Biodiesel can be made from algae but it is hard to predict how economically viable different methods can be. Most research is currently done by the private sector and although this research is bringing the science forward it is next to impossible to really evaluate the techniques without building and running production units. Many people do believe that it would be possible for biodiesel to take the place of regular diesel and gasoline. Sceptics do on the other hand not believe that biodiesel and algae oil can be made profitable unless we see a lot higher oil prices.
Algae are among the most effective oil crops and studies show that algae can produce up to 60% of their biomass in the form of oil. Micro algae are also the quickest growing crop in the world and grows a lot faster than other alternatives for making oil, such as oil palms and corn. The algae harvest from a singe acre of algae farming can be as high as 20,000 US gallons per year or more than 30 times bigger than the second fastest growing crop. A high yiled combined with a high oil level make algae ideal for producing oil and jet fuel.
Unfortunately, it is still very expensive to process algae into oil. At this point, this cost is what’s preventing algae oil from being an economically viable product. If more efficient, cheaper ways are developed, oil farming might become viable in poor countries with low wages or perhaps even in more developed countries. We do however have a long way to go before we reach that point.