Is the Green Gold Rush over?

In a blogpost in Nature Bioentrepreneur of April 23, 2012 entitled 'The Green Gold Rush' Markus Schmidt, co-founder of Biofaction and founder of the Vienna-based Organisation for International Dialogue and Conflict Management, argues that unless you have access to world-class science combined with massive private and public financial support there is hardly any opportunity in the algae biofuel market.  Algae production systems will be economically feasible only if the price for one barrel of oil remains consistently above $70 and if the production systems entail an area of at least 200 ha (about 500 acre). Economically successful algae biofuel production facilities thus have to be large scale by definition. Such limitations do rapidly reduce the number of algae biofuel companies. Instead of expensive closed-circuit photobioreactors cheaper and less maintenance-intensive open ponds will have to be used, which raises the issue of environmental risk assessment.

Nonetheless, microalgae production systems that focus on fine chemicals and High Value Proteins bring much higher margins and still hold great promises for bioentrepreneurs.

Posted by Huib de Vriend, 24 April 2012

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