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DOE 2016 Billion-Ton Report: Ample Resources for Algae Production in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Energy in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) released its 2016 Billion-Ton Report on Tuesday. The report is the third in a series of DOE assessments to calculate the potential supply of biomass to support the United States bioeconomy.

New to the 2016 report and of special interest to ABO, however, is the assessment and acceptance of algae as a viable renewable resource for the development of biofuel, biopower, and bioproducts. Other renewable resources in the report include biomass from agricultural, forestry, and waste.

According to the report, the United States possess ample resources to produce large quantities of biomass from algae.

Among the DOE’s findings on algae:

  • Nearly 140,000 square miles of land suitable for open pond algae farms are available in the United States;
  • CO2 resources in the United States could be used to produce nearly 1.4 billion tons of algae annually;
  • An analysis of the productivity of a single strain of saltwater algae found the potential to produce 86 million tons of algal biomass annually and capture 211 million tons of CO2 from coal, ethanol and natural gas sources.

Overall, the United States currently uses 400 million tons of dry biomass resources annually. The report’s findings show that this amount could increase to 1.57 billion tons which would subsequently decrease greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil.

The 2016 Billion-Ton Report confirms the need and viability for expansion of the U.S. bioeconomy. Of significance to the ABO, the report reaffirms the importance of the work our members are doing with algal bioproducts.

Read ABO’s full statement on the report here.

To read the full report, visit

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