As Congress sets out to find a way to help our nation’s farmers, cattlemen and others within the national food chain, and as crude oil prices are once again on the rise, we are dealt a painful reminder about how both our energy and food supplies are impacted by events outside of our control.
As Mark Twain once said, “Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it.”
While we can’t do anything about the weather, we can accept that this volatile environment is the new norm and take steps to minimize the affect it is having on our nation’s energy security as well as food supply by diversifying our approach to creating energy and food.
We can’t trade dependence on oil from the Middle East for corn from the US Midwest. We need to find and fund alternatives that don’t have the same dependencies as current biofuels
That’s where algae come into play. Because algae grow in a variety of medium – from salt water to waste water; feed off a variety of nutrients – from waste CO2 to nitrogen from fertilizer; and grow in a variety of facilities – from outdoor ponds to fermentation tanks, algae give us an incredible opportunity to literally hedge against Mother Nature.
Better yet, because algae contain oils and sugars that can be converted into “drop-in” biofuels as well as nutrients that can be used as feed for livestock, a national algae industry will help address the growing need for fuel and food. Our industry will provide a critical supply chain in times of shortage in the near term, and a stable supply of domestic, low-carbon fuels that work in existing engines and infrastructure long into the future.
The weather changes are only expected to get more extreme in the coming years, so the faster we develop the algae industry, the better prepared we can be to “weather” the storms, produce domestic fuels and help keep food prices affordable for American consumers.