Scientists first made biodiesel from algae in the laboratory. Once that works, they move on to "demonstration" or "pilot" scale, which shows it works outside the lab, but not big enough to actually make money. Once that works, they move on to commercial scale, which is big enough to make a profit and sell it on an ongoing basis.
Progress seen in biodiesel fuel production locally
CARLSBAD — A major milestone has been reached in local efforts to produce a high quality biodiesel fuel from algae oil.
The Center of Excellence for Hazardous Materials Management recently harvested commercial-scale quantities of algae from its test salt water ponds located at New Mexico State University Agriculture Science Center in north Eddy County . . . . the produced oil appears to have all the right profiles for making high quality biodiesel fuel.
"This marks an historical milestone in developing the technology necessary to make endlessly renewable fuel that does not compete with food crops for resources."
Prather-Stroud said the center is projecting construction and operation of a commercial-scale integrated system for producing algae oil within the next 18 to 24 months.