Basics of Algae
Basics of Algae


Some researchers and companies are pursuing an alternative approach to growing algae using sunlight: growing them in the dark on sugars, in a so-called “heterotrophic” fermentation. The algae convert the sugars to oil and biomass, which can be converted into biofuels, chemicals, nutritional products, cosmetics, etc.

San Francisco-based company Solazyme, the pioneer of this method, has already produced tens of thousands of gallons of algae-based fuels as part of their research and development agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency to provide the US Navy with significant quantities of advanced HRD-76 marine diesel fuel and HRJ-5 aviation fuel. These fuels have been successfully tested at 50/50 blends with petroleum in vehicles ranging from an MH60S Seahawk helicopter to a Riverine Command Boat, among many other platforms. Solazyme is also producing renewable oils for the chemicals, nutrition and skin and personal care space utilizing today’s existing industrial scale fermentation capacity.


UCSD’s Dr. Mitchell gives a lesson in algae 101

Basics of AlgaePhotos

CLICK HERE for more photos about algae basics

Test Your Knowledge!

Take our fun – and short – quiz to see how much you know about algae. Compare with your friends!

Take the Algae Quiz
Learn more!

For more information about what you’ve read on this page, click on the button below.

Learn more about Algae

Join Algae Nation
We need your help! Join the growing number of people who are supporting the development of the algae industry. Enter your email and join our newsletter list for updates and news on the industry. is produced and hosted by the Algae Biomass Organization, which advocates for the US algae industry. More »