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.