Bio-Fuel – The consumption of crude oil worldwide is approximately 85 million barrels per day – nearly $2.5 trillion per annum at market prices – and rests almost entirely on non-renewable fossil fuel sources. The discovery and development of new oil reserves has slowed significantly since peaking in the 1960s and the cost of exploration – usually into deeper wells, offshore, or in politically-unstable regions – has exploded, while consumption has continued to climb virtually without stop except during the 1970s OPEC-led crisis. The growth of India’s and China’s economies, with a third of the world’s population between them, has led to further significant increases in the demand for oil in the past decade. As a result, crude oil prices are forecasted to increase virtually continually into the future. This has led to the search for alternative, renewable sources of oil beyond fossil fuels. One such source is oil extracted from algae which has been demonstrated to be refinable into standard biodiesel and used in a variety of engine types including automobiles and aircraft. The use of algae-based biodiesel has been limited by the production yields of current processes, rendering the economics insufficient to be competitive with even expensive fossil-fuel sourced oil. VG Energy’s product can move the biofuel industry towards cost-competitive production models, and the company is now seeking to commercialize its technology through additional research collaborations and licensing with established energy producers.
Agriculture – Over 60 million metric tons of edible oils are produced annually, with the leading varieties being palm, soybean, rapeseed (“Canola”), and sunflower oils. The market for seeds alone (used for germination and growth of new plants, as opposed to extracting oil) is valued at over $14 billion per annum and includes global leaders such as Monsanto and Dupont. VG Energy’s technology is being developed with an eye to increasing the yields of plant oils derived from seeds and nuts, which would dramatically increase productivity and lower the costs of these essential foodstuffs.