Microalgae grow approximately ten times faster than land plants and thereby bind enormous amounts of carbon dioxide. Dried, they can contain almost twice as much protein as beef or soybeans. They also contain unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and fiber in different concentrations, which vary from species to species. Therefore, it is not surprising that futurology reports describe microalgae not only as a productive biomass for fuel and feed, but also as a potentially important source of nutrients for humans.
Today, half of our food products already contain additives from algae, often as a natural binding agent. An attempt to use microalgae in new foods and to popularize its use has now started with the sale of the (low-sugar) Algae lemonade Helga in Austria.
Microalgae can be breed in glass tubes when exposed to sunlight and are therefore an option for areas that cannot or are no longer able to use conventional agriculture. The German network TERM (technology for the exploration of the resource microalgae) is currently working on a unique European pilot plant, which uses in a photo-bioreactor to optimize the mass cultivation of microalgae, aiming to make it more energy efficient. Scientists from different universities in northern Germany, and the Fraunhofer Institute are involved in this project.
E.on, a German energy group, is also involved in this project. On their website they reported about the project: http://www.eon.com/en/business-areas/renewable-energy-source/bio-energy/microalgae.html