European Commission Adopts Food Sustainability Strategy, Highlights Algae

June, 2 / 2020

In May, the European Commission adopted two new strategies as part of the European Green Deal that proposes ambitious actions and commitments to reduce biodiversity loss and transform the food system to improve human health, planetary sustainability, and the food supply chain. The food system strategy is called Farm to Fork (F2F), and specifically calls out algae as part of the solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve food sustainability. The strategy document can be found here.

Excerpts include:

“[The Commission] will examine EU rules to reduce the dependency on critical feed materials (e.g. soya grown on deforested land) by fostering EU-grown plant proteins as well as alternative feed materials such as insects, marine feed stocks (e.g. algae) and by-products from the bio-economy (e.g. fish waste).” (page 8)

“[The Commission] will also set out well-targeted support for the algae industry, as algae should become an important source of alternative protein for a sustainable food system and global food security.” (page 10)

The inclusion of algae in the EU’s sustainability strategy is a milestone for an industry that has quickly advanced scientific and technical breakthroughs into commercial applications that can improve global food systems. Visit this page for more information about the EU’s F2F strategy.

A New Board Chair and a New Chapter for ABO

May, 31 / 2020

By Mark P. Allen, P.E.

This month ABO’s Board of Directors welcomes Jill Kauffman Johnson, Head of Global Market Development, Algae Ingredients at Corbion as our new Chair. Jill brings exactly the kind of experience in science, product commercialization and public policy that can take this industry into the next chapter of development.

Jill Kauffman Johnson

For the past two years, I have served as Chair of ABO’s Board of Directors, and it has been incredibly rewarding to have a front row seat to all this organization is doing to advance algae as a new sustainable technology platform.

When ABO was first founded, much of the conversation was about the potential for algae to revolutionize biofuel markets. That work is still going strong, but perhaps the greater impact of this industry has been the hundreds of other applications that blossomed as the fuel work was underway. Jill’s work with Corbion developing algae-based omega-3s for salmon feed and other products is a leading example.

Mark Allen

ABO is now welcoming a diversity of members from aquaculture, animal feed, human food ingredients, soil health, wastewater treatments, materials, clothing, plastics and more. All of them are finding ways for algae to be a sustainable source of products and services. It is an explosion of diversity few of us anticipated when we opened ABO for business 15 years ago.

Many of these new possibilities can be traced back to cutting-edge research and development projects sponsored by federal agencies. That research was conducted at universities, national laboratories and in collaborations between private entrepreneurs and publicly supported partners. It is a technology development model that has been successful in other sectors, such as in the early days of the internet, and it is now paying dividends for the algae industry as well.

Agencies such as the U.S. Department of Energy have been able to drive this research largely because of the Congressional support that was built early on when ABO helped organize the Congressional Algae Caucus. This bipartisan group of elected officials recognized that a robust algae industry could be a great asset to the United States’ economic, environmental and energy security.

ABO’s voice has helped secure hundreds of millions of dollars for advanced R&D, and more support is on the way. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now making algae farming a priority, and an interagency working group is coordinating research underway at a growing constellation of federal agencies.

What comes next will push algae into an even larger world of collaboration and innovation. Today, ABO is working with a coalition to establish an Algae Center of Excellence (ACE). ACE is designed to facilitate coordination and funding among companies, researchers, investors, farmers, product developers and other stakeholders that will accelerate and broaden commercialization of algae products in areas of food, feed, biomaterials, soil health, wastewater treatment, and beyond. ACE will help unlock a market potential for algae that could exceed $300 billion by 2030.

We will explore much of that market potential at the upcoming 2020 Algae Biomass Summit, which is being re-tooled into a virtual experience that will welcome a global audience. This year a series of Industry Spotlights sessions will kick off the Summit and explore how algae is impacting food markets, polymer production, carbon capture and more. They will be valuable sessions for anybody interested in harnessing the potential of algae.

It has been a pleasure to see the arc of a new technology being deployed into the world. ABO has been diligent from the beginning, and has become a vital voice for the algae industry. For those looking to become involved from a scientific, technological or commercial perspective, ABO has become an indispensable point of contact.

I am honored to have had the chance to serve as Board Chair, and even more honored to pass the torch to Jill. She has been a part of the algae technology arc throughout her own career, and will be an invaluable resource for ABO members as we enter the next phase.

I thank every ABO member that is working at every junction of this exciting industry. As a result of your support, we are well positioned to sustain a rapid pace of growth.  Keep up the good work.

Mark P. Allen, P.E.
ABO Board of Directors
Vice President, Accelergy

Algae Farmers and the 2020 Census of Agriculture

May, 4 / 2020

The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture is gearing up for the 2022 Census of Agriculture by tuning up their lists of farms and adding new farmers. This official count of U.S. farms and ranches, and the people that operate them, is a vital tool for federal agencies to determine the value and importance of U.S. agriculture operations as they make policy decisions. Microalgae and macroalgae farmers are encouraged to participate.

The NAA believes that with the decline in the number of aquaculture extension specialists and reduced surveying of aquaculture production by state agricultural statistics services, there has been a significant decline in the communication of commercial aquatic farmer contact information to NASS. 

We need algae farmers of all kinds to join the NASS Census so that the algae industry is counted!
Algae producers that are interested in participating should send their contact information (name, title, company, address, phone and email) to Rebecca White at by May 31, 2020.

The 2020 Algae Biomass Summit is Going Virtual: Registration is Now Open

May, 1 / 2020

The new online program for the world’s largest algae conference will focus on sharing commercial and scientific progress, enhanced networking, and increased collaboration from around the world

The 2020 Algae Biomass Summit is going virtual! In light of the continued uncertainty around the global COVID-19 outbreak the Algae Biomass Organization feels that transitioning this important event to a virtual format is the best way to move our industry forward and also prioritize the health and safety of our attendees.

We are updating our 2020 program to take advantage of virtual tools that will give our attendees even better access to the commercial and scientific progress that is shared every year at the world’s largest algae conference. We will also leverage online platforms to offer even more networking and collaboration opportunities for the scientists, entrepreneurs, companies and investors that are driving algae innovation forward.

New Pricing

Taking the Summit online means that more people than ever can explore opportunities in the algae industry. Registration is open now and includes access to all of the Summit’s online events, nearly 100 speaker presentations and invaluable networking opportunities.  Session recordings will also be available to all attendees.

2020 Summit Registration Rates

Register before June 1st and get $50 off!


  ABO members** Non-members
Standard Rate* $329 $579
Early Bird Rate* $279 $529
*Groups of 5 or more from the same organization can qualify for special rates. Contact for more information.
**Join ABO today to support algae industry advocacy and get the best rate at the Summit.


A Flexible Schedule with More Opportunities for Networking

Rather than a busy three-day sprint of multiple overlapping sessions, the Summit’s 2020 programming will be spread over several weeks this Fall. This will allow attendees to easily schedule their participation, and provide more networking opportunities that can lead to meaningful connections.

One Registration: Three Opportunities to Engage and Network

In August, we’ll start the Summit with a bi-weekly series of special “Industry Spotlight” Sessions. These 90-minute sessions will bring together experts from across the supply chain to explore the algae opportunity in specific market segments. Topics will include algae in polymers, human nutrition, carbon capture, ecosystem services and more. Each webinar will include opportunities to network with speakers and participants.



On September 8-10, we will host keynote speakers, plenary panels, and intensive networking. This will be where the Summit explores the global potential of our conference theme this year: Algae 2020 – Sustainable, Scalable Solutions. Each session will be followed by live Q&A and networking events.




September 14-30 will consist of the Summit’s technical and breakout programming, with sessions from our Topical Tracks. We will also host the Young Innovators Lounge for those looking to advance a career in algae, our annual Poster Session judging, and more networking opportunities that will keep the momentum in the industry going strong.



More Opportunities for Exhibitors, Sponsors and Presenters

A virtual conference will give Summit exhibitors, sponsors and presenters a larger potential audience than ever before. Algae innovators and enthusiasts from around the world will be able to attend the Summit and discover who is leading this industry into the future. And our extended format means more opportunities to engage than would be available in a typical live event.

Enhanced Connections and Networking

A virtual Summit will offer unprecedented networking opportunities. In the coming weeks ABO will be unveiling new tools that will make connections between our attendees, speakers, and exhibitors easier, and more relevant, than ever.

An Exciting Transition

Although we wish the circumstances demanding this transition were different, ABO’s Board of Directors and staff are excited about what a virtual Algae Biomass Summit can offer. In the coming weeks we will be making more details available at the Summit website, and in our regular communications.

If you have any questions or ideas about how this new format can make the Summit better than ever please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.  We welcome your input.

If you would like to participate in the virtual Summit, we are still accepting abstract proposals for speaking and poster presentations. Fill out the abstract form here.

See you online at the 2020 Algae Biomass Summit! Register today to take advantage of the early bird rates.



The First European Standard for Algae and Algae Products

April, 27 / 2020

The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) has released the first European standard for algae and algae products, an important milestone for establishing common baselines for an industry that is beginning to impact more markets than ever.

Known as EN 17399:2020 ‘Algae and algae products – Terms and definitions’, the standards not only clarify terms and conditions for algae products, they also set up a foundation for regulations that can ease the entrance of algae into various markets.

For several years Algae Biomass Organization Technical Standards Committee has been developing a set of industry-established measurement standards, with the latest version known as Industrial Algae Measurements, Version 8.0, that can establish a common language of measurement for aquatic biomass production. It is encouraging to see an the official European standards body adopt a standard that the industry can use to more efficiently manage its rapid growth.

For more information about the European standard visit the CEN website.

Resources for ABO Members During Covid-19

April, 16 / 2020

The Covid-19 outbreak has affected nearly every business sector, market segment, as well as the daily lives of billions of people around the globe. A number of ABO members are small business and startups working to meet the challenge in a variety of ways. 

To assist our members and some of their unique needs, we are compiling a list of resources that may be helpful. This list is by no means exhaustive and will be updated as circumstances allow. See something missing? Reach out to us and we’ll be sure to add it. 

Basic Guidance on Covid-19

Be sure to consult the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization for some of the latest information about Covid-19 and how to protect yourself. 

Federal Funding Opportunities

ABO regularly works with its members to keep them updated on current and upcoming research and commercialization funding opportunities from federal agencies. In some cases, these funding opportunities are moving ahead, and in others we are seeing delays in application deadlines. 

Business Assistance

Assistance for businesses in the United States has been made available in emergency legislation. The details are changing so quickly it’s best to consult directly with the relevant federal agencies. 

Workplace and Operations

  • The CDC also has published guidance on how businesses that are in operation should adjust for the realities of the pandemic. Resources include interim guidance on operations, cleaning and disinfecting recommendations, and how to prepare employees for Covid-19.  
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is also publishing guidance. OSHA’s Covid Overview page is a good place to start, especially its resources on how OSHA standards apply to protecting workers from COVID-19.

Resources for Startups

ABO member companies are often deploying entirely new technologies that have the potential to disrupt existing markets and create new value. Many are early stage startups or have raised enough funds to begin serving an initial wave of customers. Early this month Forbes examined the impact COVID-19 may have on startup ecosystems.

For those start-ups looking for strategies in the COVID-19 era, here are a few places to start. 

Remember: This incredibly disruptive crisis will be resolved. Let’s make sure the algae industry is ready to help build a more sustainable and robust future. 


ABO Expands Online Events and Collaborations in Wake of COVID-19

March, 31 / 2020

Planning is underway to bring elements of the 2020 Algae Biomass Summit online

Speakers at the Algae Biomass SummitAll of us at the Algae Biomass Organization hope that you are safe and healthy as the world confronts an unprecedented crisis that has upended lives and made it necessary to adjust almost every aspect of business. 

At ABO we are busy ensuring the safety of our operations, but also keeping an eye on how we can continue to support the algae industry. To move forward on our mission, we are already implementing online options for many of our events and workshops.

On March 19, our Algae Technical Standards Focus Group Discussion was moved to an online collaboration, and we were pleased to see strong attendance and participation. The following week, our annual board meeting was also held virtually, instead of in Washington, DC as originally planned.

ABO’s flagship event, the Algae Biomass Summit, is scheduled to take place this September 8-11 at the University of California, San Diego. As this crisis evolves our top priority is the health and safety of our algae community and Summit attendees. We are currently examining options that would allow us to make much of the event’s programming available online for those unable to travel this fall. 

We are also examining how some of these online options could even enhance the Summit’s role as a venue for networking, sharing innovations, and learning about the latest developments in our fast-moving industry. Speakers, exhibitors, sponsors and other attendees will all find new and exciting ways to engage with the world’s largest gathering of algae professionals.

As the global situation evolves, we will keep you updated on any changes that will be required to make the 2020 Summit a success.

In the meantime, the Summit’s planning committee is moving forward with building our 2020 program. The abstracts submitted so far suggest we will have the most diverse agenda yet.

Interested in presenting your own scientific, commercial or other algae industry milestones at the Summit? You can still submit an abstract for consideration as a speaker or poster presenter.

ABO wishes you all the best in these trying times. Stay safe, and keep in mind that we will emerge from this crisis. Let’s keep our momentum going. 

First Guidance on Carbon Capture Credits (45Q) Released

March, 30 / 2020

Carbon capture gets a boost with 45Q tax creditsThe Treasury Department issued its first guidance on a key tax credit for carbon capture projects last month, and projects producing algae biomass could be positioned to benefit. ABO worked with a large coalition to see the updated credit, known as 45Q, passed by Congress back in 2018.

Algae cultivation is an ideal way to capture industrial carbon dioxide emissions, essentially recycling the gas into new products that can have significant market value. A recent report in Chemical & Engineering News details how the 45Q credit is attracting interest among CO2 producers and those that can use the gas for manufacturing processes. 

The new guidance gives project developers some certainty about how they might take advantage of the credit. Projects must begin before 2023, and must be completed within six years. For many projects these deadlines may already be too tight, and a number of groups, including ABO, will be asking Congress to legislate more time for these innovative efforts to get up and running. 

This latest guidance is only a first step. The IRS is still working on another set of guidance documents that will be required before the credit can be claimed by a CCS project. 

IRS documentation can be found here.

Read more at E&E News


Algae Making Inroads To Bioplastics Markets

March, 29 / 2020

Algae and bioplasticsTechnology innovators are finding new ways to make algae a more effective and sustainable ingredient in countless applications, and over the past few months an uptick in algae activity in bioplastic markets has caught our attention. 

Plastic is quickly being recognized as a more serious environmental problem than previously thought. Millions of tons of plastic are finding their way into our ecosystems, from the oceans, to animal life and even inside our bodies. A collapse in global recycling markets may only add to the challenge of dealing with so many plastic products that have become part of our daily lives. 

Solutions are coming from all quarters, and algae are among the most promising. A recent Greenbiz story highlighted several efforts, including Algix and its algae-based foams that can be used in everything from shoes, to outerwear, to everyday household items. Other companies working on plastic and polymer products from algae (including seaweeds, which are also a type of algae) include ABO member Checkerspot, as well as Algenesis, Loliware, Ooho, and Evoware

The global nature of the challenge means potential solutions are attracting attention from global leaders. Indonesia, for example, hopes to rally its entire seaweed industry to tap the bioplastics market. 

Business is not the only place to find progress. Advanced research is also unlocking ways to enhance the ability of algae to contribute to solutions to the plastics problem. At Japan’s Kobe University, a team recently reported they had discovered how to induce algae to produce D-lactate, a valuable precursor chemical in bioplastics. And at the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation scientists reported last year how modified algal cells can produce biodegradable plastics. 

More innovation is in the pipeline, among companies in the research community. Submissions to present at the upcoming Algae Biomass Summit included more innovations in the polymers and plastics sector than ever before, and will likely be a significant component of the Summit’s agenda. If you are interested in participating in the Summit’s focus on algae-based plastics, you can still submit an abstract here

Given the size of the plastics market, and the scope of the environmental challenge, it is clear that algae have a bright future in how we manufacture the products that make modern life possible. At ABO we will be keeping up with the latest developments, building networks, and streamlining the process that will transform these advanced innovations into everyday solutions. 

Ready to take advantage of the algae opportunity? Join us!

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the 2020 Algae Biomass Summit

March, 16 / 2020

Update 3/31/2020: Please see a new update regarding our Summit planning here.

The Algae Biomass Organization is monitoring the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and evaluating potential impacts on the 2020 Algae Biomass Summit. At this point we do not anticipate significant changes to the Summit’s schedule, programming or venue.

We are working closely with our partners at the University of California, San Diego as we plan the event. Ensuring that the Summit is a safe and productive event for everyone is our highest priority, and we will be following all guidance from federal and local health agencies.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will update our attendees, exhibitors and partners with any changes. We encourage all attendees to adopt healthy travel habits, and to consult the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for additional guidance.

Learn more about the Summit here.