The global algae market is led by Algenol, Solazyme, Inc., and Sapphire Energy, Inc. and together these three companies accounted for a massive 91.3% share in the overall algae market in 2015. Transparency Market Research states that this immense consolidation of the competitive landscape has compelled players to establish strong distribution and sales channels to gain an edge over others and to enhance their reach across potential markets.
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Some of the more successful strategies adopted by leading vendors are expansion of existing algae production facilities, the commercialization of algae cultivation technologies, a focus on projects oriented toward the reduction of carbon emissions, and targeting government and private investments for technological developments.
Strategic collaborations are also a sure-shot method of gaining market share, TMR finds. For instance, in August 2014, Algae Systems LLC collaborated with Japan-based IHI Corporation to develop a new biofuel production process based on the conversion of algae and wastewater into biofuel and clean water.
The opportunity in the global algae market stood at US$608.0 mn in 2015 and is projected to be worth US$1.1 bn by 2024, at a CAGR of 7.39% therein. By volume, the market is poised to expand at a 5.32% CAGR between 2016 and 2024.
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Algae Used Extensively for DHA Production in Healthcare and F&B Sectors
Based on application, DHA production takes the lead in the global algae market and is expected to retain its lead throughout the forecast period. Algal biomass is most extensively used in the production of DHA, which is used in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and food and beverages sectors. Within this segment, the pharmaceutical application sub-segment held a larger share of just under 28% in 2016, which is expected to decline over the coming years to make room for the protein sales sub-segment. The aviation industry, on the other hand, is estimated to exhibit a high CAGR of 6.95% from 2016 to 2024.
On the basis of technology, open ponds cultivation technology held the dominant share in the algae market, while the closed photo bioreactors segment is projected to witness strong growth by 2024, in terms of both demand and sales. Geographically, Asia Pacific will emerge as one of the most attractive segments, registering a value-based CAGR of 8.0% during the forecast period. In terms of percentage share, North America dominates the algae market and is expected to generate US$344.49 mn by 2024.
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Rising Application of Algae in Wastewater Treatment
An alarming rise in carbon emissions from various industries has resulted in a prominent shift from the use of fossil fuel energy resources to renewable sources of energy. This has, in turn, fueled the demand for algae, which is a key ingredient in the production of biofuel. “Many developed as well as developing nations have been focusing on the utilization of renewable energy sources so as to be in line with strict emission norms and standards,” the author of the study notes.
In addition, the rising use of algae in wastewater treatment acts as a key growth driver. The surge in population and industrial activities has caused the depletion of freshwater resources, which in turn, calls for the large-scale treatment of waste water.
In contrast, high capital investments in the research and development of algae production and utilization act as a major deterrent to the growth of the algae market. The declining prices of crude oil in recent times have also negatively impacted the market as the use of crude oil-based fractions has increased.