Just over 10 years ago Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, vowed to donate over $3 billion to fight global warming by developing low carbon fuels, and in particular a seaweed-based biofuel for aeroplanes. In an exclusive interview with the BBC in 2008 he advocated for: “A fuel that doesn’t affect our food security […] fuels such as algae-based biofuels that can be grown and don’t eat into the food supply.” Influenced by the surge in crude oil prices between 2003 and 2008, and subsequent boom in plant-based biofuels, interest in developing alternative fuels became a priority. In this context, algae biofuel emerged as the next big thing, a biofuel that didn’t impinge on food security.  However, to date algae biofuel production is less than one million gallon...