GreenAlgae Strategy September 2008

Green Algae Strategy shares the fascinating story of extraordinary innovation occurring not in deep space or in deep oceans but simply under our feet. Few people are aware that this simplest of organisms holds such great potential for desperately needed sustainable solutions for our very hungry, thirsty and needy planet.
The Green Algae Strategy engineers hope for a better life for billions of people who lack sufficient and affordable food, fresh water, fresh air, fertilizer and fuel for cooking and heating fires. The strategy includes cleaning polluted water and reforesting denuded land but those objectives are peripheral to the focus here on producing sustainable foods and biofuels. Since algae-based biofuels provide the strongest financial incentives for R&D, new food sources, pollution solutions, reforestation, medicines and other coproducts will all benefit from breakthroughs in algal production systems for biofuels.
Biotechnology applies science and engineering principles to living organisms to solve problems and to make useful products. Over the last century, many people and companies have lost fortunes trying to create commercial scale algal production. The laboratory studies are so promising, yet even modest scale field studies have typically become unmanageable, unstable and unproductive.
Advances in biotechnology, nanotechnology and chemical and mechanical engineering have changed the production landscape for algae from dismal to terrific. Green Algae Strategy lays out a roadmap for what may be the challenge of this century: solutions to sustainable food, water, pollution, reforestation and biofuels.
Algae will not be the silver bullet that singularly resolves sustainability issues. Truly renewable technologies that meet increasing world demand for food and energy will be solved by a portfolio approach that will include all renewable energy sources and biofuels. However, algae are poised to provide innovative, high value and engaging solutions.

By: Mark Edwards