According to a new report from Pike Research, algae biofuels production will grow rapidly over the next decade, reaching 61 million gallons per year and a market value of $1.3 billion by 2020. While barely a drop in the bucket for biofuels, this represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 72%, roughly on par with early development in the biodiesel industry.
Algae biofuels yield 2 to 20 times more oil per acre than leading oilseed crops. Algae’s productivity and scalability are seen as its greatest advantages, and a number of key industry players are gearing up their operations to meet the opportunity. Algae biofuels have the added advantage of utilizing non food-based feedstock, with the abilities to grow on non-arable land and utilize a wide variety of water resources including wastewater and seawater.
Pike Research anticipates that, with 50% of all algae activity, the United States is poised to ramp up production the earliest among world markets. Pilot- and demonstration-scale facilities are beginning to break ground across the country. The European Union (EU) market, which is home to about 30% of algae activity, will be limited initially by the industry’s focus on university research, and later by insufficient access to water, land, and nutrient sources. Latin America and Asia Pacific, which are home to fewer projects in operation today, are set to gain significant market share in the long run