A one acre pond of algae produces up to 20,000 gallons of oil per year. A closed system vertical bioreactor such as the one shown in the above video can use land even more efficiently. According to Valcent, a company developing algae related energy solutions, if an area one tenth the size of the state of New Mexico were committed to algae it could supply the entire energy needs of the United States. Valcent anticipates that it can achieve yields of 100,000 gallons of oil per acre per year.
Valcent recently issued a press release regarding the productivity they were seeing with their bioreactor:
The research and development team of Valcent Products Inc. has now completed twelve months of the algae vertical bioreactor development program. During a 90-day continual production test, algae was being harvested at an average of one gram (dry weight) per liter. This equates to algae bio mass production of 276 tons of algae per acre per year. Achieving the same biomass production rate with an algal species having 50% lipids (oil) content would therefore deliver approximately 33,000 gallons of algae oil per acre per year.