Skis, Skincare, and More: Making Better Products With Algae

Materials innovation company Checkerspot is using microalgae to create a sustainable alternative to petroleum

Molecular biologist Scott Franklin has spent the last 25 years in awe of the secret properties of microalgae—what he calls “the mother of all higher plants.” While many people consider it an environmental scourge—certain species have the power to proliferate into a toxic bloom within hours—microalgae is, for Franklin, a wondrous source of triglyceride oils and fatty acids. “There are thousands of strains of microalgae everywhere, but you don’t see them,” he says. “There’s a huge diversity out there.”

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