A new report states that the algae biofuel industry could see 43 percent annual growth over the next 3 years, creating a $1.6 billion market for the product by 2015.

SBI Energy reports that the growth is due to a combination of increased private investments and partnerships in the sector, which is furthering the commercial development and production of algae-based biofuels. “Strategic partnerships from ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Dow Chemical, Desmet Ballestra and many others will drive the investment needed to successfully commercialize algae biofuels,” said Shelley Carr of SBI. “Private investment and venture capital will also provide funding through 2015.”

Due to the fact that up to 5,000 gallons of algae biofuel can be produced on just one acre of land, any CO2 emitted when burning it is captured during the growth cycle, it has minimal environmental impacts, and unlike fossil fuels it is mostly harmless if spilled, algae is seen by many as the fuel of the future. The U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard requires that we produce 21 billion gallons of alternative, renewable fuels per year by 2022 and the Energy Department believes we could replace all petroleum fuel with algae utilizing only 15,000 square miles of land. Investing in the algae biofuel industry seems a no-brainer at this point.

Even the U.S. Navy is getting in on the action and is utilizing a blend of biofuels and traditional fuel for its Pacific fleet. When the military starts to see the benefits of using cleaner, renewable fuel sources such as biofuels, it’s only a matter of time before government investment pours into the sector. Add that to the projections of SBI’s report and the industry could see explosive growth even before 2015.

[via Sustainable Business]

Image Credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery/Flickr