Esquire has a short little article outlining the top four ways that algae can be used for energy production.
Most scientists believe photosynthesis is the key to algae oil. Solazyme sees it as the problem. Algae can convert sunlight into chemical energy, but not nearly as efficiently as other materials–industrial wastes, switchgrass, low-grade molasses–can. So Solazyme designed a process that lets algae feed in the dark on input biomass rather than sunlight, cutting down the conversion process from weeks to days. The company’s end-product diesels meet the same standards as nonalgal diesels, and it expects their price to be on par in two to three years. Until then, the company, which signed a development agreement with Chevron this year, will continue to clock miles in its algae-powered cars, standard vehicles purchased straight off the lot.