First Guidance on Carbon Capture Credits (45Q) Released

March, 30 / 2020

Carbon capture gets a boost with 45Q tax creditsThe Treasury Department issued its first guidance on a key tax credit for carbon capture projects last month, and projects producing algae biomass could be positioned to benefit. ABO worked with a large coalition to see the updated credit, known as 45Q, passed by Congress back in 2018.

Algae cultivation is an ideal way to capture industrial carbon dioxide emissions, essentially recycling the gas into new products that can have significant market value. A recent report in Chemical & Engineering News details how the 45Q credit is attracting interest among CO2 producers and those that can use the gas for manufacturing processes. 

The new guidance gives project developers some certainty about how they might take advantage of the credit. Projects must begin before 2023, and must be completed within six years. For many projects these deadlines may already be too tight, and a number of groups, including ABO, will be asking Congress to legislate more time for these innovative efforts to get up and running. 

This latest guidance is only a first step. The IRS is still working on another set of guidance documents that will be required before the credit can be claimed by a CCS project. 

IRS documentation can be found here.

Read more at E&E News

 

Algae Making Inroads To Bioplastics Markets

March, 29 / 2020

Algae and bioplasticsTechnology innovators are finding new ways to make algae a more effective and sustainable ingredient in countless applications, and over the past few months an uptick in algae activity in bioplastic markets has caught our attention. 

Plastic is quickly being recognized as a more serious environmental problem than previously thought. Millions of tons of plastic are finding their way into our ecosystems, from the oceans, to animal life and even inside our bodies. A collapse in global recycling markets may only add to the challenge of dealing with so many plastic products that have become part of our daily lives. 

Solutions are coming from all quarters, and algae are among the most promising. A recent Greenbiz story highlighted several efforts, including Algix and its algae-based foams that can be used in everything from shoes, to outerwear, to everyday household items. Other companies working on plastic and polymer products from algae (including seaweeds, which are also a type of algae) include ABO member Checkerspot, as well as Algenesis, Loliware, Ooho, and Evoware

The global nature of the challenge means potential solutions are attracting attention from global leaders. Indonesia, for example, hopes to rally its entire seaweed industry to tap the bioplastics market. 

Business is not the only place to find progress. Advanced research is also unlocking ways to enhance the ability of algae to contribute to solutions to the plastics problem. At Japan’s Kobe University, a team recently reported they had discovered how to induce algae to produce D-lactate, a valuable precursor chemical in bioplastics. And at the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation scientists reported last year how modified algal cells can produce biodegradable plastics. 

More innovation is in the pipeline, among companies in the research community. Submissions to present at the upcoming Algae Biomass Summit included more innovations in the polymers and plastics sector than ever before, and will likely be a significant component of the Summit’s agenda. If you are interested in participating in the Summit’s focus on algae-based plastics, you can still submit an abstract here

Given the size of the plastics market, and the scope of the environmental challenge, it is clear that algae have a bright future in how we manufacture the products that make modern life possible. At ABO we will be keeping up with the latest developments, building networks, and streamlining the process that will transform these advanced innovations into everyday solutions. 

Ready to take advantage of the algae opportunity? Join us!

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the 2020 Algae Biomass Summit

March, 16 / 2020

Update 3/31/2020: Please see a new update regarding our Summit planning here.

The Algae Biomass Organization is monitoring the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and evaluating potential impacts on the 2020 Algae Biomass Summit. At this point we do not anticipate significant changes to the Summit’s schedule, programming or venue.

We are working closely with our partners at the University of California, San Diego as we plan the event. Ensuring that the Summit is a safe and productive event for everyone is our highest priority, and we will be following all guidance from federal and local health agencies.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will update our attendees, exhibitors and partners with any changes. We encourage all attendees to adopt healthy travel habits, and to consult the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for additional guidance.

Learn more about the Summit here.

Environmental Engineering Giant AECOM Joins ABO’s Gold Membership

February, 28 / 2020

Dan Levy, AECOM Vice President, joins ABO’s Board of Directors

The Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) welcomes AECOM,  the world’s premier environmental engineering and infrastructure firm, as the group’s newest gold-level member. Dan Levy, AECOM Vice President, was also elected to ABO’s Board of Directors.

AECOM has a record of successfully executing the largest, most complex environmental engineering projects across the world. Their expertise spans design, transportation infrastructure, water, energy, and construction services. For the past 2 years AECOM has been a leader in Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) research and is now complementing that work with a focus on technology transfer, applying its research and practical solutions to address a growing environmental crisis. In 2019, AECOM partnered with local governments and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on the Harmful Algal Bloom, Interception, Treatment and Transform System (HABITATS) research project to demonstrate a rapidly deployable system that mitigates large HABs in an economically viable and sustainable manner.

AECOM’s use of its unique algae harvester platform and its partnership with Bloom, who transforms algae into biofoam, gained national attention after its role in cleaning and restoring 22 residential canals during the 2018 HAB crisis in Florida. The innovative and modular design is scalable to any size and provides a “No Harm” solution for mitigating this global crisis. An overview of  AECOM’s 2018 emergency HAB work can be found on the Environmental Law Institute’s blog and details about the 2019 HABITATS research project can be found on NPR.

“Removing harmful algae from local waterways and transforming the biomass into useful products is a novel problem solution. It is a privilege to be working with a trade organization dedicated to making technologies like this successful,” said Levy. “ABO is the leading source of expertise and advocacy that can accelerate the deployment of solutions like ours capable of transforming HAB-infested waterways into clean water.”

Levy comes to ABO’s board with 34 years of experience leading solutions to environmental challenges. In addition to serving as a Vice President for AECOM’s environmental business in the Americas, he is National Director of AECOM’s innovative algae mitigation and prevention program. Levy and the Algae Solution Team have been on the cutting edge of research of harmful algae blooms, long before HABs gained national attention, developing the company’s treatment technologies.

 Levy received an honor award for innovation as the co-inventor of the patented SEDCUT dredging technology that was developed for the removal of nutrient-rich sediments, a technology that was proven successful in collaboration with the South Florida Water Management District and USACE.  AECOM is also a recipient of a 2018 National Western Dredging Association Environmental Excellence Award, 2018 Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Southeast District Superior Excellence Distinction Award for outstanding environmental practices, and the 2019 Environmental Business Journal Award for Social Contribution for development of the innovative algae harvesting program.

“AECOM is setting a new standard for mitigating algal blooms by transforming the environmental challenge into an economic opportunity, while delivering clean water at the same time,” said Mark P. Allen, P.E., ABO’s board chairman and vice president at Accelergy Corporation. “We are pleased to have an engineering powerhouse like AECOM as an ABO member and Dan’s expertise in algae technology development on our board of directors.”

For more information about AECOM’s environmental services, visit: https://www.aecom.com/environment

The Algae Biomass Organization Brings on Dr. Rebecca White as Senior Advisor

February, 27 / 2020

The Algae Biomass Organization’s Board of Directors is excited to welcome algae industry veteran Dr. Rebecca White as a Senior Advisor. Rebecca’s advanced technical training and deep experience in the algae industry make her a perfect addition to ABO, just as dozens of new products enter the market and as technology advances open new possibilities for algae to address a wide range of global challenges. 

Rebecca’s responsibilities will include supporting ABO’s efforts at the national policy level to accelerate this ongoing technology development and market growth, engaging with and building ABO’s membership, and helping make ABO’s annual Algae Biomass Summit a success.

“Rebecca has been a tireless advocate for algae agriculture, and we are thrilled that she is bringing her expertise to benefit ABO’s mission.” said Mark Allen, Chair of ABO’s Board of Directors and Vice President of Integrated Carbon Solutions at Accelergy Corporation. “Rebecca brings an unmatched network to ABO, and she has been a key figure in some of the most impressive technical and commercial progress this industry has seen over the past decade. ABO members are going to find her to be an invaluable asset.”

Much of what Rebecca has accomplished in her career is at the core of ABO’s mission. She received a Ph.D. in Microbiology from Texas A&M University, where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She went on to complete her postdoctoral work at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

Early in her career, Rebecca joined algae biofuel pioneer Sapphire Energy and brought the company’s first-of-its-kind algae production facility into operations, a feat that required extensive technical and logistical coordination. When Sapphire’s biofuels program concluded she joined Qualitas Health, Inc. as Vice President of Operations, and worked with Green Stream Farms to bring the Sapphire facility into commercial production for a new generation of algae-based products. She then led the commercial process development for Qualitas’ iWi brand of algae-based health products: Qualitas has successfully brought the new brand to more than 12,000 stores nationwide and is building a strong online presence.

Rebecca began her engagement with ABO in 2012, joining as an industry member. She has since served on ABO’s Board of Directors, organized the annual Algae Product Showcase at the Algae Biomass Summit and contributed to ABO’s technical standards that set parameters for industrial algae production. On the policy front, she worked closely with ABO members and members of Congress to ensure that algae was recognized as an agricultural crop for the first time in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Rebecca has also been active in another aspect of ABO’s mission: workforce development. She is a long-time supporter of STEM education initiatives and serves on the Algae Foundation’s Board of Directors and Industrial Advisory Board. She participates in “Skype A Scientist” in K-12 classrooms across the country, and mentors early-career scientists every year at the Summit’s Young Innovator’s Lounge.

Rebecca brings to ABO additional experience from the biotechnology industry, serving as Chief Technology Officer for Pebble Labs and Trait Biosciences in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be supporting the scientists, entrepreneurs and investors at ABO that are taking algae to the next level,” said Rebecca. “I believe that we are only beginning to truly actualize the potential of algae and that the role of ABO is set to become more critical than ever.”

Rebecca lives in White Rock, New Mexico with her husband, Phil, and their two children.

If you are ready to help take the algae industry to greater heights, Rebecca wants to hear from you. Reach out to her at: rwhite@algaebiomass.com or at (877) 531-5512 extension 2.

 

ABO extends a big welcome to Rebecca!

Algae Technical Standards Focus Group Meeting

February, 27 / 2020

The ABO Technical Standards Committee is organizing an in-person, all day, Algae Technical Standards Focus Group Discussion on March 19, 2020 at NREL in Golden, Colorado. The subjects that will be covered by this industry listening session include current standards available for characterization and reporting on algal biomass characteristics and their relevance and gaps in currently described methodology applied to both microalgae and macroalgae or seaweed materials.

Confirmed attendees include representatives from algal biomass and product production companies, commercial analytical laboratories, and government agencies.

This focus group attendance is by invitation, and interested people should send an email to TechStandards@algaebiomass.org expressing interest. There are opportunities to present on relevant topics in a quick slide presentation format.

Neste Joins Algae Biomass Organization’s Platinum Level Membership

January, 31 / 2020

Jaakko Nauha, Head of Initiative, Algae at Neste joins ABO’s board of directors 

The Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) welcomes Neste, a global leader in renewable fuels and one of the most sustainable companies in the world, as the group’s newest platinum-level member. Jaakko Nauha, Neste’s Head of Initiative, Algae was also elected to ABO’s board of directors on January 16, 2020. 

Neste is a leader in the development of technologies that can provide low-emission, sustainable fuels and solutions for customers in the transportation, aviation as well as polymers and chemicals sectors. The company, based in Finland, is the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel and renewable jet fuel produced from waste and residue raw materials.

Neste has been a long-time supporter of commercialization efforts that can drive the technologies and expertise needed to make algae a feedstock for low-emission fuels. 

Neste has supported ABO’s efforts as a silver-level member since 2013. The company’s upgrade to a platinum-level membership comes as a number of global energy leaders are investing in the potential of algae-derived fuels, chemicals and other products.

“We are excited to engage even more deeply in algae innovation with Algae Biomass Organization members,” said Nauha. “ABO’s dedication to accelerating innovation dovetails with Neste’s commitment to developing global supplies of sustainable fuels and other products. We look forward to a transformative decade with all of our ABO partners”

“ABO is grateful for Neste’s increased support,” said Mark Allen, ABO’s Board Chairman and Vice President at Accelergy Corporation. “Global sustainability challenges are presenting opportunity for companies that are ready to develop a new generation of solutions, and Neste is already a recognized leader.”

For more information about Neste visit: https://www.neste.us/about-neste

Gross-Wen Technologies (GWT) Joins the Algae Biomass Organization’s Gold Membership

January, 29 / 2020

Dr. Martin Gross, President and a founder at Gross-Wen Technologies, joins ABO’s board of directors

The Algae Biomass Organization welcomes Gross-Wen Technologies (GWT), a next-generation wastewater treatment company that is commercializing the revolving algal biofilm treatment technology (RAB), as the group’s newest gold-level member. Dr. Martin Gross, President and co-founder of GWT, was also elected to ABO’s board of directors on January 16, 2020. 

GWT’s wastewater treatment technology harnesses algae to sustainably capture nitrogen, phosphorus, and other pollutants from wastewater generated in municipal or industrial environments. In addition to clean water, the process produces high-value algal biomass for fertilizer and bioplastic applications. GWT’s first commercial deployments at two municipal utilities are expected to break ground in late 2020 and be operational in 2021. Also, the company has active fertilizer trials for turf-grass applications underway at Iowa State University.  

“Algae is going to make a big impact on the sustainability and economics of the water treatment industry, and we are glad to be working more closely with ABO to accelerate the adoption of this technology,” said Gross. “ABO’s work across multiple markets will make it easier for us to coordinate operations in production, as well as with a wide range of product and market developers.”

During his role as president at GWT, Gross has raised over $5 million in equity investments, served as principal investigator on over $1 million in non-diluting Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant funding, established a robust patent portfolio, and helped orchestrate the first commercial sale of GWT’s core RAB technology.  

Prior to founding GWT, Gross attained dual doctoral degrees from Iowa State University in the fields of Bioprocess Engineering and Food Science and Technology.  Gross also serves as a professor of entrepreneurship at ISU.

“We are glad to have GWT as a gold member and to have Martin’s expertise on the board,”  said Mark Allen, ABO’s Board Chairman and Vice President at Accelergy Corporation. “Water treatment and nutrient runoff is becoming a more urgent issue as global populations grow, and GWT is leading a new generation of sustainable technologies to meet the challenge.”

For more information about Gross-Wen Technologies, visit: https://algae.com/ 

 

Call for Abstracts: 2020 Algae Biomass Summit

January, 9 / 2020

Abstract deadline: February 10, 2020

The Algae Biomass Organization is pleased to announce that abstracts for speaking and poster presentations at the 2020 Algae Biomass Summit are now being accepted. This year’s Summit will take place on September 8 – 11, 2020 at the University of California, San Diego in the coastal community of La Jolla, California.
 
 
The beautiful campus of UC San Diego is located in one of the world’s leading hubs for algae research and entrepreneurship. This will be the ideal setting for everything that makes the Summit an invaluable experience : intimate professional networking, top-notch presentations and discussion, and exposure to the latest breakthroughs, new algae-based products and more.
 
The Summit will be accepting speakers and poster presenters from a wider range of scientific, technological and commercial topics than ever before. Plan to share your research, commercial milestones, policy innovations and more at the largest gathering of algae professionals.
 
First priority consideration will be given to abstracts submitted by February 10, 2020!
 
 

2020 Will See Record Federal Funding for Algae R&D

December, 19 / 2019

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.