Microalgae are also called as microphytes. They are microscopic algae, found in fresh water and marine system. They are living in the water column and sediments both. They are unicellular species which exist either individually or in chains or group. Their size can vary from few micrometers to few hundred micrometers. Microalgae do not have leaves, trunk or roots like higher plants. But they are capable of achieving photosynthesis. Approximately 60% of oxygen on earth is produced by microalgae and simultaneously they use the greenhouse gas to grow photoautotrophically.It contains similar amino acids, vitamins and minerals as the human body. Microalgae are the origin of food chain.The microalgae are tiny, still they most nutritious food source. It has been known as the ‘green super food’ of 21st century.
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A range of microalgae species are produced in hatcheries to use them for various commercial purposes. It is also known as algae cultivation. These processes concentrate on carbon capturing. The efficiency of carbon capture is about 90% in open ponds. These innovations have helped many companies involved in this business to raise funds from private investors and government. The demand ofmicroalgae based products is rising, as the various countries are setting targets to minimize their greenhouse gas emission. The Global Microalgae Market was estimated $608 million in 2015 and is projected to reach $44.7 billion by 2022. In terms of volume, the Microalgae Market is expected to reach 27552.11 tons by 2022. The compound annual growth rate in between2016 to 2022 is expected to be 5.2%.
- The growth in demand for algae based products are highly depends on crude oil and other fossil fuel.
- The utilization of algae based biofuels in aviation, marine and road applications is growing in order to minimize the green house emission and boost renewable energy usage.
- Approximately 42% of global biofuel share comes from algal biomass.
- One ton of algae can yield 100L or more biofuel.
- It produces many biofuels such as ethanol, biodiesel, methanol, jet fuel and others.
- Omega-3 fatty acids derived from algae are widely used in many health care products and food supplements.
- In 2015, almost 53.7% of total algae market’s revenue was contributed by DHA production.
The global Microalgae market is divided into two parts-
- By application
- By cultivating
In terms of application, market has been sorted into pharmaceutical applications, bioplastics, road sector, marine sector, DHA production, aviation sectors and others.
In terms of cultivating, market has been segmented into closed photo bio reactors, open ponds cultivation technology, closed fermenter system cultivation technology and raceway ponds cultivation technology.
The open ponds cultivation technology is used commonly as compared to other available technologies due to its low capital cost. The closed photo bio reactor is emerging technology, in this, the environmental parameters such as light, can be controlled to support the biological growth.