Manchin, Whitehouse tour algae facility, discuss role of CO2 utilization

October, 13 / 2014
Senators Joe Manchin (left) and Sheldon Whitehouse (middle) meet with BioProcess Algae CEO Tim Burns (right)

Senators Joe Manchin (left) and Sheldon Whitehouse (middle) meet with BioProcess Algae CEO Tim Burns (right)

In a sign of growing awareness among policy makers of carbon utilization as a climate change mitigation platform, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) today paid a joint visit to ABO platinum member BioProcess Algae in Portsmouth, RI, to see first-hand how algae can be used to convert waste CO2 into valuable products at cost-competitive prices.

The visit was part of a two-state tour by the Senate colleagues to witness the impacts of climate change on coastal communities and the importance of coal in West Virginia.  In June, the Senators joined together for a colloquy on the Senate floor to discuss the effects of climate change and the importance of coal in America’s energy portfolio.

During the tour, Sen. Whitehouse discussed the strain that climate change, development and over-fishing have had on the state’s fisheries, and noted that algae not only help address climate change, but offer an alternative source of oils and protein that could ease demand on fish-derived sources of these nutritional components.  BioProcess Algae CEO, Tim Burns, noted that the company’s algae production facility in Shenandoah, Iowa, is already delivering algae-derived fish and animal feed produced from waste CO2.

For his part, Sen. Manchin stressed the need for federal policy to support the development of CO2 utilization technologies. “Carbon can be a product instead of a problem,” he noted, pointing out that large coal-fired power plants in his state and elsewhere sit on large areas of underutilized land that could support algae carbon utilization projects.

ABO has been leading a campaign to secure approval by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the use of carbon capture and utilization (CCU) technologies to meet the emissions reductions targets set by the agency for new and existing power plants. This common sense approach reduces overall emissions, creates a revenue stream for utilities that offsets the cost of compliance, keeps rates low for taxpayers and stimulates economic development and job creation across the country.

ABO has started a petition via the White House “We the People” initiative and is calling for anyone who supports common sense, market-driven, job-creating and emissions-reducing technologies to sign the petition, located at: http://wh.gov/ilUxI.

We can do better than just bury CO2. Utilizing waste CO2 will create jobs, reduce costs to ratepayers and unleash a new wave of innovation across the country. Yet the power generation industry will not be able to make the investments in these technologies without regulatory certainty from the EPA. We’ll continue to make the case. Please join us.

More on ABO’s efforts and the case for CO2 utilization can be found at www.algaebiomass.org/petition.