Algae to revenue
When trying to use algae for commercial products and/or services there are a few things that one might consider. If you have other suggestions feel free to send an email.
System - Deciding on a system to grow algae will a major factor in productivity and initial infrastructure costs. Systems include open air systems (open ponds), closed systems (photobioreactors, or fermentors) and combination systems. The importance in selecting a system has trade offs: low productivity and low cost systems (open ponds) versus higher productivity and higher cost systems (photobioreactors or fermentors). The system selected is also important when determining the site.
Inputs - Whether the algae you select requires sunlight or not, it will require some source of inputs. Inputs may include nitrogen and phosphorus, carbon dioxide, sugars, etc.
Product or service - Algae can provide a number of different products or services. The product market is segmented into the large commodity market like the energy sector, and niche higher value markets that can be easily saturated. Products for a large market with low revenue on individual unit sales include biofuels (biodiesel, green diesel or renewable diesel, ethanol, jet fuel, etc.), and high protein biomass (animal feed). Products for the higher value markets include nutraceuticals (beta-carotene, omega oils, etc), pharmaceuticals, pigments, or other bioproducts. Services fall into current services such as wastewater remediation and future services such as carbon dioxide recycling, mitigation, and sequestration. Mitigation and sequestration all depend on the final use of the biomass.
Strain - There are an overwhelming number of algae strains to choose from. Identifying the which strain is appropriate for your product and/or service will be one of the most difficult next steps after deciding on a particular product or service.
Harvesting - Harvesting is a challenging and capital intensive task which many individuals are working to improve.
Processing - Processing may or may not be a necessary step for the final product. Product processing may include oil extraction, drying biomass or quality certification.
Distribution - Identify a channel for product distribution.