Global Algae Biofuel Market: Focus on Application, Product, and Region - Analysis and Forecast, 2023-2033

Mar 2024| BIS953A| BIS Research

Report Highlights

The Global Algae Biofuel Market Expected to Reach $18.84 Billion by 2033

Introduction to the Global Algae Biofuel Market

The global algae biofuel market has experienced remarkable growth, with North America taking the lead in adopting and advancing this technology. The global shift toward sustainability is a key driver in the global algae biofuel market, driving both innovation and investment in this renewable energy sector. This transformation is motivated by the urgent need to address climate change, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and create more sustainable energy solutions.

Governments worldwide are implementing policies and incentives to promote renewable energy, including biofuels. The European Union's Renewable Energy Directive (RED), which sets ambitious targets for renewable energy usage, exemplifies such support. These policies enhance the market viability of algae biofuels by providing financial incentives, tax breaks, and research grants. For instance, the U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office has allocated substantial funds toward algae biofuel research, aiming to make it cost-competitive with conventional fuels.

In 2022, the global algae biofuel market reached a valuation of $9,633.7 million. Over the forecast period 2023-2033, the market is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 6.36%, ultimately reaching a value of $18,844.7 million by 2033.

Industrial Impact

The algae biofuel market is marked by a competitive landscape, with key players such as Algenol Biofuels, Inc., Viridos, Inc., Cellana Inc., Genifuel Corporation, Neste, and Algae Systems, LLC. leading the industry. In 2022, these companies collectively held approximately 35% of the market share. The market exhibits both competitive and fragmented characteristics, as several players contribute to the diverse ecosystem of algae biofuel solutions. Algenol Biofuels, Inc., with its advanced algae biofuel technologies, and Cellana Inc., specializing in multispectral sensors, are prominent players, along with Viridos, Inc., Genifuel Corporation, AlgaEnergy S.A., collectively shaping the evolving landscape of algae biofuel technologies. Viridos Inc., Origin Oils Inc., and Algae Systems, LLC. are some of the emerging companies that have remained in the limelight for the last few years in the global algae biofuel market. Some of the strategies adopted by algae biofuel producers are new product launches, business expansions, and mergers and acquisitions. Apart from market development, sealing new partnerships and collaborations are the other strategies being implemented.

Market Segmentation:

Segmentation 1: by End-Use Industry

  • Transportation
  • Power Generation
  • Others

Transportation Industry to Dominate the Global Algae Biofuel Market (by End-Use Industry)

In 2022, the global algae biofuel market was predominantly led by the transportation industry due to a confluence of factors that underscored the sector's commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly fuel alternatives.

Across aviation and automotive domains, algae biofuels gained prominence as a pragmatic solution to address both ecological concerns and regulatory imperatives for curbing carbon emissions. Algae biofuels, with their high energy density and compatibility with existing infrastructure, became an attractive choice for fueling various modes of transportation.

The collaborations between algae biofuel producers and key players in the transportation sector, along with supportive policies and incentives, facilitated the integration of algae biofuels into the broader fuel supply chain.

Segmentation 2: by Type

  • Bioethanol
  • Biodiesel
  • Biogas
  • Others

Biodiesel Type to Dominate the Global Algae Biofuel Market (by Type)

In 2022, biodiesel emerged as the leading type in the global algae biofuel market, owing to a combination of factors that solidified its position as a key product type in the renewable energy landscape.

The prominence of biodiesel within the algae biofuel sector can be attributed to its compatibility with existing diesel engines and infrastructure, making it a seamless and cost-effective transition for industries and consumers. The heightened demand for cleaner and sustainable alternatives in the transportation and industrial sectors drove the popularity of biodiesel derived from algae.

Segmentation 3: by Process

  • Chemical
  • Thermochemical
  • Biochemical

Chemical Process to Dominate the Global Algae Biofuel Market (by Process)

In 2022, the chemical process emerged as the leading algae biofuel manufacturing process in the global algae biofuel market, owing to a myriad of factors that underscore its prominence in the renewable energy sector. The chemical process involves the conversion of algae biomass into biofuels through methods such as pyrolysis, hydrothermal liquefaction, and catalytic cracking.

This manufacturing approach gained traction due to its scalability, efficiency, and versatility in processing various types of algae. The chemical process allows for the extraction of lipids and carbohydrates from algae biomass, which are then converted into biodiesel and other biofuels.

Segmentation 4: by Raw Material

  • Spirulina
  • Chlorella
  • Dunaliella
  • Others

Spirulina Raw Material to Dominate the Global Algae Biofuel Market (by Raw Material)

In 2022, spirulina emerged as the leading algae raw material for manufacturing algae biofuel in the global algae biofuel market, driven by a combination of unique characteristics that distinguished it in the renewable energy landscape. Spirulina's high lipid content and rapid growth rate make it an ideal choice for biofuel production, as it facilitates efficient extraction of lipids for conversion into biodiesel.

Spirulina’s ability to thrive in diverse environments, including non-arable land, enhances scalability and reduces competition with food crops. Spirulina's nutritional value, coupled with its capacity to sequester carbon dioxide during growth, aligns with the broader sustainability goals of the biofuel industry.

Segmentation 5: by Region

  • North America - U.S., Canada, and Mexico
  • Europe - Germany, France, U.K., Spain, Italy, and Rest-of-Europe
  • Asia-Pacific - Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand, India, Indonesia, and Rest-of-Asia-Pacific
  • Rest-of-the-World – South America and Middle East and Africa

North America led the global algae biofuel market in 2022, owing to several key factors that propelled the region to the forefront of this burgeoning industry. The robust growth of the global algae biofuel market in North America is primarily attributed to the region's concerted efforts toward sustainable energy solutions and environmental conservation. Government initiatives and supportive policies, such as research funding and tax incentives, have fostered a conducive environment for algae biofuel development. Additionally, North America boasts a robust infrastructure for research and development, facilitating technological advancements and innovations in algae cultivation and biofuel production. The region's awareness and commitment to reducing carbon emissions, coupled with a growing emphasis on achieving energy independence, have driven increased investments in algae biofuel projects.

Recent Developments in the Global Algae Biofuel Market

  • In March 2023, a $25 million Series A equity investment was raised by Viridos, Inc., the industry pioneer in algal biofuels committed to producing low-carbon, sustainable jet and diesel fuel derived from algae. Chevron U.S. Inc. and United Airlines Ventures joined Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) in leading Series A. To raise algal oil productivity to levels that can be used commercially, the funding would be used for research and development.
  • In March 2022, a strategic collaboration between Genifuel Corporation and AECOM was announced to increase the production of carbon-neutral, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and biogas from biosolids and wild algae. A patented technology created by Genifuel Corporation and the U.S. Department of Energy is used by the partnership to turn algae and wastewater biosolids into sustainable oil and gas, while AECOM's process for harvesting wild algae is patent pending.
  • In April 2020, AlgaEnergy S.A. and the University of Cadiz launched a new research and development project. AlgaEnergy S.A.'s purpose is to promote new basic research lines while simultaneously applying and increasing the performance of previously achieved laboratory-scale advancements related to algae biofuel at the industrial level. With a $101,000 budget, it would be executed in conjunction with a University of Cádiz research team under the direction of Dr. Teresa Fernandez Ponce.
  • In March 2018, Cellana Inc. and Neste forged a significant multi-year agreement for the supply of algae oil feedstock, marking a pivotal step in the commercial-scale production of biofuels. This collaboration underscores the growing recognition of algae as a viable alternative to fossil fuels amidst escalating demand for biofuels driven by rising crude oil prices, environmental concerns, and the pursuit of national energy security. The agreement not only highlights the potential of algae to contribute to the biofuel industry but also aligns with the pressing need to meet the U.S.'s substantial transportation fuel requirements, which exceed 150 billion gallons of biofuel annually. This development represents a strategic advancement for both companies in addressing the long-term demand that currently surpasses production capabilities, positioning them as leaders in the sustainable fuel sector.

Demand - Drivers, Challenges, and Opportunities

Market Demand Drivers: Advantages of Algae-Based Biofuels over Traditional Sugarcane and Corn Biofuels

Algae-based biofuels present distinctive advantages over traditional biofuels derived from sugarcane and corn, which are translating into transformative impacts on the global algae biofuel market. Algae cultivation does not compete with food crops for arable land, addressing a critical ethical and logistical concern associated with traditional biofuels. Algae can grow in water bodies, including brackish and wastewater, which substantially reduces the strain on freshwater resources.

Algae yields significantly more biofuel per acre than sugarcane or corn. For instance, algae can yield 2,000 to 5,000 gallons of biofuel per acre annually compared to corn's 250 gallons. This superior yield potential positions algae biofuels as a more scalable and efficient alternative.

Market Challenges: High Production Cost

High production costs remain a pivotal challenge in the commercialization of algae biofuels, influencing the pace and scale of market development. Algae cultivation requires specific conditions, often necessitating costly infrastructure such as photobioreactors. The processes of harvesting algae and extracting biofuels are energy-intensive and require significant investment in specialized equipment.

The operating cost allocation for a photobioreactor (PBR) system is a major part of investment in algae biofuel production. The largest expense is PBR bag replacement, consuming 31.4% of the budget, indicative of the energy-intensive nature of PBR systems. This is followed by CO2 costs at 15.20%, reflecting the need for carbon dioxide in algal photosynthesis. Nutrient expenses (ammonia and diammonium phosphate (DAP)) account for 15.4%, while electricity represents 6.7%.

Market Opportunities: Government Policies Expected to Create Opportunities

Government policies are creating opportunities for the growth and innovations of companies, which might eventually lead to the growth of the global algae biofuel market. These policies can catalyze industry development by providing financial incentives, reducing regulatory barriers, and setting mandates for biofuel use. Through the development of sustainable feedstock and conversion technologies, the chosen projects will support the Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Grand Challenge and its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. These products will be used to create essential fuels and carbon-based products that are difficult to decarbonize. This implies that the demand for algae biofuels might increase in the upcoming years, and a greater number of opportunities would eventually lead to the growth of the global algae biofuel market.

How can this report add value to an organization?

Product/Innovation Strategy: The product segment helps the reader understand the different applications of the algae biofuel products available based on end-user industry, product type, process, and raw material. The market is poised for significant expansion with ongoing technological advancements, increased investments, and growing awareness of precision agriculture. Therefore, the algae biofuel business is a high-investment and high-revenue generating model.

Growth/Marketing Strategy: The algae biofuel market has been growing at a rapid pace. The market offers enormous opportunities for existing and emerging market players. Some of the strategies covered in this segment are mergers and acquisitions, product launches, partnerships and collaborations, business expansions, and investments. The strategies preferred by companies to maintain and strengthen their market position primarily include partnerships and collaborations.

Competitive Strategy: The key players in the algae biofuel market analyzed and profiled in the study include algae biofuel producers. Additionally, a comprehensive competitive landscape such as partnerships, agreements, and collaborations are expected to aid the reader in understanding the untapped revenue pockets in the market.

Report Synopsis

Report Metrics Details
Base year considered 2023
Forecast period considered 2023-2033
Base year market size $10.17 Billion in 2023
Market size forecast $18.84 Billion by 2033
Growth rate 6.36%
Units considered $ Billion
Segments covered By End-Use Industry, By Type, By Process, By Raw Material, By Region
Industry covered Advanced Materials & Chemicals
Regions covered North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific
Countries covered U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, U.K., Spain, Italy, Rest-of-Europe, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand, India, Indonesia, Rest-of-Asia-Pacific, Rest-of-the-World
Companies studied
  • Algenol Biofuels, Inc.
  • Genifuel Corporation
  • Seambiotic
  • BDI-BioEnergy International GmbH
  • Neste
  • AlgaEnergy S.A.
  • Viridos, Inc.
  • Cellana Inc.
  • Diversified Energy Specialists
  • Inventure Renewables, Inc.
  • LanzaTech
  • Algae Systems, LLC.
  • Euglena Co., Ltd.
  • Reliance Industries Limited

Research Methodology

Factors for Data Prediction and Modeling

  • The scope of this report has been focused on algae biofuels only.
  • The base currency considered for the market analysis is US$. Currencies other than the US$ have been converted to the US$ for all statistical calculations, considering the average conversion rate for that particular year.
  • The currency conversion rate has been taken from the historical exchange rate of the Oanda website.
  • Nearly all the recent developments from January 2021 to December 2023 have been considered in this research study.
  • The information rendered in the report is a result of in-depth primary interviews, surveys, and secondary analysis.
  • Where relevant information was unavailable, proxy indicators and extrapolation were employed.
  • Any economic downturn in the future has not been taken into consideration for the market estimation and forecast.
  • Technologies currently used are expected to persist through the forecast with no major technological breakthroughs.

Market Estimation and Forecast

This research study involves the usage of extensive secondary sources, such as certified publications, articles from recognized authors, white papers, annual reports of companies, directories, and major databases to collect useful and effective information for an extensive, technical, market-oriented, and commercial study of the algae biofuel market.

The process of market engineering involves the calculation of the market statistics, market size estimation, market forecast, market crackdown, and data triangulation (the methodology for such quantitative data processes is explained in further sections). The primary research study has been undertaken to gather information and validate the market numbers for segmentation types and industry trends of the key players in the market.

Primary Research

The primary sources involve industry experts from the algae biofuel market and various stakeholders in the ecosystem. Respondents such as CEOs, vice presidents, marketing directors, and technology and innovation directors have been interviewed to obtain and verify both qualitative and quantitative aspects of this research study.

The key data points taken from primary sources include:

  • validation and triangulation of all the numbers and graphs
  • validation of reports segmentation and key qualitative findings
  • understanding the competitive landscape
  • validation of the numbers of various markets for market type
  • percentage split of individual markets for geographical analysis

Secondary Research

This research study involves the usage of extensive secondary research, directories, company websites, and annual reports. It also makes use of databases, such as Hoovers, Bloomberg, Businessweek, and Factiva, to collect useful and effective information for an extensive, technical, market-oriented, and commercial study of the global market. In addition to the aforementioned data sources, the study has been undertaken with the help of other data sources and websites, such as GFI and Delft University of Technology.

Secondary research was done to obtain crucial information about the industry’s value chain, revenue models, the market’s monetary chain, the total pool of key players, and the current and potential use cases and applications.

The key data points taken from secondary research include:

  • segmentations and percentage shares
  • data for market value
  • key industry trends of the top players of the market
  • qualitative insights into various aspects of the market, key trends, and emerging areas of innovation
  • quantitative data for mathematical and statistical calculations

Key Market Players and Competition Synopsis

The companies that are profiled have been selected based on inputs gathered from primary experts and analyzing company coverage, product portfolio, and market penetration.

Some of the prominent names in this market are:

  • Algenol Biofuels, Inc.
  • AlgaEnergy S.A.
  • Viridos, Inc.
  • Cellana Inc.
  • Euglena Co., Ltd.

Companies that are not a part of the aforementioned pool have been well represented across different sections of the report (wherever applicable).

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