How could algae build better products and a more sustainable future?
Algae can be found in abundance across the globe, it’s prolific and sometimes harmful but fortunately, it has many beneficial uses as well. In fact, a report released by Credence Research has predicted that algal based products are expected to reach US$ 44.6 billion by 2023.
Rising temperatures can often result in harmful algae taking over our waters. Bloom is a startup, which aims to tackle this issue head on by harvesting and then transforming wild algae into sustainable plastics and foams. The process replaces petroleum in products and has a much lower carbon footprint than its predecessor. In October 2016, Bloom partnered with surfing legend Kelly Slater to produce its first product using this technology – foam traction pads for surfboards.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University have engineered micro-algae that produce 4.5 times more hydrogen than the standard algal strain, potentially enough to one-day supply the world with a renewable and clean source of fuel. This algae, which produces significantly lower greenhouse emissions, is a compelling alternative to fossil fuels and could make its way into hydrogen fueled cars in the near future.
Aside from the environmental benefits, new ideas are springing up which embrace the nutritional benefits of algae. Earlier this year, Matcha Mylkbar and Real Food Organic in Melbourne developed Instagram-worthy blue algae lattes, as an alternative to the more traditional coffee options. Blue-algae powder is responsible for the vibrant naturally occurring hue and is considered a super-food, which is high in protein and full of minerals, vitamin B12, and beta carotene.
With increasing pressure on the world’s resources, attention has turned towards developing more sustainable alternatives. Algae innovation is diverse and covers a spectrum of ideas that impact health, food, biofuel, even tech industries. Admittedly, using algae in products isn’t an entirely new idea, but what’s old is becoming new again, and thus opens a door for companies to embrace new opportunities and create algae based products, which address some of our biggest environmental challenges... and put a smile on the consumers’ face.