The 2017 Algae Biomass Summit convened in Salt Lake City last month, and for those of you that were not able to attend, we can report that the event was one of our most successful showcases of the countless applications for algae that are developing in hundreds of markets.
Researchers, entrepreneurs, government agencies and investors had a chance to mingle, exchange information, and plan ahead for new initiatives in R&D and commercial partnerships. Some of the most dynamic topics included:
Water Quality and Nutrient Recovery
Microalgae-based approaches to nutrient recovery were even more popular this year, with new projects underway that harness algae in recovering excess nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients from municipal, industrial, and agriculture sources. Leading algae water treatment technology developers, utilities, and other players joined several sessions at the Summit, and nearly 25% of all Summit attendees signed up for the special tour of water treatment facilities that use algae technology in the Salt Lake area.
Health & Nutrition
Few sectors in the algae industry have seen more commercial progress than food and supplements such as omega-3 oils, which are invaluable as antioxidants, immune stimulants and anti-inflammatory ingredients. From new brands such as iWi from Qualitas Health, to the food ventures like Nonfood and Algama, algae are increasingly being looked to as a sustainable source of alternative proteins and plant-based ingredients. Many of these were featured at the Summit’s Algae Product Showcase, a dynamic display in the exhibit hall that gave attendees a chance to see first-hand a number of new and innovative algae products that are hitting the shelves.
Energy and Manufacturing
We all know that algae are a promising technology platform for manufacturing and energy, and developments discussed at the Summit demonstrate this path is still wide open. Summit attendees learned about the latest algae-based systems for CO2 mitigation that are being actively demonstrated at multiple power plants and manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Canada. Algal systems are also being used in manufacturing, with companies such as Algix stimulating excitement for their plastics and foams that are in use by a number of major product manufactures.
One lesson from 2017 is that the potential for algae seems endless! We saw more possibilities than ever before, and we saw more commercial products for consumers and services for municipalities and other partners.
We are putting the finishing touches on plans for 2018 Algae Biomass Summit! Keep your eyes open and be ready to make plans for the most important event in the algae industry.