Algae biofuels may provide a viable alternative to fossil fuels; however, this technology must overcome a number of hurdles before it can compete in the fuel market and be broadly deployed. These challenges include strain identification and improvement, both in terms of oil productivity and crop protection, nutrient and resource allocation and use, and the production of co-products to improve the economics of the entire system. Although there is much excitement about the potential of algae biofuels, much work is still required in the field. In this article, we attempt to elucidate the major challenges to economic algal biofuels at scale, and improve the focus of the scientific community to address these challenges and move algal biofuels from promise to reality.
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