Yesterday in Washington, DC the new chairs of the Congressional Algae Caucus, Congressmen Scott Peters (D-CA) and Matt Salmon (R-AZ), welcomed a bipartisan group of lawmakers, industry leaders and the media to a roundtable discussion about the algae industry’s ability become a new source of renewable products, jobs and economic growth.
Representative Peters’ office posted a photo (right) of the event with more information.
The Congressional Algae Caucus will help educate Members of Congress about the algae industry as it opens its first commercial production facilities. Congressional support is also expected to help accelerate the technologies that can harness the power of algae to be a new source of renewable fuels, feed, and human nutrition that can be cultivated without significant impacts on valuable freshwater supplies or agricultural lands.
ABO’s press release has comment from Representatives Peters and Salmon.
The membership of the Congressional Algae Caucus includes:
Scott Peters (D-52CA) (Co-Chair)
Matt Salmon (R-5AZ) (Co-Chair)
Tulsi Gabbard (D-2HI)
Tom Latham (R-3IA)
Trey Radel (R-19FL)
Louise Slaughter (D-25NY)
Tim Walz (D-1MN)
Jackie Speier (D-14CA)
Susan Davis (D-53CA)
Ben Ray Lujan (D-3NM)
Alcee Hastings (D-20FL)
David Cicilline (D-1RI)
Ed Perlmutter (D-7CO)
Jared Polis (D-2CO)
Duncan Hunter (R-50CA)
Steven Pearce (R-2NM)
Steve Cohan (T-9TN)
The launch event precipitated a substantive discussion among attendees about the industry’s potential and what steps can accelerate its growth.
High on everyone’s mind was the versatility of algae, and their ability to be used in the production of fuels, feeds, cosmetics, plastics, chemicals and more—even for their ability to remediate waste water and CO2 from power plants.
“There’s a shorter list of things you can’t do with algae than what you can,” said Martin Sabarsky, Chief Executive Officer of Cellana.
Recent news of the first commercial production facilities, new products hitting the market and impressive milestones in yield and prices have demonstrated that the industry has come a long way in just a few years.
Just one example of the tremendous industry progress discussed by the panel came from Jacques Beaudry-Losique, Algenol’s Senior Vice President of Corporate and Business Development: “Algenol can make fuel for under 1.30 a gallon and sell fuel at $.75 gal discount to local consumers.”
“Algae is an idea whose time has come. As my son would say it’s a no brainier,” said Representative Matt Salmon
Representative Susan Davis (D-CA) noted that cooperation among of so many stakeholders has led to much of the success to date: “I’ve seen great synergy between industry, academia and the military. We’ve moved from pure enthusiasm to a real industry.”
Industrial algae production and the commercialization of products derived from algae were once seen as the stuff of science fiction. Like many innovative technologies the use of algae was derided as “perpetually 20 years away.”
Today, however, whenever a group of algae industry executives is in the room the collective impact of their results is hard to ignore. Algae are going to be making big impacts in how we make our fuels, our food and so much more.
Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) captured the excitement when he said the algae industry is “one of the more exciting things going on around here – just as exciting as the Mars rover.”
We agree. While algae may not have the same flash as the Mars rovers, you can actually see it happening here on Earth in just about every state in the US, and many other countries globally. We strongly believe that algae technologies will be continue to generate quite a bit of excitement as the Congressional Algae Caucus helps spread the word about what is already possible with these tiny organisms.
And as algae companies begin production we can expect something akin to liftoff for a new era in sustainable agriculture, energy security and economic growth.