What are algae?
Algae are simple organisms that range from very small, single-celled microalgae to macroalgae that group into very large organisms such as kelp. There are more than 300,000 species of algae in global algae culture collections. The vast majority of algae are photosynthetic, deriving energy from the sun to produce energy and biomass.
Are algae currently a commercial crop?
Yes. Algae are grown commercially around the world, primarily for nutritional, feed, and specialty product use.
What is required to grow algae?
The primary requirements for growing algae are sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide (CO2). Algae also require nutrients and environmental conditions appropriate to the specific algal species.
What is the benefit of focusing on algae instead of other energy crops like Jatropha?
Growdiesel has done substantial work on Jatropha, in fact we have a portfolio of 30 different fast growing variants of Jatropha. We also have a model plantation in 100 acres in India. However we discovered that Algae have some advantages to other energy crops, specifically:
Algae are the fastest growing plants in the world and can be grown year round, unlike seasonal crops.
Algae farming does not require agricultural land or clean water, so it does not compete with food crops for these resources.
While it is difficult to compare one energy crop to another, per hectare of farming of algae is around 10 to 100 times more productive than corn, soy, palm or Jatropha,
Unlike other energy crops, the entire biomass produced from algae can be used in end products.
Lastly, the algae can be used to produce renewable biofuels needed to reduce dependence on non-renewable fuel sources such as coal, oil and natural gas.
How are algae different from other energy crops?
Algae are different from other energy crops in one significant way–the entire biomass produced from an algae farm can be used in end products that are economically valuable. Unlike comparable crops (corn, sugar cane, rapeseed/canola, palm, soybeans, sunflower, Jatropha, etc.) which typically contain a substantial amount of wasted biomass, 100% of algal biomass can be used to create new products.
What are algae?