Dispatch from the 2019 Algae Biomass Summit

September, 26 / 2019

The 2019 Algae Biomass Summit concluded last week in Orlando, and the takeaway for most attendees was that a wide range of technical and commercial breakthroughs have given algae a firm toehold in dozens of new markets around the globe, with many more to come. 

Who Was There? 

Hundreds of scientists, entrepreneurs, CEOs, business development executives, federal agency leaders, and others interested in taking advantage of the algae opportunity attended the Summit. They traveled from 23 countries, and represented 318 companies, universities and government agencies. Many came looking for an introduction to algae and left as full-fledged Algae Biomass Organization members, ready to leverage a new network of expertise and connections. 

Some of the Big Ideas

Our summary of the Summit’s opening day featured contributions from Cornell University’s Dr. Charles Greene on how algae is unmatched when it comes to addressing global sustainability challenges, as well as a panel from leading food companies that are using algae to meet the growing demand for greener, healthier and better tasting products. 

On day two of the Summit plenary panels addressed other aspects of algae’s future impacts. A discussion of algae’s ability to capture carbon from power and industrial emissions focused on the ABO’s efforts to ensure that algae was included in a recently amended tax credit program, known as 45Q, for carbon capture projects. The tax credit has attracted attention across the energy industry. 

“45Q has really motivated the industry, a number of projects are underway as a result of this incentive,” said John Litynsky, Deputy Director for Advanced Fossil Technology Systems in the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy.

An afternoon panel titled “Hot Megatrends: Voices From the Field” featured leaders in media, advanced materials, food and algae cultivation discussing how far the industry has come, and how far it can still reach.

Scott Lindell, a research specialist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution noted that even with the remarkable potential of land-based microalgae production, there are also vast offshore resources for macroalgae farming. “The oceans are the largest untapped growth opportunity for algal biomass,” he said. 

The Hot Megatrends panel at the 2019 Summit

At an evening reception attendees were treated to an exclusive sampling of algae-based foods from ALGAMA, as well as samples of algae cooking oil from Thrive, Omega-3 supplements from iWi, and dozens of other exhibitors. 

First Hand Technology Experience

The Summit closed with two tours of regional algae technology demonstrations. At Valensa International attendees were treated to a lab tour that featured the company’s supercritical CO2 biomass extraction technology. And at a tour of the Orlando Utility Commission’s Stanton Energy Center, attendees saw a Department of Energy sponsored demonstration of algae cultivation using CO2 feedstocks from power production. 

Touring Valensa International’s facilities outside Orlando.

 

Algae cultivation with carbon capture at the Orlando Utilities Commission’s Stanton Energy Center.

Social Media Buzz

Throughout the event attendees were busy on social media posting about sessions, food samples, tours, nightlife and more. Scroll through some of the Summit action on Twitter via #algae2019.

Some notable tweets:

Press About the Summit

Biofuels Digest, one of the premier publications monitoring developments in the bioeconomy was at the Summit and published several stories: 

Heard on the Floor at the Algae Biomass Summit
September 18, 2019

The Algae Summit, groups to know, slides to see, and the Megatrends
September 19, 2019

The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to the bioeconomy MEGATRENDS
September 19, 2019

Save the Date. See You in San Diego!

The buzz at the 2019 Summit was stronger than ever before, and attendees from a wide range of companies, government agencies, research institutions and universities made connections that will help move initiatives forward across the globe. 

The 2020 Summit will be held September 8-10 on the campus of the University of California, San Diego. The city is a hub of algae commercial and research activity, and the intimate campus setting is expected to make the networking, partnership-building and technical exchanges at the 2020 Algae Biomass Summit better than ever. See you there!