Recently, the potential of microalgae for the production of carbon-neutral biofuel has begun to be recognized. The oil content and productivity of algae are much higher than those of agricultural oil crops like rape seed or oil palm, yielding theoretically 10 to 100–fold more oil per growth area. Furthermore, microalgae cultivation does not require arable land or clean fresh water, as culturing takes place on land using open ponds, closed photobioreactors, or a combinations of them.
Rymättylä & Tvärminne, Finland
Macroalgae have been used on a small scale for centuries as animal feed and fertilizer, but with increased efficiency in agriculture and development of artificial fertilizers these aspects have lost some of their significance. On the other hand, new uses of algae are being developed. An example is the extraction of alginate from macroalgae, which is then used in a number of products from toothpaste to products for the textile printing industry.