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Algae Tech To Bloom

I think this topic is highly relevant and therefore I publish the full article from Wired below. Our food consumption is out of control and we waste more food than ever before. Like Dan states clearly in this article, our problem is that we  are beginning to exhaust resources like water, land, power supplies, at the same time as we also start to see the effects of climate change. We need new ways of producing food, cattle feed, fish feed and fiber, we need production systems that are more efficient and more stable for unpredictable weather changes. Algae truly rest at the very base of all life on earth and are the food source for what OUR food eats.. So why not go back to the original source?

With Food Supply and Demand on Collision Course, Algae Tech to Bloom

“The overlap of climate change and global food production limitations is beginning to loom large for academics and policymakers, who are putting these two trend-lines together. If global population growth tracks as projected, we’ll see the nine billionth person born sometime in 2050. Add to that the rapidly increasing purchasing power of poorer nations and you get a world that will soon be demanding 50-70 percent more food (special emphasis on the meat and fish-based protein) than we produce today, according to a United Nations study. (Source: State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture”, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, November 2011)

Match this data with information leaked from the most recent IPCC report (to be published in March 2014) linking climate change with food supply disruptions. The leaked report points to a widening gap, with agricultural output rising a mere 2 percent each decade for the rest of the century, while the demand for food is projected to rise at a staggering 14 percent each decade during the same timeframe. In the face of a rising population, a more volatile climate and an increasingly difficult food production paradigm, new tools are needed to adapt to this new status quo.

Are current food production systems enough?

Modern farmers have gotten pretty good at producing food. We have over seven billion people on the planet, supported by a robust commodity market of staple foods that have nourished society and afforded enough comfort and food security to enable complex social movements, creative thought, science-based innovation, medicine, art and culture. You don’t get any of these without a great agricultural foundation that is reliably filling stomachs. The problem is that we are beginning to exhaust resources; land, water, power supplies – and the effect of climate change is beginning to take its toll.

As academic and scientific disputes over the drivers of climate change rage on, the effects are no longer open for debate. Farmers around the world have been seeing proof points of climatic shifts for decades and they know that weather affects their livelihood. Fluctuations in anything as basic as rainfall, for example, wreak havoc on a farmer’s ability to bring a crop from seed to harvest.

Regardless of the primary driver of climate change, all indications from the scientific community point to a new reality unfolding where we will continue to see increased frequency of extreme weather events (e.g. Sandy, Haiyan). We’re also going to see increased volatility in weather patterns that simply make weather more unpredictable. In short, farmers and their customers may be in for a macroeconomic roller-coaster ride.

The world is going to need new ways of producing food, feed and fiber. We need production systems that produce more efficiently (i.e. with more production per resources used) and production systems that are not so susceptible to the unpredictable changes in climate.

Going Back to the Original Source

If you harken back to your seventh grade biology class, you should remember food webs, the interdependency of the environment and how very small organisms are critical to the fragile balance in an ecosystem. Algae represent one of those small, critical groups of organisms, perhaps the most critical. Algae truly rest at the very base of all life on earth and are the food source for what our food eats. They are one of the oldest families of living organisms on the planet and are ultimately responsible for producing most of the oxygen we breathe, the fuel we put in our cars, the quality soil we use to produce our food and the base nutrition that nourishes the planet.

Although nature utilizes the full value of algae, society has yet to. To date, humans produce only a couple hundred thousand tons of algae annually and out of more than 100,000 species, humans produce less than 20. At Heliae, we’ve begun to unlock the potential of this family of organisms and are looking for novel new algae technology to bring algae-based products to mainstream markets.

Some algae have a powerful role to play as a new source of high-value nutrition for animals and people, assisting in our ability to feed an increasing number of hungry people. Other algae holds the key to a new wave of sustainable fertilizers that increase plant yields while giving nutrients and structure back to the soil for future harvests. Our production trials show increases in the amount of food we can produce per acre, thereby reducing some of the demand pressure we see on food stocks in the future.

Heliae recognizes the increasingly volatile supply and demand paradigm between agricultural production and population growth. New tools are needed, and we see new algae technology as one of many resources that need to be utilized to enable society to increase the carrying capacity of planet.

In the past, humans have innovated heavily to bring land-based agriculture to its current state. The production of water-based plants offers an entirely new frontier. We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of what algae can do, but the pipeline of opportunity coming from this family of organisms is robust and timely. Algae were some of the first life on the planet and over time have adapted in the midst of massive change. We’re convinced it will help society do the same.”

This post was published by Dan Simon, President/ CEO of Heliae Technology for



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