Opportunities and challenges in algae biofuels production October 2008

The cultivation of microalgae for biofuels in general and oil production in particular is not yet a commercial reality and, outside some niche, but significant, applications in wastewater treatment, still requires relatively long-term R&D, with emphasis currently more on the R rather than the D. This is due in part to the high costs of even simple algae production systems (e.g. open, unlined ponds), and in even larger part to the undeveloped nature of the required algal mass culture technology, from the selection and maintenance of algal strains in the cultivation systems, to achievement of high productivities of biomass with a high content of vegetable oils, or other biofuel precursors.

By: J. Benemann