The algae industry is growing and improving everyday. The articles and opinions listed here may be outdated by newer technologies, and are only intended to provide a background.
In open ponds, the productivity ranges from 10-35 grams/meter^2/day (36-128 metric tons/hectare/year). For photobioreactors, larger productivities on the order of double or more open ponds, with higher CAPEX.
Algae contain 5-50% oil. When converted to biodiesel, they produce between 1500-6000 US gallons/acre/year (14,000-90,000 liters/hectare/year). Potential for even higher productivity exists.
Algae Growth Inputs
Algae need a steady supply of CO2, light, water, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients in order to grow. Algae uptake about 1.8 grams of CO2 per gram of grown algae (70-260 MT/HA/year).
Wastewater treatment may be a profitable avenue for algae biofuels in the short term: A Realistic Technology and Engineering Assessment of Algae Biofuel Production
Cold weather algae production: comparing photosynthetic vs. the heterotrophic option: Microalgae Technologies and Processes for Biofuels/Bioenergy Production in British Columbia