Algae Gets Big Boost in House Farm Bill

April, 18 / 2018

An amendment from Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL-2nd) establishing a USDA Algae Research Program has been adopted in H.R. 2, the comprehensive 5-year Farm Bill just approved by the House Agriculture Committee in a party-line vote.

If enacted, this provision would provide a major boost to investment in research and development of algae as a sustainable source of food and feed, biofuels and biomaterials, and as a solution for carbon capture, soil health, nutrient management, and other on-farm applications.

A big thank you to Rep. Dunn, as well as to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway for including the amendment in his package of recommended bill amendments.

 

Call for Young Researchers: 2018 Algae Biomass Summit

March, 29 / 2018

If you are a student, postdoc or early career professional interested in algae and algae-based technologies, the Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) would like to invite you to our 2018 Algae Biomass Summit, the world’s largest algae conference.

This year’s summit will be in the Woodlands, Texas, just outside Houston, October 14-17, 2018.

Come and learn about recent technological advancements and innovative research in a wide range of algae-related topics including algae biology, nutrition, feed innovation, energy production, water treatment, carbon utilization, commercialization and more.

Present your work as a poster or platform presentation. Students and first year postdocs are welcome to participate in our annual ABS Young Researcher Poster Competition with cash prizes.

Learn about the Algae Foundation $500 student travel grants to support students’ and postdocs’ attendance to the summit. The deadline to apply for this grant is April 15, 2018.

During the summit, visit our Young Innovators Lounge (YIL), a space designed to explore career options and connect with experienced researchers and industry leaders in the algae sector.

Join us in making algae a renewable and sustainable solution for our future!

Robin Gerlach, Program Chair

Brent Peyton, Program Co-Chair

Learn more about what we can do with algae, visit http://allaboutalgae.com

For more information about the conference contact bscheevel@algaebiomass.org

For more information about the Young Researcher Poster Competition contact Everett Eustance (everett.eustance@asu.edu)and Adriana Alvarez De La Hoz (alvar353@umn.edu).

For more information about the Algae Foundation’s Travel Grants contact bscheevel@thealgaefoundation.org.

The Potential of Algae in Agriculture and Carbon Capture

March, 28 / 2018

Last month ABO’s executive director Matt Carr briefed attendees of the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference in Washington, DC on the potential that algae has to become a leading crop of the future.

The potential of algae goes far beyond biofuels, with a number of efforts underway to put algae in everything from food to soil amendments to water treatment systems. 

Among the details in Matt’s presentation was this slide showing that  algae’s average biomass yields far exceed many traditional crops:

The productivity of algae farming is clearly impressive, but so is the sustainability profile. Since algae can grow on marginal lands, and in water that is unsuitable for traditional farming, the impact of algae cultivation on the environment is much lower than with many other crops.

And on the question of carbon emissions, algae farming can’t be beat when it comes to fighting climate change:

In fact, some recent research has shown that large-scale algae cultivation could even play role in reversing climate change: 

Algae grow extremely fast, and need enormous quantities of carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. This makes them ideally suited to consume the carbon dioxide emitted from power plants or other processes before the gas escapes into the atmosphere. It also means that areas with large carbon dioxide supplies might be well-suited to grow algae.

The distribution of coal-fired power plants and ethanol production facilities in the US indicates what regions might have the largest quantities of CO2 available for local algae production:

You will notice one state with particularly good carbon resources for algae production: Texas. In fact, the entire Gulf Coast offers some ideal conditions for algae farmers across a number of variables: carbon supplies, climate and water. 

As the leaders of the algae industry gather near Houston this year for the 2018 Algae Biomass Summit this regional potential will be a big topic of discussion. 

These are just a few of the dimensions of algae cultivation that point to a future of more algae farming in the United States. As the technology advances and more products based on algae become available, ABO expects that future maps of the United States will show an entirely new kind of agriculture providing jobs, energy, food and other products more sustainably then ever before. 

Spending Bill Includes Millions for Algae R&D

March, 27 / 2018

In yet another big legislative victory for algae, the spending bill passed by Congress and signed by the President this month includes strong support for advanced algae research, development and commercialization projects. 

The results for algae in the bill include:

  • $30 million within the Department of Energy’s Biotechnology Office for algae biofuels, with language that at least 50% is for university or university-led consortia.
  • $12 million for carbon use and reuse R&D within the DOE’s Fossil Energy Office, a 20% increase over last year! 

Most of these funds had been proposed to be cut altogether, but thanks to a strong push by ABO and other organizations it became clear to elected officials that this kind of research was critical to maintaining American economic and technological competitiveness. 

This support in Congress is another signal that algae cultivation is being taken seriously at the highest levels. A bipartisan group of Congressmen recently introduced the Algae Agriculture Act of 2018, and earlier in the year Congress passed a tax credit for carbon capture and reuse projects that use algae or other biologically-related technologies. 

Thanks to all that helped get this support included!

The Algae Agriculture Act of 2018

March, 27 / 2018

This month a bipartisan group of legislators introduced into Congress the Algae Agriculture Act of 2018 (H.R. 5373), a bill that would give algae cultivators and harvesters many of the same advantages as other traditional crops in United States agricultural policy.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a number of tools to support American farmers, but large-scale algae farming has traditionally been viewed as outside of the agriculture mainstream. However, with a growing number of algae-based food products and agricultural services now possible, the time has come for more robust policy support of this emerging sector.  ABO’s press release has more information, and comments from the board and executive director Matt Carr. 

The Algae Agriculture Act of 2018 establishes a number of provisions to promote the expansion of algae farming in communities across the United States:

New support for algae research and development in agriculture: The bill helps level the playing field for algae with respect to other crops by updating the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to include algae and its applications in agriculture, as well as the Foundation for Food and Agriculture, a nonprofit research institute that studies the economic and environmental resilience of our food supply. The bill also authorizes studies on algae cultivation’s potential for ecosystem support, nutrient management and soil heath, rural manufacturing and energy, and other ways to deploy algae as an agricultural solution.

Support for carbon utilization projects in rural communities: Under the new legislation, rural electric cooperatives would have explicit eligibility for Carbon Capture and Use (CUU) projects that take advantage of algae’s unique ability to generate revenue while also absorbing massive quantities of carbon dioxide. This support comes on the heels of language in the recent budget agreement that provides a new $35 per ton tax incentive for carbon captured and recycled from power plants or industrial facilities using algae or other biologically-based systems.

Crop disaster assistance for algae cultivation: Algae farmers would also be eligible for a USDA benefit many crops have had for decades: financial assistance when low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters.

The bill was introduced by Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) and sponsored by a diverse, bipartisan group of Congressmen: Andy Biggs (R-AZ-5), Derek Kilmer (D-WA-6) and Darin LaHood (R-IL-18).

The next step is to get the Algae Agriculture Act included in the upcoming Farm Bill. Be sure to contact your Congressional delegation and ask that they become sponsors of the Algae Agriculture Act!

 

AlgaEurope 2018

February, 26 / 2018

Every year the European algae scene meets at the ALGAE EUROPE conference. This year Algae Europe will take place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 4-6 December 2018.

Algae Europe offers a unique opportunity for an exchange between academia and industry, established in a networking-based environment that will explore sector’s evolution worldwide as well as the main European players.

Currently, there are several European projects, from lab scale to demonstration plants and commercial facilities, aiming to accelerate the commercialization of algal products. 

Algae Europe 2018 is a unique opportunity to learn and understand the bottlenecks of algae production and commercialization and interact with over 250 key players from 24 countries.

For more information visit: http://algaeurope.org 

Algae Food and Nutrition in the News

February, 23 / 2018

Triton’s high-protein algae powder.

At ABO we are continually surprised by the versatility of algae cultivation and the potential for algae-based products to meet so many of the challenges the world faces when it comes to food and nutrition. 

As global pressures continue to strain our land and water resources, dozens of companies and technology researchers are developing new ways for algae–the world’s most productive crop–to  meet rising demand for protein and vital nutrients. 

Here’s just a sampling of the developments this past month:

Algae could be major new food source, major new industry
Cosmos Feb 20, 2018

Algarithm and Virun collaborate on O3 Smoothies to combat pill
NutraIngredients-usa.com-Feb 19, 2018

Green Plains aims to patent algae process for fish feed
Omaha World-Herald Feb 12, 2018

Turning waste to animal feed: Algae can help
All about feed-Feb 14, 2018

DHA and EPA rich algal oil JV to reach commercial stage in 2019
FeedNavigator.com-Feb 1, 2018

BDI breaks ground on algae production facility in Styria, Austria
Biodiesel Magazine-Jan 26, 2018

This is just a sample of a growing trend of algae impacting agriculture, food and nutrition. Keep an eye on ABO’s blog for more updates on the latest innovations and products. 

Do you have your own algae-based approach to solving intractable global problems? We’d love to hear from you! 

Algae Needs Your Support in the Farm Bill

February, 23 / 2018

Please add your name to our letter to Congress. It only take a few seconds of your time!

The U.S. Congress has begun work drafting the next Farm Bill, which will lay out agriculture policy, programs and funding for the next 5 years and beyond. With the algae sector increasingly moving into agricultural markets, such as food, feed, soil health and nutrient management, agriculture policy is becoming increasingly important. The outcome of the Farm Bill process has the potential to greatly impact the development of the algae sector.

ABO is undertaking a multi-faceted campaign to ensure the Farm Bill strongly supports future algae research, development and commercial deployment.

The first step in our campaign is protecting and improving core programs in the Farm Bill’s Energy Title. The Farm Bill Energy Title is about much more than energy. It is home to: 

  • Biorefinery Assistance Program — the core lending program for commercial-scale advanced biofuel, renewable chemical, and biobased product manufacturing projects, including algae facilities.
  • USDA BioPreferred Program — including the USDA BioPreferred label program and federal procurement preference for biobased products.
  • Biomass R&D Program — joint USDA-DOE program supporting research and development of biomass feedstocks, advanced biofuels and biobased products.

Together with our partners in the Agriculture Energy Coalition, we have preserved and improved Farm Bill Energy Title programs over many years. It is more important than ever to do so again, as the entire title is under attack. It is fair to say that without your participation we may not have an Energy Title in the upcoming farm bill.  

Energy Title programs cost well less than 1% of total farm bill outlays, and pack a development punch for the very modest investment. Over $5 billion has been leveraged since the title’s inception to support economic development and jobs across rural America.

Please add your organization or business to the National Sign-on Support Letter immediately and ask other friendly groups/businesses to do so as well. It will take less than 1 minute of your time.

Click this link to sign

The sign-on deadline is February 28th COB.

Introduction to Algae: Massive Open Online Course

February, 22 / 2018

The Algae Foundation has recently announced the availability of the Introduction to Algae MOOC. The Massive Open Online Course offered through Coursera was produced at the University of San Diego and taught by Drs. Steve Mayfield of UCSD and Ira “Ike” Levine, University of Southern Maine.

We invite you to sign up for this wonderful opportunity to learn the “Power of Algae” and share this course with all of your colleagues in the science community, educators, and your social networks. This course brings together some of foremost algae experts from industry and academia to share their experience and understandings of the fundamentals of algae.

Click here and enroll in the Algal MOOC today!

 

DOE genomics program seek applications for algae projects

February, 21 / 2018

The Department of Energy’s Joint Genomics Institute recently announced they are accepting Letters of Intent for large-scale sequence-based genomic science projects that address DOE missions in sustainable biofuel production, global carbon recycling, and biogeochemistry. 

A number of topics will be given special consideration, including algal genomics. 

Letters of intent must be submitted by March 30, 2018! 

For more information, please visit the CSP page