NAA’s Algae Production Certification Program
October 22, 2011
Biotech Institute – Lone Star College
The Woodlands, Texas
“The Algae Production Certification Program is the only one in the country that teaches all aspects of commercial algae production, starting with strain selection and ending with the economics and marketing of co-products.,” according to NAA Executive Director Barry Cohen, ” we are fortunate to be able to offer this annual opportunity to learn in a classroom environment as well as with hands-on experience in one. As this industry emerges, NAA wants to make sure there is a qualified, educated workforce who understands all aspects of commercial algae production and new markets and business opportunities they will be creating, and this program provides the broad foundation of learning that will be needed.”
Algaepreneurs, algae producers, algae researchers, students, algae equipment companies and potential investors/lenders are invited to attend the National Algae Association’s Algae Production Certification Program. The program will provide comprehensive training about algae strains, growing, harvesting and extraction methodologies, as well as a variety of economic factors.
The program features instruction by experts in the algae production, research and equipment communities who share in the commitment to bring commercial-scale algae production to reality, along with an onsite view of commercial-scale closed-loop photobioreactors, an algae lab, and a final exam. See preliminary curriculum outline below.
$750 – Non-NAA members
$500 – NAA Members
$350 – Researchers/Government
$250 – Student*
* Educators – contact us for group pricing
Certificates of Completion will be issued to individuals who successfully complete the Program and are not transferable.
Algae Strain Selection
Participants will see commercial PBR’s, learn about algae cultures and strain selection, growing algae in ponds and in photobioreactors, and harvesting and extraction methods, along with economics and different markets. Students will also be given a tour of the new lab at Lone Star College.
National Algae Association
4747 Research Forest Drive, Suite 180
The Woodlands, TX 77381
Incoming search terms:
High oil prices and environmental and economic security concerns have triggered interest in using algae-derived oils as an alternative to fossil fuels. But growing algae — or any other biofuel source — can require a lot of water.
However, a new study shows that being smart about where we grow algae can drastically reduce how much water is needed for algal biofuel. Growing algae for biofuel, while being water-wise, could also help meet congressionally mandated renewable fuel targets by replacing 17 percent of the nation’s imported oil for transportation, according to a paper published in the journal Water Resources Research.
Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that water use is much less if algae are grown in the U.S. regions that have the sunniest and most humid climates: the Gulf Coast, the Southeastern Seaboard and the Great Lakes.
“Algae has been a hot topic of biofuel discussions recently, but no one has taken such a detailed look at how much America could make – and how much water and land it would require — until now,” said Mark Wigmosta, lead author and a PNNL hydrologist. “This research provides the groundwork and initial estimates needed to better inform renewable energy decisions.”
Algal biofuel can be made by extracting and refining the oils, called lipids, that algae produce as they grow. Policy makers and researchers are interested in developing biofuels because they can create fewer overall greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels. And biofuels can be made here in the United States. In 2009, slightly more than half of the petroleum consumed by the U.S. was from foreign oil.
Wigmosta and his co-authors provide the first in-depth assessment of America’s algal biofuel potential given available land and water. The study also estimated how much water would need to be replaced due to evaporation over 30 years. The team analyzed previously published data to determine how much algae can be grown in open, outdoor ponds of fresh water while using current technologies. Algae can also be grown in salt water and covered ponds. But the authors focused on open, freshwater ponds as a benchmark for this study. Much of today’s commercial algae production is done in open ponds.
Crunching the Numbers
First, the scientists developed a comprehensive national geographic information system database that evaluated topography, population, land use and other information about the contiguous United States. That database contained information spaced every 100 feet throughout the U.S., which is a much more detailed view than previous research. This data allowed them to identify available areas that are better suited for algae growth, such as those with flat land that isn’t used for farming and isn’t near cities or environmentally sensitive areas like wetlands or national parks.
Next, the researchers gathered 30 years of meteorological information. That helped them determine the amount of sunlight that algae could realistically photosynthesize and how warm the ponds would become. Combined with a mathematical model on how much typical algae could grow under those specific conditions, the weather data allowed Wigmosta and team to calculate the amount of algae that could realistically be produced hourly at each specific site.
Water for Oil
The researchers found that 21 billion gallons of algal oil, equal to the 2022 advanced biofuels goal set out by the Energy Independence and Security Act, can be produced with American-grown algae. That’s 17 percent of the petroleum that the U.S. imported in 2008 for transportation fuels, and it could be grown on land roughly the size of South Carolina. But the authors also found that 350 gallons of water per gallon of oil — or a quarter of what the country currently uses for irrigated agriculture — would be needed to produce that much algal biofuel.
The study also showed that up to 48 percent of the current transportation oil imports could be replaced with algae, though that higher production level would require significantly more water and land. So the authors focused their research on the U.S. regions that would use less water to grow algae, those with the nation’s sunniest and most humid climates.
But the authors also found that algae’s water use isn’t that different from most other biofuel sources. While considering the gas efficiency of a standard light-utility vehicle, they estimated growing algae uses anywhere between 8.6 and 50.2 gallons of water per mile driven on algal biofuel. In comparison, data from previously published research indicated that corn ethanol can be made with less water, but showed a larger usage range: between 0.6 and 61.9 gallons of water per mile driven. Several factors — including the differing water needs of specific growing regions and the different assumptions and methods used by various researchers — cause the estimates to range greatly, they found.
Because conventional petroleum gas doesn’t need to be grown like algae or corn, it doesn’t need as much water. Previously published data indicated conventional gas uses between about 0.09 and 0.3 gallons of water per mile.
More to Consider
Looking beyond freshwater, the authors noted algae has several advantages over other biofuel sources. For example, algae can produce more than 80 times more oil than corn per hectare a year. And unlike corn and soybeans, algae aren’t a widespread food source that many people depend on for nutrition. As carbon dioxide-consuming organisms, algae are considered a carbon-neutral energy source. Algae can feed off carbon emissions from power plants, delaying the emissions’ entry into the atmosphere. Algae also digest nitrogen and phosphorous, which are common water pollutants. That means algae can also grow in — and clean — municipal waste water.
“Water is an important consideration when choosing a biofuel source,” Wigmosta said. “And so are many other factors. Algae could be part of the solution to the nation’s energy puzzle — if we’re smart about where we place growth ponds and the technical challenges to achieving commercial-scale algal biofuel production are met.”
Next up for Wigmosta and his colleagues is to examine non-freshwater sources like salt water and waste water. They are also researching greenhouse ponds for use in colder climates, as well as economic considerations for algal biofuel production.
Now Available! Global Algae Producers, Projects, Ventures, Technologies, Investors, and Market Forecasts
The Algae 2020 study is a fact-filled guide designed for investors, producers, researchers, consultants and entrepreneurs. Algae 2020 provides a comprehensive roadmap for the commercialization of biofuels, drop-in fuels, biochems and biomass markets.
The Algae 2020 study offers detailed insight for algae production systems, markets and strategies based on site visits with more than 40 organizations. Algae 2020 provides detailed case studies of leading companies, projects, ventures, public-private partnerships, research labs, and provides a set of scenarios, business strategies, market forecasts and an outlook for algal biofuels commercialization to the year 2020.
Excerpt from Algae 2020 Study: Top 11 Algae Investment & Market Trends for 2011 (pdf)
2020 Roadmap for The Commercialization of Algal Biofuels, Drop-In Fuels, BioChems
Algae 2020 provides a roadmap for scaling up algae production, and market strategies for attracting investment, partnership, and production towards commercialization. The study highlights leading projects and algae producers headed toward commercialization via the production of algal-based drop in fuels – renewable diesel, drop-in fuels, aviation fuels, and a biomass focus on high-value products including: green plastics and chemicals from algal biopolymers, livestock and fish meal, omega 3s, and pharmaceutical applications.
Algae for Biocrude, Drop-In Fuels, Aviation Markets, Biochems and Co-Products
For the Algae 2020 study, Emerging Markets Online examines multiple applications for algae to supply growing first generation biodiesel and ethanol markets. For 2nd generation and advanced biofuels markets, algae is attracting increased investment to create green bio-crude as a feedstock for petroleum and aviation companies.
For example, the US has invested more than 7 trillion dollars in its existing petroleum refining, storage, pipeline and distribution infrastructure. Algae oil or biocrude is a preferred alternative for petrol and aviation organizations. For these emerging markets for biomass-based fuels, Algae 2020 also measures market size and potential for algae to serve biodiesel, biofuels, drop-in fuels, biocrude, renewable chemicals, aviation, defense, CO2 capture, and early-stage consumer markets.
Commercialization Outlook: From R&D to Pilot to Demonstration Phases
A key finding from the Algae 2020 study: algal biofuels have matured significantly in the last few years, moving from small research labs, to pilot projects, to small scale demonstration projects, and now to first-stage pre-commercial trials for CO2 capture in a handful of projects.
Algae 2020 provides detailed case studies of leading companies, projects, ventures, public-private partnerships, research labs, and provides a set of scenarios, business strategies, market forecasts and an outlook for algal biofuels commercialization to the year 2020.
The Algae 2020 study Vol 2 (385 pages, 2011 update) presents a comprehensive perspective of the algal biofuels and biomass industry by directly visiting and surveying many of these endeavors and presents a composite of emerging solutions and outstanding challenges from wide sample of data sources, enterprises, and expert opinions. Algae 2020 provides detailed case studies of leading companies, public-private partnerships, research labs, and provides a set of scenarios, business strategies and an outlook for algal biofuels and biomass market commercialization to the year 2020.
For more information, or to order the Algae 2020 study, download the following prospectus, table of contents and order form
For more information, download the following prospectus, table of contents and order form
Algae 2020 Vol 2: Biofuels, Drop-In Fuels, Biochems & Market Forecasts
Algae 2020, 2nd Edition (update) was published February 2011, updating the original study, and including details on biofuels markets and an introduction to biochems, bioplastics, livestock feed, and high value co-product markets.
To order this study
download a table of contents and order form in pdf
call telephone at +1 713 429 4905 (Houston, TX).
Media Coverage of the Algae 2020 Survey
Excerpts of initial findings from the Algae 2020 study have been featured in Forbes Magazine, Biofuels International, the Biofuels Digest, Renewable Energy World, The Houston Chronicle, and the Daily Telegraph UK.
About Emerging Markets Online
Emerging Markets Online (EMO) is a global biofuels and energy intelligence firm. EMO provides strategic business development advisory services, market research studies, management reports, and expert industry databases. Emerging Markets Online has been the recipient of Forbes Magazine’s prestigious “Best of The Web” award seven times consecutively.
For more information, or to receive a price list for EMO products and services, visit http://www.emerging-markets.com or call +1 713 429 4905 (Houston, TX)