 2020.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) of producers say the price will be below $3.00 per gallon by 2020.
  • Congressional engagement is high—65% of respondents’ organizations either have met with or plan to meet with legislators.
  • Job growth was confidently predicted by employers for 2013. By 2020 some were projecting significant growth, but with more uncertainty (up to 30% of ABO members were not sure what their employment figures would be in 2020).
  • 90% of employers say better federal policy support would likely accelerate hiring.
  • The most important federal policies in building a robust algae industry were identified as Research and Development, commercialization grants, and Tax Credits/Incentives.
  • The most critical challenges for the industry to achieve cost-competitiveness were identified by producers as cost-efficient production systems and harvesting and extraction systems.

In other algae-related news, the blog already posted a recent announcement from Sapphire Energy on its contract deal to supply green crude algae oil to refining company Tesoro.

Meanwhile, Cereplast has been very busy churning out news about algae bioplastics. Last month, the company has incorporated a new wholly owned subsidiary called Algaeplast, which will focus on the development and manufacture of algae-based bioplastics. The new subsidiary plans to bring to market new polymers made from 100% algae content.

Cereplast recently commercialized small quantities of its Biopropylene 109D, which contains 20% post-industrial algae biomatter such as biomass byproducts from algae biofuels and nutritionals. The company said demand for bioplastics made from algae is significant and therefore the creation of Algaeplast.

Cereplast said it is close to its 2008 goal of producing plastics with 50% algae bio-content. The company also joined the Algae Biomass Organization this month and this week, Cereplast announced that it has filed a patent application for algae bio-content polymers.

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.

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