Table 5: A SWOT analysis for microalgae.

PositiveNegative

StrengthsWeaknesses
(i) Algal-oil processes into biodiesel as easy as oil derived from land-based crops.(i) Difficult to find an algal strain with a high lipid content and fast growth rate that is not too difficult to harvest, cost-effective and that is best suited to region where it is going to be produced (genetic modified species could be a solution, but it causes another threat)
(ii) Algae are the fastest-growing plants in the world. The per unit area yield of oil from algae is estimated to be 7–31 times greater than the next best crop, palm oil(ii) Not the same species for different regions
Internal(iii) Algae consume carbon dioxide as they grow(iii) Still commercially immature technology: no many large-scale companies in production
(iv) Algae are very important as a biomass source(iv) Environmental sustainability of algae-based biofuel is still uncertain due to insufficient data and not many Life Cycle Assessment (LCAs) have been made
(v) Algae can be grown almost anywhere, even on sewage or salt water and do not require fertile land or food crops(v) Extraction and processing is still expensive compared to other biofuels
(vi) Large-scale production could present many other drawbacks compared to those found in laboratory experiments

OpportunitiesThreats
(i) Possibility of production of other higher value products for commercialization [28] and access other markets(i) If future demand for biofuels fall radically, this industry could face bankruptcy 
(ii) Subsidies and policies could turn this technology economically feasible(ii) Market and societal acceptance is still unclear
External(iii) As algae consume carbon dioxide as they grow, they could be used to capture CO2 from power stations and other industrial plants that would otherwise go into the atmosphere(iii) If genetically modified, it could generate regulatory limitations and societal disavowal
(iv) Integrated algae-based biorefinery model could be adopted(iv) Diffusion difficulties: the large number of competing fuels could delay algal biofuels to achieve high growth on the basis of cost
(v) Algae-based fuel properties allow the use in jet fuels

Source: authors.