Five Innovations to Look For in Algae Biofuels


Here are my top five innovations to look for in algae-based biofuels in the New Year:

—The first synthetic algal genome.

—The first significant scale-up of algae biofuel production.

—The first clinical trial of an algae-based therapeutic.

—The introduction of several new algae-based nutraceuticals.

—Oil to top $120 a barrel, and with that a much broader realization that we really are running out of the good stuff.

[Editor’s note: This is part of a series of posts from Xconomists and other technology leaders from around the country who are weighing in with their thoughts on the leading developments or surprises in the past year or things to watch in the coming year.]

Stephen Mayfield is director of the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology and holds the John Dove Isaacs Chair of Natural Philosophy in UC San Diego’s Department of Molecular Biology. In addition to being an avid surfer, Mayfield is a founder and scientific adviser at San Diego-based Sapphire Energy. Follow @

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5 responses to “Five Innovations to Look For in Algae Biofuels”

  1. AlGen says:

    Are there already algae based therapeutics under development? That would be great!!
    I would bet on the algae based nutraceuticals…

  2. This are a lot of “first-times” in the list and the algae sector is really ready for some of them!

    Especially the point with the industrial sized algae plant would be a great pleasure to see. I just read, that there is beeing build a offshore plant in Japan at the moment.

    And lets hope that the oil price will raise not that quickly but constantly – at least that would be great for all kinds of alternative energies, e.g. bioenergy.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Usiku says:

    Is there anyone working on creating a device or engine for end users to convert their own biomass and organic material into fuel?