Gross-Wen Technologies (GWT) Joins the Algae Biomass Organization’s Gold Membership

January, 29 / 2020

Dr. Martin Gross, President and a founder at Gross-Wen Technologies, joins ABO’s board of directors

The Algae Biomass Organization welcomes Gross-Wen Technologies (GWT), a next-generation wastewater treatment company that is commercializing the revolving algal biofilm treatment technology (RAB), as the group’s newest gold-level member. Dr. Martin Gross, President and co-founder of GWT, was also elected to ABO’s board of directors on January 16, 2020. 

GWT’s wastewater treatment technology harnesses algae to sustainably capture nitrogen, phosphorus, and other pollutants from wastewater generated in municipal or industrial environments. In addition to clean water, the process produces high-value algal biomass for fertilizer and bioplastic applications. GWT’s first commercial deployments at two municipal utilities are expected to break ground in late 2020 and be operational in 2021. Also, the company has active fertilizer trials for turf-grass applications underway at Iowa State University.  

“Algae is going to make a big impact on the sustainability and economics of the water treatment industry, and we are glad to be working more closely with ABO to accelerate the adoption of this technology,” said Gross. “ABO’s work across multiple markets will make it easier for us to coordinate operations in production, as well as with a wide range of product and market developers.”

During his role as president at GWT, Gross has raised over $5 million in equity investments, served as principal investigator on over $1 million in non-diluting Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant funding, established a robust patent portfolio, and helped orchestrate the first commercial sale of GWT’s core RAB technology.  

Prior to founding GWT, Gross attained dual doctoral degrees from Iowa State University in the fields of Bioprocess Engineering and Food Science and Technology.  Gross also serves as a professor of entrepreneurship at ISU.

“We are glad to have GWT as a gold member and to have Martin’s expertise on the board,”  said Mark Allen, ABO’s Board Chairman and Vice President at Accelergy Corporation. “Water treatment and nutrient runoff is becoming a more urgent issue as global populations grow, and GWT is leading a new generation of sustainable technologies to meet the challenge.”

For more information about Gross-Wen Technologies, visit: 


Call for Abstracts: 2020 Algae Biomass Summit

January, 9 / 2020

Abstract deadline: February 10, 2020

The Algae Biomass Organization is pleased to announce that abstracts for speaking and poster presentations at the 2020 Algae Biomass Summit are now being accepted. This year’s Summit will take place on September 8 – 11, 2020 at the University of California, San Diego in the coastal community of La Jolla, California.
The beautiful campus of UC San Diego is located in one of the world’s leading hubs for algae research and entrepreneurship. This will be the ideal setting for everything that makes the Summit an invaluable experience : intimate professional networking, top-notch presentations and discussion, and exposure to the latest breakthroughs, new algae-based products and more.
The Summit will be accepting speakers and poster presenters from a wider range of scientific, technological and commercial topics than ever before. Plan to share your research, commercial milestones, policy innovations and more at the largest gathering of algae professionals.
First priority consideration will be given to abstracts submitted by February 10, 2020!

2020 Will See Record Federal Funding for Algae R&D

December, 19 / 2019

Algae is closing out the year stronger than ever. New budget legislation widely expected to be signed by President Trump this week includes a record amount of federal funding for algae research, development and commercialization projects in 2020. This strong Congressional support signals that algae technologies will continue to make remarkable headway.

A breakdown of the 2020 funding includes:

  • $40 million to be directed to the Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) for algae research and development. This is a $10 million increase over last year’s funding.
  • $21 million to the DOE’s Fossil Energy (FE) office for for non-geologic carbon utilization activities. Last year this office received $14 million. FE is already supporting impressive carbon capture and algae cultivation projects, in coordination with utilities, ABO member companies and other stakeholders.
  • For the first time, up to $10 million is being allocated for R&D into direct air capture technologies. This has been a priority in ABO’s advocacy efforts. A wide range of technologies will compete for this funding, but with algae’s ability to absorb massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, we expect strong consideration will be given to a number of cutting-edge algae cultivation projects.

These funding increases reflect the bipartisan support that advanced algae technologies have earned over the years. A robust algae industry has the potential to deliver remarkable benefits in global sustainability, but also in areas like rural economic development and energy security.

ABO expresses its gratitude to all Members of Congress that support this kind of technology development. The co-chairs of the Congressional Algae Caucus, Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA), Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Darin LaHood (R-IL), deserve special recognition for their efforts to build industry support into this legislation. In the Senate, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) deserves thanks for his role in leading his colleagues to support this important result.

ABO will be keeping its members updated as these appropriations are developed into funding opportunities over the next few months.

Make the Holiday Meal With Algae

December, 19 / 2019

The holidays are a time to gather with friends and family. As the conversation drifts from topic to topic, don’t forget to put in a few words for algae!

Putting algae into the meal is a great way to get the conversation started. Algae can be easily included in a number of recipes, and ingredients based on algae are widely available, from whole spirulina powder made by Earthrise, Cyanotech and Valensa, to Thrive’s algae-based cooking oil.

Cookies are a great way to introduce a crowd to algae as a food. Try these vegan cookies made with matcha and chlorella. Not ready to cook? The Cookie Company makes their vegan “fully functional” cookies with algae butter. Visit their website to find a store near you.

Algae can make its way into every part of the holiday meal.  Give your guests a sample of PopZero popcorn, or build a course around Blue Evolution Pasta. You can also make algae the main event by serving algae-fed salmon available under the brand names Blue Circle and Silverside® Coho Salmon

However algae makes it into your meal, ABO wishes you the best holidays. We will see you in 2020!

A Year in Review: Algae 2019

December, 19 / 2019

What milestones did the algae industry achieve in 2019? What foundations were set for success in 2020? Here are a few of the highlights during a busy year for those of us in the business of algae.

Algae Wins Recognition as Agriculture

2019 started out with a big development for the future of algae R&D and commercialization. For the first time, algae was recognized as a crop by the US Department of Agriculture in a new Farm Bill. Throughout the year officials at USDA have been busy setting up the support that the Farm Bill implemented and in 2020 we expect some exciting developments as algae farmers, product developers and others take advantage of the new programs. 

More Companies Targeting the $320 Billion Algae Opportunity

In 2019 there was a rapid pace of commercial progress as companies look to the algae opportunity: Food giants Corbion and Nestle partnered on plant-based ingredients. Checkerspot raised $13M to apply synbio technologies to algae. UK-based retail giant Tesco called for an increased use of algae-based feeds in farmed salmon. Veramaris opened a $200M facility to make algae-based fish feeds, and Kanye West announced an algae-based shoe. And this is an addition to a projected $320 billion market for algae

Federal Funding for Algae Research and Commercialization

Thanks to the support and hard work of ABO Members, the Department of Energy and other entities were able to offer funding for a number of projects at the cutting edge of this new industry. The funding was made possible by a Fiscal Year 2019 spending bill that provided an additional $44 million for algae and carbon utilization research — the highest funding level for algae research since the 2009 Recovery Act. 2020 funding levels are set to be even higher.

Ready to apply for funding opportunities that might support your own project? Check out our introduction to the process. 

Federal Agencies Come Together

The support at the USDA is one example of a growing number of federal agencies that are examining the potential of algae. In March of 2019, the federal Biomass Research and Development (BR&D) Board unveiled a multi-agency strategy to accelerate innovative biomass technologies for affordable biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. Algae cultivation is prominently featured among the suite of technologies the effort is harnessing, and ABO working closely with the new group to ensure they can coordinate with the industry’s leading commercial and research projects.

The Most Dynamic Algae Biomass Summit Yet

The 2019 Algae Biomass Summit in Orlando, Florida saw more connections made, breakthroughs announced and products revealed that ever. Read about just a few of the developments in our Dispatch from the Summit, and make plans to join the next Summit, September 8-11, 2020 on the beautiful campus of the University of California, San Diego. 

Algae Makes Waves in the Classroom

ABO’s sister organization, the Algae Foundation, made news in 2019 by putting algae in classrooms across the country. The AF has established the Algae Technology Educational Consortium (ATEC), a project to build programs that can educate the future algae workforce. At the K-12 level, the Algae Academy has brought algae-focused lesson plans, live algae, laboratory supplies and educator support to over 70 schools nationwide

For more advanced training, ATEC and the Algae foundation have built online courses, and programs for community colleges that can offer certifications for those building a career in algae cultivation, processing and product development. Find our more about these programs at ATEC’s website. 

Looking Ahead

Throughout 2019 ABO’s Board of Directors and taken the lead coordinating this year’s success in policy, events and market development. As ABO enters 2020 we are well-positioned to continue the upward trajectory for the industry. 

The upcoming year promises to be filled with exciting new product announcements, new projects and technology demonstrations, and even more voices joining Algae Nation.

Not a member of ABO? Join today and become a leader in one of the most exciting technology markets: algae! 

New USDA Research Agency Could Turbocharge High Tech Agriculture

November, 24 / 2019

Legislation proposed this month by U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and U.S. Representative Cindy Axne (D-IA) would create a new agency inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that would prioritize the development of new innovations and technologies for American farms, ranches and rural communities.

The proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency–Terra (ARPA–Terra) carries a similar name as the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) in the Department of Energy that has funded cutting-edge energy technology development since 2009. ARPA-E has built an impressive track record, having funded billions of dollars of research, inspired the formation of dozens of high-tech companies, and established the foundations for hundreds of new patents.

Many of the latest advances in biofuel production, battery technology, energy efficiency, and bioenergy crop development have only been possible with crucial support from ARPA-E. 

A number of algae research consortia and commercialization projects have made considerable breakthroughs thanks to ARPA-E support. These advances in technology have not only benefited the energy sector, but are now finding new applications in food production, water treatment, bioplastics and other sectors. 

If a similar model can be implemented at the USDA it could transform how technology advances improve agricultural productivity, sustainability, and economic opportunity in communities across the country.

Algae was recently designated as a crop for the first time in the 2018 Farm Bill, and ABO will be keeping a close eye on this new legislation.

A focus on high-risk, high-reward technology innovation by the federal government has transformed sectors like energy and communications. Agriculture can be next. 

Read more here.

ABO Member Discount to AlgaEurope 2019

November, 22 / 2019

The Algae Biomass Organization has enjoyed a long and productive partnership with the European Algae Biomass Organization. One of the perks for ABO members can be taken advantage of next month at AlgaEurope 2019, the annual meeting of European algae producers, researchers and investors.

ABO members may qualify for a €200 discount off the regular registration rate! To take advantage of this benefit ABO members can contact Barb Scheevel for details at:

AlgaEurope is a growing event with participation from all over the globe. For those that can’t attend, there is also an option to live stream the proceedings.

Learn more here.

Learn algae production skills these online courses from the Algae Technology Educational Consortium

November, 6 / 2019

Algae production technologies are gearing up to provide biomass that can be used in markets that are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars. To help meet that opportunity ABO ‘s sister organization, The Algae Foundation, is coordinating a number of projects that are educating and training the industry’s future workforce.  They have just released a new set of online course material for those interested in developing a career in algae agriculture. 

The new material is part of the Algae Technology Educational Consortium’s Algal Cultivation Extension Short-course (ACES). Part 1 covered macroalgae and Part 2 covers microalgae. These courses are ideal for those who have some knowledge of aquaculture but need to learn the basics of growing large quantities of microalgae. 

Offerings include:

  • cultivation and harvesting technologies,
  • microscopy, algae species collections,
  • nutrient media recipes,
  • algae to fuel,
  • carbon sequestration,
  • food products, and
  • interviews with industry experts.

The courses are an impressive collection of expertise and resources for any laboratory or company that needs personnel trained in  algae cultivation. Discover how microalgae cultivation skills can enhance your role in the aquaculture industry. 

Check out this ATEC webpage for registration information. 

Algae in the News | October 2019

November, 4 / 2019

October was a busy month for the business of algae in the news. Some of our favorites include innovative designs that allow building tiles to scrub wastewater, the expansion of algae-based feeds in aquaculture, and a futuristic look at how algae could act as oxygen factories inside your blood vessels. Read on to see our selection of news for the month of October, 2019:

Inhabitat-Oct 26, 2019
The Guardian-Oct 25, 2019
Undercurrent News-Oct 25, 2019
Science News-Oct 23, 2019
BioSpace-Oct 23, 2019
EcoWatch-Oct 15, 2019
Fast Company-Oct 14, 2019
The Pig Site-Oct 9, 2019
Undercurrent News-Oct 4, 2019
Massive Science-Oct 4, 2019
Core77-Oct 3, 2019
Feed Navigator-Oct 3, 2019
Quartz-Oct 1, 2019
The Fish Site-Oct 1, 2019
Massive Science-Sept 29, 2019
Don’t forget: ABO’s membership discounts for 2020 expire on November 15! Bring a new member and you both get up to 20% the normal rates. Learn more here.

The Opportunity for Algae in Carbon Utilization

October, 30 / 2019

A $320 billion market that could also capture 3 billion tons of carbon emissions

A recent report by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) takes a close look at using carbon emissions as a feedstock to more efficiently decarbonize economies around the world. The authors identify an enormous opportunity for algae.

C2ES published “Carbon Utilization–A Vital and Effective Pathway for Decarbonization” to examine how carbon utilization processes not associated with enhanced oil production (EOR) might lead to emissions reductions. In other words, how CO2 can be captured and used to manufacture things like construction materials, fuels, plastics, chemicals and more. 

ABO worked closely with C2ES on the report, and the chapter on algae identifies some near-term opportunities as well as larger applications that will unfold over time. 

A Big Market, and Big Carbon Reductions

C2ES estimates that by 2025 the market for algae-based products will be approximately $14 billions, but then expand dramatically to $320 billion by 2030. 


The market size is impressive, but so is the amount of CO2 that could be used. The report indicates that by 2030 the CO2 use potential of algae-based products could approach 3 billion tons. 

The report also highlights the fact that algae production does not require purified streams of CO2 in order to be productive. In many cases, flue gas from a power plant can be fed directly to microalgae, reducing the need for expensive purification equipment. In fact, some combustion waste products like nitrogen oxides or sulphur oxides can be used as nutrients by algae. 

Furthermore, the CO2 used to grow algae doesn’t have to come from fossil sources. Direct air capture or other industrial processes are also being examined as feedstock sources. This opens the door for algae to play a role in reversing runaway climate change. 

Combining a Strong Market Pull With a Smart Policy Push

The authors note one of the most remarkable advantages of algae in carbon utilization is the wide range of products that can be made. They list just a sliver of what’s possible: livestock and aquaculture feed, omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, food products, bioplastics, biopesticides, biostimulants, biofertilizers, bio-methane for electricity production, bio-jet fuel, bio-ethanol, and bio-diesel. 

Since some of these products already have demonstrated market commercial value, market economics could lead to industry scale-up. 

There is broad potential to offset the capital costs associated with algae production facilities near industrial CO2 sources, like power plants. This is a vital distinction, since real emissions reductions will require a significant market pull that arises from a demand for low-carbon products, in addition to new policy support.

To give carbon utilization the policy push it needs to meet this remarkable potential, C2ES proposes options along four categories:         

  • Financial enablers such as tax credits and subsidized project finance.
  • Research that coordinates federal spending on all phases of research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D).            
  • Infrastructure development of CO2 transportation pipelines, facilities, etc.    
  • Market enablers such as industry standards and procurement policies that provide preferential demand for products with recycled carbon.

Each of these is detailed in the report available here. The team at C2ES deserves congratulations for bringing more attention to the remarkable potentials of carbon utilization. 

Ready to get involved on behalf of algae? The race to turn carbon into a valuable feedstock is on, and the members of the Algae Biomass Organization are at the forefront. Join us by becoming a member, or sign up for our newsletter to keep up on the latest.