Sunday, January 23, 2022

"Algae Market Potentially Worth $320 Billion Draws Honda, Eneos"

Okay, so we were a decade early.

From Bloomberg via Yahoo Finance, January 23:

Oil refiner Eneos Holdings Inc. and Honda Motor Co. are among a group of more than 35 Japanese companies and institutions that have banded together to try to tap the potential of microalgae to help replace fossil fuels and to provide an array of food and consumer goods products.

By banding together under an initiative called Matsuri (Microalgae Towards Sustainable & Resilient Industry), the group is hoping to create enough demand for the phytoplankton to make a large-scale algae farm viable in Malaysia.

The growing facility would be built by Singapore-headquartered Chitose Bio Evolution Pte. Ltd., which is constructing a 5 hectare (12 acre) trial farm on the Malaysian part of Borneo Island, with financial support from Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization.

Startups and companies around the world have been investing in microalgae because of its potential to replace biomass fuels such as corn and soybeans, that are part of the global food supply. One commonly used algae genus, Chlamydomonas, can absorb about 8.7 times more carbon dioxide than soybeans, according to Takanori Hoshino, an executive officer at Chitose Laboratory Corp.

The problem has been to grow and process algae at a scale that would be commercially competitive. Dozens of algae-fuel startups around the world have gone bust or retreated from trying to make biofuel over the past decades. By banding together, the Japanese group hopes to use their combined demand to make a large-scale farm viable.

Chitose is negotiating with the local Sarawak state government to secure land to expand its facility to 2,000 hectares by around 2027, and is looking to raise 200 billion yen ($1.8 billion) for the project.

The farm initially would use carbon dioxide from a local thermal power plant to feed the algae and produce 140,000 tons of microalgae a year. After the planned expansion, it would be one of the world’s largest purpose-built algae farms, according to Rebecca White, executive director of the U.S.-based Algae Biomass Organization. At full capacity, the company expects 100 billion yen in annual sales from algae.....


Probably better than eating bugs. The proteins in those things, and especially worms, can trigger horrific allergic reactions.

Some previous posts
November 2011
"Can Algae Feed the World and Fuel the Planet? A Q&A with Craig Venter"
November 2019
"Kanye West tells innovation seminar he is running for president in 2024, is designing algae-based Yeezys and is considering changing his name to 'Christian Genius Billionaire'"

I too have heard the siren call of algae.

There was 2009's The Summer Of Algae

From 2010's The Navy Calls for More Algae Fuel
To 2012's Algaen Gothic:

"Yup, I used to raise corn for ethanol. But then the topsoil blew away and I couldn't even get enough juice to run my tractor or get drunk on Saturday. Then this stranger came to town. Ordered something called a 'la-tay' and called himself a 'vee-cee.' Said he'd give me $20 million to come to Californee and herd algae. So we packed up our furniture in his little toy car and came west. Now I've got a regular bonanza of the slimy critters and the kids got shoes. Hain't looked over my shoulder back east since."
From 2016's Disruption: Soylent Says It Knows Why It Is Making It's Customers Poop and Puke
To last month's "Salmon farmers sign up for algal alternative to fish oil"

Along with a visit with a possible Nobel Prize nominee: "Can Algae Feed the World and Fuel the Planet? A Q&A with Craig Venter"
And more on Soylent distress: Soylent Ingredient Provisioner Pooh-Poohs Diarrhea Accusation, Cuts Off Gruel Maker's Algae Flour Supply

We even had a mascot:

"Green-haired turtle that breathes through its genitals added to endangered list"
As well it should be.
Things you don't see every day:
From The Guardian:

With its punky green mohican the striking Mary river turtle joins a new ZSL list of the world’s most vulnerable reptiles
It sports a green mohican, fleshy finger-like growths under its chin and can breathe through its genitals.

The Mary river turtle is one of the most striking creatures on the planet, and it is also one of the most endangered.

The 40cm long turtle, which is only found on the Mary river in Queensland, features in a new list of the most vulnerable reptile species compiled by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
Despite the turtle’s punk appearance – derived from vertical strands of algae that also grow on its body – its docile nature made it historically popular as a pet....
But we somehow missed the potential, the future, the broad sunlit uplands to be hiked in algae-based footwear.