ABO algae survey shows continued optimism for growth and commercialisation
A survey of the algae industry conducted by the Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) shows high expectations for continued growth in the sector as well as increased production of a wide range of algae-derived products.
The survey was conducted in February 2015 and includes more than 230 responses from companies and individuals involved in directly producing and buying algae or algae-derived products, as well as equipment manufacturers, research laboratories, providers of equipment or materials, government agencies and service providers.
Around 75% of respondents were optimistic that algae-derived fuels are likely to be price competitive with fossil fuels, while 97% agreed that algae-based feeds will be commercially available by 2020. Ninety-three percent said that algae-based plastics and chemicals will be commercially available in the same timeframe. A majority of producers reported plans to increase production capacity (70% agreement); and many expect positive hiring trends through 2015 and beyond.
The positive attitudes could be attributed to the widespread progress of the industry in commercialisation efforts and research breakthroughs in the past year. During 2014 the industry improved capacity at commercial production facilities, made new advances in yields and algae biology, and made progress on the policy front with the leadership of the Congressional Algae Caucus.
Federal support for algae and carbon utilisation R&D and commercialisation, along with streamlined regulatory approvals for algae products or facilities were cited as the top two priorities for the future, suggesting that companies are looking forward to continuing their transitions from research and demonstration stages to commercialisation.
'The members of the Algae Biomass Organization are moving quickly to develop technologies that will provide consumers with products they want without negative impacts on our food, climate or energy security,' says Matt Carr, executive director of the ABO. 'This survey captures the enthusiasm of the entrepreneurs and scientists that are tackling some of the world's biggest challenges, creating new jobs and new sources of fuel, feed and other products.'
Other key findings of the survey included:
• Forty-six percent of producers project the cost of algae-based fuel to be less than $3 (€2.8) per gallon and more than 91% project the cost to be less than $5 per gallon by 2020.
• Congressional engagement is high – 68% of respondents' organisations either have met with or plan to meet with legislators, and more than half of ABO members reported having elected officials tour their facilities.
• The algae industry supports a wide variety of jobs across the US.
SOURCE: Algae Biomass Organization