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Dispatch from the 2021 Algae Biomass Summit

The 2021 Algae Biomass Summit concluded last week and was a great success! Hundreds of people from around the world joined online presentations and networking sessions to share advances, challenges and solutions on everything from carbon capture, microalgae production, seaweed markets, new materials and more. 

And in case you missed it, we have recorded every session and will be giving attendees full access for several months after the event. If you did not attend the Summit you can still purchase access to the recordings and virtual networking platform! Reach out to us today to get access. 

One of the most exciting developments for this year was the increased engagement we saw in the virtual format. Live networking sessions bookended the month-long event, and hundreds of questions and discussion threads were added to the Summit’s online platform. Some sought answers to technical questions, others were interested in tips on how to best prepare for a career in the algae and seaweed industries. In every speaker session a live Q&A allowed attendees to quiz presenters and make new connections.

Among the VIP speakers was US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who stressed that algae is primed to become a new agricultural sector that can add to global sustainability and economic development. We also saw keynote presentations from Michael Berube, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Sustainable Transportation in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy; Marcius Extavour, Vice President of Energy and Climate, XPRIZE; and Trond Helgerud, Seaweed and Clean Label R&D Leader, Managing Director at Dupont Nutrition Norge AS. All spoke about the critical role algae can play in becoming a technology platform with benefits for carbon capture, food, health care, fuel production and more.  

The Summit also included a number of special sessions on its agenda that explored new areas where ABO can accelerate its efforts. One included a presentation from the startBlue Accelerator at UC San Diego that is helping to form more startups focused on ocean-focused solutions to global challenges. Another was a macroalgae focus workshop that brought together seaweed experts of all stripes to explore the state of seaweed research and market development. 

Finally, the 2021 Summit expanded on a tradition of providing career development opportunities for those just getting started in algae. Weekly sessions of the Young Innovators Lounge connected students with established research leaders and CEOs, and digital poster sessions allowed many in the academic community a chance to showcase their research and also meet with company representatives on the lookout for new talent. 

This was the second time ABO has organized a virtual Summit, and we are incredibly humbled by the participation and response. For 2022, we are hopeful this event will return to an in-person format, but the digital advantages we have built over the past two years will not be left behind.

Stay tuned as we plan the next chapter of the world’s largest algae conference!

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