New Developments in Energy Markets Industry Document

2012

Algae-based biofuels present a compelling investment opportunity, providing a chance to participate in a quickly maturing industry with virtually unlimited upside potential.
Background

After initial disappointments with first and second generation biofuel development in the United States and abroad, more and more evidence seems to be pointing to thirdTotal Biofuel Consumption by Region generation fuels derived from algae as a true long-term and sustainable replacement for traditional petroleum-based products. Initial successes by a number of industry leaders Biofuels have been experiencing exponential growth in recent years. with a greater focus on commercial-scale production have seen yields exceeding the best second-generation techniques by over ten times. 1 Algae biofuels also address many of the downsides to prior biofuel harvesting – no arable land need be used in the cultivation of algae and the amount of resources used to produce the fuels are far less than its predecessors. In fact, as we will see, algae can even use such inputs as waste effluent from municipal water treatment efforts, thereby providing important ancillary benefits to a fuel that is already carbon-neutral over its lifecycle. For these reasons algae presents a promising solution for reducing both our dependence on petroleum and our carbon emissions at the same time.
Cultivation Breakdown
Types of algae system by worldwide production output.

Global Fuels – Algae Market Industry Briefing

A sizable amount of both public and private money has already been put towards research and development efforts for this fuel. In fact, as far back as 1979, the Aquatic Species Program investigated the viability of producing liquid fuels from algae. Only recently has investment picked up from the private sector however, and a number of breakthroughs in cultivation techniques have accelerated this trend significantly. Algae fuels are now at the point that serious commercialization efforts are underway in earnest. A few major players in the space have even attracted enough interest to be able to raise funds in public markets as well.

We believe that now is a ripe time for investment in this sector. Rapid breakthroughs and backing from a number of prominent energy players, as well as new contracts regularly being signed with customers such as the U.S. Navy, point to a technology that is Geographical Breakdown primed to experience rapid growth over the coming decades. The opportunity is Region-wise percentage of companies around the world producing algae fuels. enormous. Within the U.S. transportation sector alone is perhaps a $650 billion per year opportunity for algae-based fuels to replace their petroleum-based cousins. Because of its diversity as a drop-in replacement in land, sea, and air vehicles, and leverage through existing distribution and storage infrastructure, there is no reason why algae couldn’t become a major fuel on a global stage as well. Risks with algae fuel revolve mostly around technical feasibility and political uncertainty. If many of the scaling-up efforts underway currently pan out for their backers, and government does not put significant roadblocks in the way, we see algae continuing its upward trajectory and establishing itself as a competitive alternative fuel.

........................................................................................ 10 Long Term Potential Unknown .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 11 Potential for Short-Term Alternative Replacements ..........................................................................................................................................................Table of Contents Algae Fuels: The Ins and Outs .............. 1 What are algae-based fuels?......................................................................................................................................... 6 Transportation Fuel ...................... 8 Potential for and Impact of Government Subsidies on Industry ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 7 Project Finance Opportunities ............................................. 6 What can we use algae fuels for? ..................................................................................................................... 2 Different Techniques: Pros and Cons ............................................................... 9 Geopolitical Security and Environmental Concerns ................ 6 Transportation Fuel ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 4 Economics of Algae Fuels ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Land ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 11 2 ................................................................................................................................................................... 2 Case Studies .............................. 10 Political Risk ...... 1 Why biofuels?..................Sea ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 7 Transportation Fuel .................................. 9 Risks .. 11 Conclusion ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Air..........................................................................................................................

is produced through the fermentation process of crops such as corn. The most noteworthy of these. Although that program was shut down in 1996. sea and air transport has engendered a menacing US dependence on this fuel and transformed the country into a net importer. the opportunity to replace it with alternatives and attenuate our demand and consumption is very appealing. Using a worldwide agricultural model and life-cycle analysis. the real benefits of bioethanol from food crops in terms of reduced carbon emissions have also been called into question. 7 Biofuel is a broad term that includes a variety of fuels derived from biomass as the basic feedstock. and husks of current crops as well as non-food crops such as switchgrass. This type of feedstock addresses all of the previous concerns heads-on. and the subject of this report. 8 Since biofuels are the only renewable energy source that can be directly converted into liquid fuels appropriate for transportation. President Jimmy Carter launched the Aquatic Species Program to investigate renewable fuels that could be used in transportation. which. interest has shifted towards second generation biofuels. Biofuels are renewable in this sense because biomass is naturally regenerative in time-scales relevant to humans as compared to fossil fuels which are not. further research and development in this sector is both propitious and critically needed. Initial research with algae was so successful that most of the program funds were diverted specifically into looking at the production of fuels from engineered strains of algae. since many of these feedstocks are much easier to grow and require less fossil fuel inputs for their production. has been the fact that private investment is taking over and now far exceeding public money. are biofuels. For example. 13 The ability to derive biofuel from cellulose in this way has been a major technological innovation that allows second generation biofuel production to obviate the fuel vs food debate. even cellulosic bioethanol runs into problems with its requirements of limited resources such as arable land. 15 There have even been a 1 . National Science Foundation. To date there have been three generations of biofuel production technologies. Furthermore. As such limitations have become apparent. This second generation focuses on non-food cellulosic parts of plants as its feedstock. Biofuels are also potentially much less polluting than fossil fuels. While the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) acknowledges that there are many factors that have led to recent food price spikes. This leads us to the third generation of biofuels. This has raised concerns about how biofuel policy and production is affecting food security as people around the world face higher prices for food staples. 6 A great deal of interest has been directed to this end and a wide variety of solutions have been proposed. This includes the stems. freshwater and other agricultural inputs including fertilizer. jatropha and miscanthus. increasing investment has been flowing in its direction as the technology matures. As a result of the RFS. various tax incentives lure capital in from the sidelines and rising oil prices make the overall economics more attractive. The resulting dominance of petroleum in land. one of the most prominent biofuels. many corn producers have directed their harvests to biofuels. but in the context of energy production it generally refers to plant-based materials. bioethanol production has been greatly aided by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). bioethanol. 3 The sector relies almost exclusively on the combustion of petroleum to convert the chemical energy that is stored in the fossil fuel into the mechanical energy that is 4 used for propulsion. they balance this with the CO2 that biomass captures through photosynthesis as it grows. Truth be told. The first generation of biofuels used biomass that was traditionally considered food as its feedstock. algae as a fuel is not particularly new – as far back as 1979. Since transportation accounts for seventy-five percent of petroleum use in the US however. grass. in the context of rising global food commodity prices have 10 become particularly salient . this second generation also enjoys increased efficiencies in its energy ratios as compared previous techniques. 14 Unfortunately however. Moreover. In the US. Most exciting for investors in this space however. and Department of Agriculture have taken its place over time. It furthermore assures its position as one of the greatest global contributors to climate change. namely those derived from algae. studies have demonstrated that this type of production can even surpass the total emission footprint of fossil fuels 12. Consequently. Biomass can encompass all material generated from biological carbon fixation. This has beckoned questions regarding the prioritization of fuel over food. numerous government agencies including Department of Defense. they nonetheless cite increased demand for biofuels as a key driver 11. Each has had its relative merits and overall the progression has been chronological and is nearing a tipping point. which mandates that transportation fuels sold domestically contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels 9.Algae Fuels: The Ins and Outs Why biofuels? The transportation sector accounts for almost one third of all the energy used in the United States 2. This reliance on petroleum leaves the US subject to the vagaries and increasing prices of the international crude market 5. Even though they release similar amounts of CO2 when burned. leaves. It is also responsible for one third of the nation’s CO2 emissions.

and in which the algae are cultivated.42% of the overall land Mustard 140 US gallons / acre area of the United States. The exact same process is used for Figure 1: Algae Opportunity. a suitable container for the water and some means to circulate it are the only real requirements. and are currently being refined. Light and temperature $9 Inoculum System conditions are subject to the whims of nature. and a series of chemical reactions that converts them into biodiesel. they are claimed to yield between 10 and 100 times more fuel per equivalent unit area. they have further lost their competitiveness. While a Renewable Ethanol Diesel wide variety of techniques are under investigation to grow and harvest algae for Bio-Crude to biofuels. water. As an added bonus to the biodiesel that serves as a drop-in replacement for diesel transportation fuel. MM$ (Ponds) ponds are usually shallow because Ponds Figure 2: Open Pond Cultivation the light needed to grow is usually $22 $30 CO2 Delivery limited to natural sunlight. or oily parts. An example capital investment outlay can be seen to the left. which is only 0. As can be seen in Table 1.000 US gallons / acre that call for the creation of massive mobile seaweed plantations that could move along Table 1 : Feedstocks and Yields Compared ocean surface currents. land may not be required at all. as the scalability and thus the likely commercial potential vary significantly between the methods. Despite these drawbacks. Still. Evaporation directly Hydrotreating impacts crop yields by reducing the water supply available for algal growth $41 OSBL Equipment $24 and suspension. etc. leads to a total outlay of $195MM. Uncooperative Digestion weather can stunt crop growth or even destroy it. has proven to be competition Land Costs from wild strains of algae. 17 In fact. Proposals are floating around Algae 10. Different Techniques: Pros and Cons Open-Pond As the name suggests. and a scale of production of 10MM gal/yr of algal oil. Each of these techniques has pros and cons that are worth examining. to make that Figure 3: Capital Outlay for Open Pond System Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory Study situation even worse. lagoons. especially from an investment perspective.000 square miles. This has Feedstock Yield Per Acre prompted the interest of the likes of the United States Department of Energy – a report Soya 40-50 US gallons/acre released by them estimates that if algae replaced all the petroleum fuel in the United Rapeseed 110-145 US gallons / acre States. The biggest issue. This is less than 1/7 the area of corn harvested in the United Palm 650 US gallons / acre States currently. 18 2 . transesterification also results in carbohydrate based by-product residues that can be used for a variety of purposes including animal feedstock and soil fertilizer. this is a growth story that is just beginning. however. even compared to its closest competitor Palm. 16 Algae cost more per unit mass than second-generation biofuel crops due to their high capital and operating costs. The Direct Installed Capital. open ponds are natural (lakes. Beyond such inventive ideas. the basic process involves the conversion of plant oil into biodiesel Biogasoline through a process called transesterification. What are algae-based fuels? Biodiesel Carbon Biomass for Capture There are thousands of different species of algae ranging from microscopic Power from Power Generation Plants specimens (microalgae) to large seaweeds (macroalgae). Harvesting $21 Extraction $12 The primary downside of these systems is lack of control. CO2 and a few inorganic nutrients to grow. by the industry. Algae only depend on an energy Bio-Crude Bio-Crude to to Biosource like sunlight. As algae have been bred to produce more oil.) or artificial waters that are openly exposed to the atmosphere. which outcompete $23 $16 all but the hardiest algae strains.few companies with enough demonstrated commercial potential that they have been able to raise funds in the public markets. there has been and continues to be significant investment in this technique because of the very low capital intensity and ease of construction and maintenance. there are a few main techniques that have historically been employed. These keep the algae suspended in the water and circulate nutrients and water needed for the algae to grow. Targeting a production of 25 g/m2/day. bacteria. it would require 15. The circulation itself is usually provided by a simple paddlewheel. Focus on Biodiesel converting other vegetable oils into biofuels and essentially it involves the extraction of lipids. algae yield is an order-of-magnitude greater. or other organisms. but. These are by far the simplest systems to construct. Matching this wide diversity is their broad dispersal since the hardy nature of algae allows it to grow in Algae practically any condition and all over the world.

Seaweed of course would not rely on freshwater resources and could even potentially be harvested in the open ocean. however. where it can leverage the waste heat of industrial operations and even help to soak up pollution. Figure 4: Photo-bioreactor System The advantage with PBR systems is control. however. cost. PBR systems can employ algae that are genetically or otherwise enhanced to produce more oil per weight than wild strains. requiring no incremental land use at all.4mm in diameter and are what most people think of when they hear the word ‘algae’ – i. the trend seems to be away from open-pond systems. limiting factors include issues with cooling.e. and have strains with higher oil content. pond scum. The wastewater effluent in this way would be partially cleaned by the algae as they make use of its waste organic compounds for their energy source. photo-bioreactors can be carefully monitored and tweaked measures such as pH. Perhaps most importantly. Unlike open pond systems.. Photo-bioreactors As many research and commercial efforts with open pond systems began to run into technical and financial viability issues. by avoiding the major issues of contamination present with open pond systems. The best example of macro algae is seaweed. however. In addition to initial capital outlay. has focused almost exclusively on microalgae. yet are still able to produce favorable yields. Luckily. As it stands currently. 19 Figure 5: Capital Outlay for PBR System Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory Study Closed-loop Systems Closed-loop systems in general. and are transparent enough to allow natural or artificial light sources to penetrate for participation in photosynthesis. this also leads to less carbon dioxide losses due to out-gassing. attention was focused to alternative cultivation methods. Research has shown that smokestacks work quite well for this purpose. Closed systems are not at all exposed to open air. mixing. similarly to this report. MM$ (PBR) and control over oxygen accumulation. and temperature. One of the most promising so far has been the use of photo-bioreactors to contain the algae. avoiding the bulk of this sort of contamination. closed-loop systems are substantially more expensive that their open-pond counterparts. it is entirely possible that commercial efforts could again be drawn to this type of cultivation. this could significantly alter the economics of this type of system. we have seen many such OSBL Equipment partners enter this space recently. While micro algae are less complex. there is also potential in growing and harvesting macro algae for fuel production as well. grow faster. An Digestion example capital outlay projection is to the left. Microalgae technically includes both the diatoms and cyanobacteria. aim to avoid the problem of contamination that has plagued open pond systems since initial research began into algae-based fuels. In fact. however. carbon dioxide. and the total projected upfront cost is $631MM. similar to photo-bioreactors. which is CO2 Delivery substantial. therefore relying entirely on the hardiness of the strain to withstand wide swings in temperature. Direct Installed Capital. This type of investment obviously requires Hydrotreating partners with deep pockets to pursue. outside of perhaps processing and initial distribution centers 3 .The future of open pond systems is not crystal clear. Photo-bioreactors are essentially sterile glass or plastic tubes through which water containing nutrients and the algae are pumped continuously. light intensity. many observers believe that a major flaw of the Aquatic Species Program was the decision to focus exclusively on open pond designs. seaweed certainly has a high availability and is attractive as well for this reason. Also as with PBR systems. Depending on if a price gets put on carbon emissions. Trials of this kind have already taken place in New Zealand with some success. As can be seen. However. pH. The same NREL study Extraction that examined open pond systems also looked at PBR systems. This leads some to believe that future algae efforts will (or should) focus on cogeneration. and competition from invasive algae and bacteria. Another operation that could close the loop with algae production would be municipal wastewater treatment. and there is no sign of that trend Land Costs relenting any time soon. One problem is being able to find a cheap and sterile source of CO2. the cost Inoculum System of the system alone is upwards of $500MM. but are not without their own challenges. there are increased operating and maintenance costs $522 Harvesting associated with the sometimes-complex systems. The main downside of these PBR system systems is. Water evaporation is prevented by containing the algae sludge within the tubes. On the other hand. Research options The majority of research into algae. these are photosynthetic organisms less than 0. if algae strains can be developed that compete favorably with wild strains.

During a test application with the former. in mm) Total Revenue EBITDA EBIT Net Income 50. They were also backed initially by organizations like Imperium Renewables. Solazyme’s product mix includes*: • • • • • • SoladieselBD® and SoladieselRD® are the first algal-derived fuels to be successfully road-tested in blended and unblended (B100) forms for thousands of miles in unmodified vehicles.8) Cash & ST Invst. Blue Crest Capital Finance and The Roda Group. It priced the offering at $18 per share. which is more than 60 percent better than standard U. Solajet™ is the world's first 100 percent algal-derived jet fuel. While fuels and chemicals garner most of the attention for the company. including many in the nutritional. LTM as of Sep-30-2012 TEV and Market Cap are calculated using a close price as of Dec-12-2012 4 . and cosmetics spaces. SoladieselBD® is a Fatty Acid Methyl Ester-based (FAME) fuel. was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in San Francisco. which has been the scaling-up of their fuels efforts.S.8 Price/Tang BV 6. The feedstock is flexible and includes sugarcane. 20 Furthermore. and continuous improvement to the technology. The fuel has been used in a U. at the high end of the estimated range. Navy testing and certification program. it is possible that they will be able to become profitable within the next few years. and even waste effluent. by consuming the sugars derived from plants that already harness the sun’s energy. switchgrass. It's currently being used as the base fuel for testing and certification of renewable F-76.1 P/Diluted EPS Before Extra 15. and arguably the most successful. diesel fuel.3) Total Assets 237. miscanthus. and European fuel specifications.Case Studies Solazyme. they have more recently been involved in a number of news-worth partnerships. California. These products have helped to subsidize their main focus.S. for both military and commercial applications. which has demonstrated better cold temperature properties than any commercially available biodiesel. corn and stover. Solajet™ meets all military specifications for HRJ-5 jet fuel and all non-petroleum commercial specifications for ASTM D 7566. SoladieselRD® (Renewable #2 Diesel) is ASTM D975 compliant and has demonstrated a cetane rating of over 74. Solazyme is the only company to provide the U.S. Navy with fully in-spec SoladieselHRF-76®.4x NM Capital Expenditure (13. they have steadily increased their top-line numbers and have a healthy balance sheet with very little debt.3 TEV/Total Revenue 340. As they continue to invest in R&D and sign new mega-contracts. Solazyme’s algae can actually produce upwards of 80% of its dry weight in oil. Inc. they have already been able to scale up to commercial or near-commercial levels.com/fuels) Solazyme became a publicly traded company listed on the Nasdaq™ market in May of 2011.S.1 TEV/EBITDA 167. 100% algae fuel was used to sail a 300-meter Maersk container vessel from Northern Europe to Indonesia. they actually offer a much broader range of products. Solazyme. Both are compatible with existing infrastructures. (74. Another upcoming test is a 50/50 gasoline and biofuel mix as part of the Navy’s “Green Strike Group” maritime exercise. * Source: Solazyme Website (http://solazyme.7x NM NM 2. to build a business model based on the cultivation and refinement of algae-based products. and can be used with factory-standard diesel engines without modification. health sciences. Financial Information (Currency: USD. notably one with Maersk and the U. While they have yet to turn a profit at least since 2008. This success has allowed Solazyme to attract early interest from some very large players in the energy space including Chevron. Through standardization of. While wild algae only has a 5-10% oil content.S. A move to true commercial-scale capabilities could see this company skyrocket in value. which enabled the company to raise $198 million upon its debut.6 Market Capitalization (72. It was one of the first companies.8) Total Enterprise Value (75. Perhaps the most unique aspect of Solazyme’s cultivation process is their breakthrough platform that actually grows algae in the dark.7 Total Debt/EBITDA Currency in USD in mm.1) Total Debt 491. SoladieselHRF-76® is renewable diesel for ships. meet current U. Navy. Inc. To date.

and the ongoing training and maintenance necessary. 5 .EBITDA (mm) . What separates this technique from the competition is that it does not actually kill or harvest the algae at any point in the process. California. The technology that allows the impressive yields is a patented technique called Direct To Ethanol®.” Thanks to its overwhelming success. Sapphire successfully completed a 10-day tour of 3. as they do not release these values to the public. Cynthia Warner. instead relying on downstream processes to refine the algae oil directly into a drop-in ethanol replacement.Estimated Number of Employees . The company can provide all of the engineering. Sapphire has only been conducting efficiency tests of its algae derived biogasoline product on cars. it stands to fare very well against its corn and other food-crop based ethanol competitors. the president of Sapphire energy also added that with the help provided by this new round of funding and government support. they are projecting a commercial scale capability by 2018. had Pyle avoid any precise predictions and advise to "never quantify productivity in terms of gallons per acre per year. Sapphire Energy is “on track to commercialize algae-based fuels within this decade.” In 2009. A 2009 Los Angeles Times profile of company CEO Jason Pyle said Sapphire hopes to produce 1 million US gallons of algae diesel and 21 jet fuel each year in the next two years and 1 billion US gallons of fuel a year by 2025. Florida. Algenol also markets itself as a technology provider to potential partners interested in building their own algae plants.Sapphire Energy Sapphire Energy was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in San Diego. those costs are expected to go down dramatically. It is unknown at what scale Sapphire is currently producing its green gasoline. as technology is proven and economies of scale are achieved at their integrated algal bio-refinery. Throughout the trip. The ethanol can also be further refined into jet fuel and biodiesel. The company focuses on the production of ethanol and other green chemicals by the cultivation and refinement of hybrid algae. leading to a corresponding lower investment in the infrastructure necessary to transport and distribute the fuel both in the US and abroad. What currently holds Sapphire from implementing a large-scale commercialization of this product today is evidently cost. the necessary algal strains. Financial Information (Reported Currency) Total Revenue (mm) Gross Profit (mm) Net Income (mm) 39.6 Operating Income (mm) . A more recent interview in January 2011 however. If it was successful in this regard. the “algae averaged 147 mpg city in PHEV (plug in electric hybrid) mode and 52 mpg highway in hybrid mode on the cross country tour.000 gallons of ethanol/acre/year already. at a cost of $1 / gallon. and to get up to 20 billion gallons per year of ethanol by 2030. Its main product is algae-based “crude” oil that can be refined into “green” gasoline and other drop-in petroleum replacements.Total Assets (mm) .Total Debt (mm) 109 Net Debt (mm) - Algenol Algenol was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Bonita Springs. The cultivation is achieved within photo-bioreactors and the company has already been able to achieve impressive yields of over 8.750 miles from San Francisco to New York City using an unmodified 2008 Toyota Prius running on algae based gasoline. Sapphire has recently announced $144 million in funding from third parties including Mosanto. These products can fit into the existing fuel transport and distribution infrastructure without any modifications. Nevertheless. and construction efforts. Sapphire leverages the relatively simple open pond cultivation technique and their main research facility is in the arid New Mexico desert. procurement. Figure 6: Algenol Costs vs Alternatives (Source: Algenol Website) In addition to performing the bulk of the Research & Development going into the refinement of their process and pursuing commercial-scale efforts on their own. They have focused so far on employing species selection and trait selection to create commercially viable algae. It intends to scale this process up to commercial scale quickly.” 22 To date. It has also focused from the outset on scale – in fact. We think this will be helpful if the continued backlash against ethanol continues. but have committed to genetic modification in the future.

consumption of conventional diesel in transports with an 80/20 blend of conventional diesel and algae-derived biodiesel. in part. Unfortunately no test statistics were released at the time in order to assess the car’s gas mileage and emissions. has been the lack of tax relief. Pioneering this effort is Solazyme. economists are starting to denounce its adverse effect on global food prices. can be refined as to produce almost any type of fuel servicing transportation needs of vehicle operating over land. In November of 2012. according to Solazyme’s press release “in a 20% blend. algae avoids many of these concerns altogether. Algae-based bio-gasoline is also produced by extracting oil from the algae’s biomass. Even though ethanol-based biofuel is the most common worldwide 23.slightly less than $4. SoladieselBD (B20) significantly outperforms ultra-low sulfur diesel in total hydrocarbons (THC). Transportation Fuel . As was previously discussed. 40% of corn crops are being diverted to ethanol production 24. Algae for its part. However. air and sea. we would be looking at a potential demand for algae based biodiesel of 7. bio-gasoline can be immediately used as a drop-in substitute for conventional gasoline with any gasoline engine. the government has provided no such incentives for bio-gasoline of any sort. once the oil has been concentrated it is refined and turned into gas.Land Since land transportation worldwide is set to steadily increase as correlated with increasing wealth.2 billion gallons a year. Moreover. the potential to replace the fuel sources Figure 7: Transportation Energy Consumption by Fuel with land vehicles is enormous. leading to lower fuel economy. Moreover. Sapphire Energy was one of the first to introduce a renewable 91 octane gasoline derived from algae that complies with ASTM. from a rising oil demand. who in January of 2008 was the first company worldwide to road test a Mercedes Benz C320 with algae derived biodiesel 26. algae-based included. Competitors are attempting the same feat in an effort to gain a foothold in this market. the product costs as much as a conventional diesel . and the eagerness with which consumers have replaced petroleum fuels given the opportunity. The best part about the story is that on top of cutting carbon emissions. From there. One of the main roadblocks so far for broader adoption.Economics of Algae Fuels What can we use algae fuels for? Historically the U. Biofuels. if by 2020 we were to replace the annual 36 billion gallons 28 of U. In addition to biodiesel. a 20% reduction in CO and approximate 10% reduction in THC”. it can be distributed throughout the well-developed infrastructure that currently distributes gasoline derived from petroleum products without issue. 6 . In the US.25/gallon 27. consists of an 80/20 blend of conventional diesel and algae derived biodiesel. This includes an approximate 30% reduction in particulates.S. Bio-fueled and electrically powered vehicles seem to have been gaining the most traction in terms of eco-friendly solutions at the retail level. carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter tailpipe emissions. the production of ethanol also brings up some environmental concerns in terms of water consumption and pollution 25. there are additional advantages that we think will likely speed adoption even more compared to its predecessor biofuels.S. While ethanol has a long history of tax incentives to encourage consumption and production. public and private sector interest in developing biofuel fuels has emerged mostly due to its critical need to hedge itself against the risk of a global energy crisis arising. Solazyme’s product. Especially considering the increasingly environmental social conscience. According to the EIA. “Biodiesel B20”. for their part have recently gained significant popularity in both Brazil and the USA. the potential for algae-based fuels in this space is enormous. In 2008. it became the first company to offer algae derived biodiesel to motorists at a gas station in San Francisco. for example. In terms of market sizing. This fact stands in sharp contrast with the required infrastructural overhaul requirements of vehicle electrification. With the help of government subsidies and sponsoring companies such as Chevron though. and thus investment. transportation accounts for more than 25% of the world’s energy consumption and is consequently a lead primary target market for renewable biofuels. however. whereas ethanol-based fuels require a special engine and have lower combustion energies. Solazyme gave itself a time span of 3 years to improve its technology and mass produce algae derived biodiesel at competitive prices. One great attribute in employing algae derived biodiesel in transportations is that it can be used in any diesel engine with little or no modifications when mixed with mineral diesel.

5 $51. In a few years. The experience was so successful that Continental signed a letter of intent with Solazyme to buy 20 million gallons of algae-derived biofuel annually starting in 2014.6% of the airline’s jet fuel consumption as of 2011 29. it will also hedge their exposure to the highly volatile international market of crude oil.8 $23.2 $135 billion $110/barrel).2 billion gallons.including some 240 airline companies worldwide . These numbers all look very attractive. These companies. if on its first introduction bio-gasoline was to be blended with conventional gasoline at an 80/20 ratio (like for algae-based biodiesel). Figure 8: Gasoline Consumption Around the World Transportation Fuel .0 $111. this means that we are looking at potential airline market demand for biodiesel of approximately 7.6% US’ biogasoline daily demand.Now considering that the current consumption of motor gasoline fuel in the US is 8. While the US is by far the largest individual consumer.3 $34. airlines consumed a total of 18 billion gallons in 2011. In 2010.5 million barrels per day.4 $44 billion comparison to petroleum based jet fuel. India. In an attempt to motivate other airline companies to follow the same path as Continental. In 2011. a net increase of 10% in comparison to 2011. however they omit Year % of Operating Average Price per Break-Even Total Fuel Cost Costs Crude Barrel Price per Barrel one factor: the cost of using algae-derived biofuel in 2003 14% $28. and Brazil provides further plug-in opportunity for this market.S. Not only will algae-derived biodiesel promote their contribution to a greener planet.3 $117 billion industry operating costs or $207 billion (average of 2007 28% $73. with the combination effect of increasing crude oil prices (due to the carbon tax) and decreasing biofuel production costs (algae based). there is certainly room for competition here. most airlines will use a 60/40 ratio of petroleum to algae derived biodiesel. Continental Airlines flight 1403 to Chicago made history. 2008 33% $99. not unlike individual consumers. and assuming that like for Flight 1403. Sapphire’s production will only account for only 0.S.1 $176 billion 2012 F 33% $110. as it became the first commercial flight trip in the U. Transportation Fuel .5 $189 billion 2009 26% $62.9 $207 billion uncertainty in estimating its actual cost per barrel. the Navy test-ran a new energy saving strike force consisting of experimental gunboats running on a 50/50 mix of diesel and algae-based fuel provided by Solazyme. The 737 flight was fueled using a 60/40 ratio of petroleum to algae based biodiesel and the trip was as costly as a standard 100% high-octane Jet-A fuel flight.9 $125 billion Since algae-derived biofuel is not currently being produced 2010 26% $79. Various Table 2: Biofuel Break-Even Price for Airlines studies have put it at a cost of $150 to $160 per barrel in comparison to $120 to $130 per barrel for standard jet fuel as of June 2012.6 $139 billion on a commercial scale there is still a great degree of 2011 F 30% $111.Air Further facilitating its emergence on the global stage.0 $58. it was 2004 17% $38. The Pentagon for instance has recently expressed great interest in working with Solazyme in an attempt to increase the Navy’s fuel efficiency and reduce its dependence on international exports of crude oil.0 $82. Crude Oil IATA’s goal is to have 10% of its members us a mix of biofuels in its jet fuel by 2017 30. powered by biofuel.has committed itself to supporting research development and deployment of algae fuels.0 $82. are looking to significantly reduce their carbon dioxide footprint. the International Air Transport Association . The chart on the left provides an overview of the global market. As of 2012.2 $116. algae-based biofuel has been attracting large players such as airline companies. The results were so satisfying that the Navy decided to 7 . Figure 9: Jet Fuel Spread vs. The 20 million however.5 $65 billion 2005 22% $54.4 $89. growth in emerging markets like China.Sea The Solazyme success story does not seem to be stopping with its pilot successes in aviation. Considering that U. we may see a huge expansion of algae-based biodiesel in the airline industry.8 $91 billion estimated that jet fuel accounts for 33% of the airline 2006 26% $65.1 $68. only represents 0. however. It is convenient in estimating market demand from global aviation that traditional and algae-produced jet fuels are drop-in replacements for one another. thus.

4 million barrels of crude yearly. although a notable limitation of the study is the lack of availability of commercial-scale systems data which represents a truer picture of financial feasibility. Throughout the month long experiment a team of engineers tested blends ranging from 7% to 100% 31.73/gal and $31. investors might also consider direct investments in project finance within the space. one can argue that algae-based biodiesel will have a potential market demand of at least 9. and cosmetic products. 37 They can also be used in such diverse applications as food additives. only recently have these studies indicated a reasonable probability for success using commonly available and scalable techniques. However. Both initiatives are part of a Navy broader drive to operate half of its fleet on a mix of nuclear power and renewable fuels by 2020 33. Notably. 34 Looking at the numbers. Navy.500 nautical miles. Another important consideration is the potentially high value byproducts associated with algae fuels production. In order to do so. then the total amounts to 37. Such high-value products could shift the economics further in algae’s favor easily. vitamins and minerals. addressing the problem of eutrophication in watersheds while simultaneously reducing overall costs by producing energy from the harvested algae. Project Finance Opportunities In addition to investments in public equities of companies focusing on algae fuel production. and other farm operations. These studies found that the chance of economic success at these baseline level is low (essentially. feed for poultry. These numbers are in line with mid-2012 production data. the US Navy and the Danish company Maersk cooperated to test algae-based fuel on a 300 meter container ship traveling a distance of 6. if we consider that the Pentagon purchases approximately 117 million barrels of crude oil yearly to supply the Air Force. Figure 10: Economic Feasibility Based on CapEx and OpEx Reductions (PBR) Figure 11: Economic Feasibility Based on CapEx and OpEx Reductions (Open Pond) The economics associated with algae are changing rapidly. 8 . and that 32% of this goes to the Navy exclusively 35. One recent study 36 focused on the ‘probability of economic success’ by assessing the total marginal improvements from a baseline level representing a production cost of $12. it does suggest a tradeoff between reductions in capital expenditure and operating expenditure that could lead to a profitable operation. calcium. and Army.expand its experiment to a heavier grade of fleet carriers. If we assume that that the Navy will use a 50/50 mix of diesel and algae-based biofuel to operate half of its fleet by 2020.61/gal for open pond and PBR systems4 respectively. 0%) which is not surprising given the stage of development that commercial efforts are still in. algae can be used to reduce the phosphate content of wastewater in municipal environments. Numerous studies have been conducted to assess the feasibility of constructing and operating algae farms of different designs. many studies conducted have failed to include such important considerations a price for carbon capture/sequestration or even the rising price of oil in their assumptions.35 million barrels/year just within the Navy. dairy. The result was a great success as highlighted by Maersk’s Head of Climate and Environment: “We are pleased to see progress on algae-based biofuels and we encourage further development to make such fuels available at commercial scale” 32.

According to the EIA. the positive economic impact of avoiding wild petroleum price swings. 4168.S crude imports were cut by 30% during the embargo and the world price of crude jumped from approximately $15 (1973) a barrel to $50 (1974). Navy.Potential for and Impact of Government Subsidies on Industry The first and second generation of biofuels developed behind large subsidies and high protective tariffs designed primarily to foster the production and consumption of ethanol-based fuels. at the same 21 billion gallon standard by 2022. a piece of legislation that essentially gives algae-based fuels tax parity with cellulosic biofuels with respect to a $1. As a recognition of sorts for the successes displayed by the industry.” One threat that arises from the lack of public funding for algae fuels is that private firms will succeed in what some perceive as their intention of locking up the fundamental pathways for production with intellectual property protections. In a speech given at the University of Miami. export-heavy public and private sector jobs that could develop within the algae industry. and the number of highpaid. 40 Outside of traditional direct subsidies on production and investment. While these kinds of protections are to some extent necessary to encourage private sector investment in the first place. Further escalation in the region coupled with the disruption of oil exports through the Strait of Hormuz will result in addition of a significant risk premium to the price of crude oil. Geopolitical Security and Environmental Concerns According to the IEA. As with any groundbreaking new technology. and Iran over its nuclear program. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) issues the following statement: “Currently.” Algae certainly has friends in high places. algae. there has also been a move by government to directly fund the research and development lately. however. a much more sinister motive has already emerged as big-oil and agribusiness companies reliant on ethanol production pursue patents that would lock new entrants out of the technology needed to produce algae fuels efficiently. Of note is an announcement by the US of $510MM to be invested. Similar legislation has 42 been introduced in the U. some in Congress are even calling for an end to ethanol subsidies in lieu of similar subsidies for algae. and other technologies. 38 On the other hand. President Obama made a claim that algae-based fuels could replace 17% of the petroleum consumed in the United States in the foreseeable future. “The passage of this bill is a huge first step towards our goal of creating parity for algae-based biofuels within the tax code and among various other government programs. Today. with growing tensions between the U. the House of Representatives passed H. the House sent an unmistakable message of bipartisan support to the hundreds of companies. including cellulosic.9 million barrels/day as of 2011 43. Executive Director of ABO. the initial stages of development are bound to be fraught with failures. The senators’ bill would remedy that situation by removing the cellulosic biofuel carve-out.9 million barrels of imports daily 44. a tab split by the United States Department of Agriculture. House by Reps.S. In addition to touting the positive environmental impact of such a shift.S. In order to meet its domestic demand. scientists. he also directly addressed issues of national security due to energy availability. As expressed in the chart below. and the U. decrease emissions and reduce our nation’s dependence on imported fossil fuels. The irony societies may then face is a world with viable solutions to an emerging energy crisis. the US is the biggest crude oil consumer worldwide with 18. the results were mixed. Since January 2012. the economic sanctions on Iran have adversely affected its economy by increasing inflation and decreasing oil exports. in hopes that they will reap their rewards at a date far down the road. Its substantial dependence on these international imports makes it extremely vulnerable to coping with black swan geopolitical events causing high volatility in crude oil prices. To briefly summarize a complex and contentious issue. Overall in the span of 7 years the world price for crude oil appreciated by 520%. the US needs to rely on 8. Depending on the level of escalation. now that most consider algae to be on the tail-end of the R&D stage and moving into commercialization. algae-based biofuels developed initially in the near-total absence of any such subsidies.S.01/gal tax credit and a 50 percent bonus depreciation on biofuel plant property. this risk premium has been estimated to potentially rise in the range of $23-$140 45. 41 “Today. In an effort to show that they still support green initiatives but also to remove themselves from the debacle which has erupted over corn-based ethanol subsidies. thus creating a technology neutral category that includes all advanced biofuels. entrepreneurs and government agencies working to accelerate the development of algae-based fuels. Those rewards may now be coming to fruition. Many industry 39 observers actually perceive this as fortuitous. Brian Bilbray (R-CA-50) and Jay Inslee (D-WA-01). but with no practical access to implement those solutions from the same companies that benefit from that stand to benefit from that crisis in the first place.” said Mary Rosenthal. Private concerns are far more likely to be willing to absorb the losses which are part of funding this stage of development. which will create jobs. government subsidies are likely to draw public attention to these failures and jeopardize the otherwise substantial progress that is being made in the field.R. the large majority of the advanced biofuel standard is limited to only cellulosic biofuels – creating an uneven playing field for other advanced biofuels like algae. U. During the Iranian revolution the price of crude spiked again from $46 (1978) a barrel to $93(1979). the Department of Energy. events overseas such as the 1973-1974 Arab oil embargo and the 1978-1979 Iranian revolution coupled with a decrease in domestic oil were more than sufficient catalysts at the time to drive up the price of crude drastically. To better hedge itself against the possibility of another 9 . experts fear that history will potentially repeat itself especially in case of a spreading regional conflict.

RPG (…) threats and will continue to accrue preventable Level III and IV serious and grave casualties resulting from motor vehicle accidents and . It all started with a simple directive. It also raises serious concerns in terms of water utilization and consumption of nitrogen and phosphorus to achieve large-scale commercial production. said Friends of the Earth. land and the nutrients you need." Jen Stutsman said in a statement.5 billion gallons would be needed to produce 10 billion gallons of algae-based biofuels. Zilmer believes that a 30% reduction in US use of petroleum could significantly enhance America’s national security interests 47. America’s dependency on crude recently gave way to an additional and new form of criticism: its threat to national security from a military perspective. Zilmer issued a statement promoting the immediate need for military to make more use of renewable fuels: “(The Marine Corps must) augment our use of fossil fuels with renewable energy (…). Quantitatively. running convoys through battle zones is such a burden that “by the time it reaches war zone the true cost of a gallon of petrol is well over $400” 49. but it also highlights the long-term potential of this technology and why it is worth pursuing. nitrate and phosphate. "Today's report outlines the need for continued research and development to make algal biofuel sustainable and cost-competitive. that under current techniques. attacks. not only energy input. the National Research Council (NRC) convened a committee of 15 experts in 2012 to examine the sustainability of algae biofuels. Continued casualty accumulation exhibits potential to jeopardize mission success” 46. But estimates of greenhouse emissions from algal biofuels cover a wide range.” – Jennie Hunter-Cevera The National Research Council report shows that the government should continue research on algal biofuel as well as other technologies that reduce oil use. an Energy Department spokeswoman said. "Algae production poses a double-edged threat to our water resources. stressed however that this is not a definitive rejection of algal biofuels. water. a biofuels campaigner with the group. but water.. . we can decrease the frequency of logistics convoys on the road. Nevertheless. If this need is not met. thereby reducing the danger to our Marines. it said. A great majority of these convoys were transporting mostly fuel. . but recognition that they may not be ready to supply even 5 percent. with some suggesting that over their life cycle. The report finds amongst other potential concerns. . . Zilmer was assigned to task of bringing down the casualty numbers. Industry group Algal Biomass 10 . Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (DOE-EERE) Biomass Program. From a cost perspective. As we have seen previously. transportation fuel needs: "Faced with today's technology. to scale up any more is going to put really big demands on . In response to this fast growing issue. and sailors .3 billion gallons.S from achieving this goal are politicians and biofuel costs. in the contemporary Washington landscape. By reducing the need for [petroleum-based fuels]." Michal Rosenoer. the U. an environmental group. diesel and combustibles to supply his troops in remote areas.S is considering all kinds of alternatives energy sources. In order to make enough algae biofuels to replace just 5% of U. annual transportation fuel needs would also require 44-107% of the total nitrogen and 20-51% of the total phosphorus consumed annually in the US. the report finds that at least 32. The report itself focused on the efficiency of producing biofuels from both microalgae and cyanobacteria with respect to energy. General Richard C. said in a statement. the energy needed to produce algae-based biofuel is more than the energy provided by the fuel itself. could enhance the viability of algal biofuels. algae-based biofuels is slowly becoming understood one of the most viable solutions for addressing this US dependence on crude oil imports. The report shows the strategy is too risky. Zilmer noted that “the prevailing political sentiment. and nutrient requirements. operating forces will remain unnecessarily exposed to IED.S. The only two obstacles preventing the U. the fuels release more climate-warming gas than petroleum. the US has to start diversifying its portfolio of transport fuel as to include more renewable fuels..S. It said a main reason to use alternative fuels for transportation is to cut climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions created by burning fossil fuel. soldiers. The council's report noted that future innovations. of U. Jennie Hunter-Cevera. To put it simply. Zilmer is the first military official to pull the alarm on this issue. already strained by the drought. Risks Long Term Potential Unknown At the request of the Department of Energy.” “Algal biofuels is still a teenager that needs to be developed and nurtured. In terms of water.conflict in the Middle East. the head of the committee that wrote the NRC report. is that the initiatives are liberal ideas (…). it is true that from a number perspective a $2-$3 gallon of crude is way more attractive than paying $27 for a gallon of algae-based biofuel. General Richard Zilmer was the commanding general of one of the most menacing provinces of Iraq in 2006. . At the time the region was witnessing a dramatic increase in the IED (improvised explosive device) attacks on convoy roads. Zilmer asserts that the military’s addiction to crude could potentially cost America the war in Iraq let alone countless American lives. We need a bipartisan effort on this to make sure it's legislation that transcends 48 administrations” . or approximately 10. back in 2010 other military officials such as Admiral Philip Cullom argued that in Afghanistan. In order to achieve this goal and preserve its economic and military supremacy. and increased production efficiencies. like carbon dioxide.

the fracking boom may actually present a significant opportunity for algae." 50 Sapphire also recycles its nutrient inputs so nothing is released as runoff into the environment. vice president of corporate affairs for Sapphire Energy. An initial test was conducted in which algae was able to remove 98% of hydrocarbons from the sample. An abundance of natural gas could allegedly put downward pressure on energy prices as technologies develop to capitalize on its low cost and adapt it to a variety of demanded applications. causing contamination of drinking sources. we believe in the potential for algae-based biofuels to rapidly expand their market share and feel that there currently exists a critical window of opportunity for investments in the industry. For example. Fundamentally. while acknowledging that algae is a step in the right direction in terms of the food vs. these nutrients will not be properly maintained on site and will leak into groundwater. believes that the issue of water is a non-starter: "They rightly point out the issues around freshwater use. a success substantial enough that led Riggs Eckleberry. but was unable to produce a drop before going bankrupt in January 2011. based in Colorado. Thus. Many of these concerns are more relevant to earlier iterations of algae cultivation techniques and less so (or not at all) relevant to the most modern ones. "We hope that policymakers and others involved in the future of the domestic fuel industry will recognize the NRC's conclusion that sustainability concerns are not a definitive barrier to future growth. was a notable failure. there are also concerns regarding the timeliness of the biofuel conversation. although water utilization and contamination concerns persist. the resurgence of another biofuel has not been without controversy. This water typically adds $2-5USD per barrel of oil to the drilling operations. “flowback water” is the noxious brew of chemicals. but I know of no [algae] company using fresh water. A start-up known as OriginOil has devised a method to process the water used in gas and oil drilling.” 54 Conclusion In conclusion. only bio-fuels offer the drop-in solution that could allow for the immediate transition from petroleum based fuels. In the process.” 53 Potential for Short-Term Alternative Replacements With the recent explosion of natural gas hydro-fracking. Kenneth Green.” following a pattern that Green has described as the “green kiss of death. CEO of OriginOil to say: ”The perception is that natural gas is upsetting biofuels. 11 . and more importantly by broadcasting that funding. similar to electric vehicles simply require too much infrastructural overhaul to make them feasible replacements in the short term. While algae investment continues full-steam ahead for the time being. Talk of expanding the production of compressed or liquefied natural gas (CNG or LNG) for example is actually less relevant for the sake of immediate alternative transportation fuels considering the same impediments faced by electrification. vocalize other concerns around the water and nutrient usage required for large-scale algae production. some are concerned that in addition to the high nitrogen and phosphorus usage. for many. particularly in relation to biofuel development efforts. After notable “green failures” of the Obama administration. the detractors do not always keep up with the pace of the industry in their criticisms. and make funding of it an unreliable political football. the Obama administration is actually doing itself a disservice in its attempts to move away from a petroleum-fueled economy. One vocal group are the conservationists who. was another green failure that attracted significant media scrutiny and certainly has not helped the overall situation. Time Zenk. As has been demonstrated with ethanol. despite the numerous successes of a company like Solazyme. Furthermore. It helps for us to have role in fracking. mitigating the environmental impact of the drilling process itself while at the same time reducing production costs. Technological developments and rapid expansion of production have set the stage for a fast-approaching tipping point of its commercial economic viability and as a result capital invested prior to this is likely to achieve significant returns. lure irresponsible rent-seekers into the process. Range Fuels. Competitors like CNG and LNG. These types of fallouts put algae in a tough spot as it aims to ramp up its commercialscale capabilities. and petroleums that mixes with drilling water whenever fracturing takes place. however. minerals. Getting more attention than environmental concerns presently has been financial ones. Politicizing algae research may have a disastrous effect on the research itself. which grew 64% from 2010-2011.Organization focused on the positives in its statement. it would behoove the potential investor in this space to be mindful of developments from the conservation angle. a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Coincidentally in fact. the fact that it even posts a quarterly loss once attracts op-eds in the Washington Times calling algae a “goofy gas. turtles would 52 rule the road." Political Risk Despite high-profile endorsements from the Obama administration. far from detracting from algae’s potential. fuel debate. receiving $162 million in federal and state loans for a factory to produce 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol. while not involved in the biofuels space. watch groups have begun to take a much closer look at where taxpayer dollars are going. It could “force responsible private-sector money out of the effort. 51 Solyndra.” This type of scrutiny has led some to believe that it would be better for government to stay out of algae development entirely.” and statements like "If algae were the answer. This will only make algae interest stronger. has suggested that by funding research into biofuels.

or for using relatively less polluting natural gas. unlike previous generations of biofuels that were burdened with concerns over the prioritization of limited food. which are responsible for one third of our carbon emissions. truck. they offer a turnkey solution to an America that is less dependent on fossil fuels to get around. Even though Americans make up only 4% of the global population.S. The US in particular cannot afford to wait much longer to solve its petroleum addiction. algae efficiently provide the high oil and biomass content that is used to produce biofuels and a wide variety of by-products without any of these requirements.While we don’t expect that algae-based biofuels will replace anywhere close to one hundred percent of petroleum-based fuels in transportation. Perfectly suited to existing petroleum-based infrastructure like internal combustion engines and petrol stations. imported oil over the next decade will cost more than the entire current national debt. Figure 13: Summarizing Algae 12 . consumes 25% of the world’s fossil energy. Unlike these other options. unlike other renewable energy resources. algae-based biofuels promise to make a significant contribution to the transportation sector and landscape. biofuels Figure 12: Algae Farm of the Future? don’t require the transformation of existing infrastructure. Firstly. Secondly. over $10 trillion. biofuels don’t contribute to climate change on any comparable scale. we nonetheless anticipate it to soon start providing a small proportion and to incrementally increase this share in the future. Recent achievements of industry leaders in demonstrating its opportune suitability for replacing existing petroleum-based fuels and the abundance of private and public capital flowing to further refinement of its technologies all contribute to our attractive valuation of investments in this space. the U. This is in contrast to opportunities for harnessing the power of intermittent renewable energy resources like solar and wind to produce electricity. land and water resources for fuel. The value proposition of algae as a fuel source is simply tremendous. 55 Offering the security of energy independence and carbon neutrality. biofuels offer an immediately viable alternative to existing petroleum-based fuels. Instead. ship and airplane tanks. America has only 3% of the world’s oil reserves and currently imports about 65% of the 23 million barrels a day consumed. unlike petroleum-based fuels. algae-based biofuels offer a drop-in replacement to car. If America fails to move to energy independence. Lastly.

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