Investment into algae biofuels is shifting as government grants, which were a major funding source in 2009 when over $100 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy was distributed, is being replaced by strategic partnerships and slowly growing internal company revenues. According to the Bulletin, strategic partnerships include a range of industry sectors such as oil & gas, biofuels & agricultural processing, chemicals & plastics, biotechnology, power utility and wastewater management.
"Strategic partnerships from ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Dow Chemical, Desmet Ballestra and many others will drive the investment needed to successfully commercialize algae biofuels," said Shelley Carr, publisher of SBI. "Private investment and venture capital will also provide funding through 2015."
The primary factors that affect the size and growth of algae biofuels technology markets can be categorized as industry factors relating to investment, technological advancement and business development or market factors that spur demand for algae biofuels. The high yield per acre and minimum environmental impact of algae biofuels makes it one of the most viable and attractive biofuels.
However, there are problems. Currently there is no clear agreement on how to cultivate algae most effectively. Some companies grow algae in ponds, others grow them in clear plastic containers, and others keep their algae away from sunlight - feeding them sugars instead. Moreover, the actual production of oil by algae companies is minimal. Sapphire's annual production target of 1.5