Algae Biomass Organization’s Executive Director Mary Rosenthal Testifies Before Congress on Benefits of Algae-Based Fuels

Publicly available testimony highlights algae’s role as a carbon-reducing, sustainable biofuel feedstock and the need for financial and regulatory parity to support development of industry, commercialization

WASHINGTON – October 29, 2009 – The Algae Biomass Organization’s (ABO) Executive Director Mary Rosenthal testified before Congress today on the economic and environmental benefits of algae-based fuels, as well as on steps legislators can take to ensure algae receive[s] benefits and financial incentives similar to those afforded to other biofuel feedstocks. As the leading trade organization representing the broad interests of the burgeoning algae industry, the ABO was asked to present testimony to the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Research, which has jurisdiction over energy and bio-based energy production, on the status of 2nd and 3rd generation biofuel feedstocks.

During her testimony to the Subcommittee, Ms. Rosenthal outlined the key benefits of algae-based fuels as compared to other feedstocks, including commercial scalability, carbon dioxide recycling, use of non-arable land for production, and the wide range of fuel products such as ethanol, biodiesel, and biojet that can be derived from algae. Ms. Rosenthal reinforced the position of the ABO and its more than 170 members organizations that algae are a sustainable, renewable feedstock that will strengthen the United States’ energy independence should be a key component of an overall national low-carbon energy policy.

Rosenthal outlined three key actions that Congress can take to ensure parity for the algae industry with other next generation feedstocks. Those recommendations included:

  • Financial parity – Algae should receive the same tax incentives, subsidies and other financial benefits that other renewable fuels, particularly cellulosic biofuels, receive.
  • Regulatory parity – Algae is currently excluded from the majority of the Renewable Fuel Standard, due to a 16 billion gallon carve out for cellulosic biofuels. The carve out should be changed so that it is technology neutral, thus allowing algae-based and other environmentally sustainable fuels to contribute to our nation’s efforts to become energy independent.
  • Recognition of carbon dioxide reuse– Algae’s unique ability to turn carbon dioxide into renewable fuels will allow the organism to play a significant role in abating carbon emitted by industrial sources. Consequently, algae’s beneficial reuse of carbon dioxide should be acknowledged and accounted for in carbon capture and sequestration legislation.

Ms. Rosenthal’s testimony reflected conclusions and policy positions drawn during the organization’s recent 3rd annual Algae Biomass Summit, held on October 7-9 in San Diego. The Algae Biomass Summit is the algae industry’s premier global conference and is designed to highlight scientific advances and encourage knowledge sharing to accelerate the development of algae-based solutions for global energy, environmental and economic issues. The third annual summit drew more than 700 attendees from across the industry (academia & science, private & public sector, finance, etc.) and featured more than 70 expert speakers, 45 poster presentations and 25 exhibitors, providing attendees a wide range of information and expertise on the algae industry.

About the ABO
The Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and advocate for the development of commercially-viable transportation and power generation fuels as well as other non-energy applications for algae biomass. Its membership is comprised of people, companies and organizations across the value chain. More information about ABO, including its leadership, membership, costs, benefits and members and their affiliations, is available at the website.
Media Contact:
John Williams, Scoville PR for ABO