Funding Opportunity: Algae Production Systems SBIR

August, 29 / 2018

The USDA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, a competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D), has opened a new opportunity that could support algae production systems. 

The SBIR Aquaculture topic area funds research projects that can improve the production efficiency and competitiveness of private sector, commercial aquaculture in the United States. Under the topic area, algae is listed as a qualifying technology.

Novel or innovative approaches to improve the efficiency of algal production and feedstock logistics including: identification of new (or improved) species with improved nutritional profile for use in aquaculture feed, human food, or food supplements; development of improved bioreactor technology; and development of new methods for harvesting algal biomass.

Phase I awards will be up to $100,000. Applications are due October 25.

Visit the SBIR site for more information. 

Put Algae in the Farm Bill!

August, 29 / 2018

This year Congress is debating a new Farm Bill, legislation that for years has supported agricultural industries, rural communities, and the American foods supply. 

Algae are fast becoming a significant component in food and health products, and it is time that this new crop was afforded the support by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that other crops have seen for decades.

Thanks to outreach by ABO and its members, a number of provisions are being considered in the new Farm Bill that could dramatically accelerate algae farming in the U.S., bringing economic benefits to rural areas and sustainable solutions to the world: 

1. Algae Research Initiative – Included in section 7208 of the House-passed bill, would establish for the first time an Algae Agriculture R&D program at USDA to complement existing work at the Department of Energy.  A Senate floor amendment (SA 3205) further strengthening the House provision was introduced by Senators Cornyn and Udall but not included in the final Senate bill. Urge your representatives in Congress to include Senate Amendment 3205 in the final Farm Bill package.

2.  Crop Assistance for Algae – The absence of an established crop insurance program for algae production may be the single greatest barrier to the establishment of new algae farms and the expansion of existing farms. Section 9 of H.R. 5373, the Algae Agriculture Act, includes two key, no-cost provisions that would begin to pave the way for algae crop insurance. Section 9 of H.R. 5373 should be included in the final Farm Bill package.

3.  Elimination of Algae BCAP Exclusion – Algae is excluded from Collection, Harvest, Storage and Transportation (CHST) payments under the Title IX Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). This exclusion is eliminated under section 9110 of the Senate-passed bill. Section 9110 of the Senate-passed bill should be included in the conference report.

4.  Recycled Carbon Provisions – The Senate-passed bill includes important provisions in support of algae and other Carbon Capture and Use (CCU) applications in rural America. Several additional definitional changes outlined in section 8 of H.R. 5373, the Algae Agriculture Act, and the Bennet-Whitehouse Senate floor amendment SA 3342 are also needed to ensure eligibility of recycled-carbon products. SA 3342 and Sections 7409, 9103, and 9113 of the Senate-passed bill should be included in the conference report.

Help us get algae into the Farm Bill! Contact your representatives today and tell them to support these four key asks.

These provisions are being discussed now, so be sure to make your voice heard soon!

Find your House representative’s phone numbers here.

Find your Senators’ phone numbers here.

Find their Twitter handle here.

Find their Facebook page here.

 

Ana Feeds our World by 2040, Making the Case for Algae in Food

August, 29 / 2018

ABO members are invited to get their free copy of a new book that makes the case for algae as a solution to intractable problems in the global food supply chain.

This will be an invaluable resource for business leaders that need to reach new audiences that are often unfamiliar with the role algae can play in countless markets.

In Ana Feeds our World by 2040 Dr. Mark Edwards, a professor at Arizona State University and expert on communicating the potential of algae, describes the adoption and diffusion of sustainable, healthy and affordable algae-based food for plants, animals and people.

The book shares how the lowest plant on the food chain creates a food renaissance with foods that are superior in nutrients, vitamins, minerals and bioactive compounds. These foods are also substantially more sustainable, productive and affordable than industrial foods.

Ana describes novel solutions for critical issues facing modern agriculture; protein shortages, cropland allocations, water supplies, energy, fertilizer, pesticides, pollution and climate chaos.

Dr. Edwards will be publishing excerpts of his new book on his blog, but ABO members can download their own, full-color PDF copy by logging into their ABO account at www.algaebiomass.org and navigating to the Member Resources page.

 

In Memoriam: Dr. Mark Hildebrand

August, 24 / 2018

ABO was saddened this month by the passing of marine biologist Dr. Mark Hildebrand, the leader of one of the United States’ top centers for algal biofuel research. He was 59. 

Hildebrand was director of the Marine Biology Research Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, and was also a founding member of the California Center for Algae Biotechnology. 

Early in his career Hildebrand became a pioneer of advanced molecular biology approaches related to the study of diatoms, tiny algae known for their silica-based cell walls. His research opened new avenues for the study of diatoms as producers of valuable lipids, the same oils that can be used to make biofuels and a range of other useful products. 

He was a fixture at national meetings of research leaders, and a mentor to countless students devoting their own studies to understanding algal biology and its potential to address global challenges. 

In 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technology Office ranked his program as the top in the country for algal biofuels research. 

He will be missed by the entire ABO membership. 

Scripps has posted more information about Mark’s incredible contributions here. 

More Support for Carbon Utilization in Congress

July, 26 / 2018

This month the momentum for supporting technologies that put carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to good use got a boost in Congress with the introduction of the bipartisan Carbon Utilization Act of 2018. The House bill would support utilization technologies, such as algae cultivation, by allowing them to qualify for support through (USDA) loan guarantees, rural development loans, and research programs.

The legislation was introduced by U.S. Congressmen Scott Peters (CA-52) and David Young (IA-3), and has a complement in the Senate that was introduced by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). All four of these elected officials hail from states that are home to several ABO members and robust algae cultivation operations. 

If passed, the new policy would lead to “increased biogas production as part of a diverse mix of energy sources, from natural gas to nuclear, to wind and solar, and even algae, to meet our future energy needs,” said Rep. Peters.

ABO has worked closely with its membership and Congressional leaders to build support for new technology development policies that can accelerate the role algae could play in energy, agriculture and other industries.

“Algae and other emerging technologies are transforming carbon emissions from [an] environmental challenge to economic opportunity. The Carbon Utilization Act recognizes the important role USDA can and must play in supporting farmers, small businesses, and rural utilities in the deployment of carbon capture and use and the development of value-added products from recycled carbon. ABO thanks Congressmen Peters and Young for their leadership in this important work,” said Matt Carr, Executive Director of Algae Biomass Organization.

Read more in this press release. 

Give Your Garden A Boost With Seaweed

July, 26 / 2018

This helpful article on the sustainable living website eartheasy.com touts the benefits of gardening with seaweed. Mulching with seaweed collected at the beach saves water, enriches soil, repels pests, and boosts productivity, according to founder Greg Seaman.

“Seaweed will benefit your garden any time of year, but it is especially useful as a mulch to protect plants during hot, dry weather. In our garden, we’ve come to rely on seaweed as a valuable, yet free, source of fertilizer, mulch and organic pest control all in one natural material.”

Among other tips, Seaman suggests using small, broken-up seaweed gathered a few yards inland from the water’s edge. Once home, apply a 4-inch-thick layer on top of the soil in place of conventional mulch.

Greg isn’t alone. Chris Hull at Organic Authority makes a similar case in this article, adding that natural seaweed has 60 trace minerals and ready-to-use nutrients including nitrogen, potassium, phosphate, and magnesium.

Hulk Skin: Incredible Applications Of Algae In Regenerative Medicine

July, 25 / 2018

A recent study in the journal Biomaterials proposes using photosynthetic green microalgae to solve a pressing problem in the field of regenerative medicine. After a burn or other serious injury, a patient’s dead tissue is surgically removed, and a dressing is applied to the wound. The body eventually recovers by forming a scar.

Advancements in the field of artificial tissue engineering have enabled the prospect of using a patient’s own cells to grow new skin and muscle tissues in a laboratory, which can then be transplanted at the site of the wound. However, researchers have been unable to engineer viable capillaries given their small size and fragile meshwork. Faced with this challenge, the researchers in this study cleverly chose to circumvent this problem by incorporating algae into the tissue scaffolds prior to implantation.

When the algae embedded in the cell tissue are exposed to light, they undergo photosynthesis and produce oxygen, where it is locally available to neighboring cells. Incredibly, the study also shows that algae in engineered tissues can be genetically modified to safely produce and deliver beneficial molecules like human growth factors directly to cells in addition to oxygen, further enhancing recovery.

In case you were wondering, that green color eventually disappears. The algae, having served their function, are broken down and absorbed by the body.

Tuesday is Algae Day at BIO World Congress

July, 13 / 2018

The BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology is the world’s largest gathering of the industrial biotech sector, bringing together the biggest names in food and agriculture, energy and manufacturing, and more. And this year the Congress will host its first ever Algae Day!

ABO is partnering with BIO to present a full day of algae programming on the conference’s opening day, Tuesday, July 17, featuring presentations from leading ABO members, including Algama, Algenol, Arizona State University, Corbion Biotech, DSM, Qualitas Health and more. Sessions include:

Then join ABO staff and Directors for a Meet & Greet at the conclusion of the day’s programming, 6:00-7:30pm at 13 Restaurant in the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. RSVP here. Join us!

Algae 101: Commercial Applications for Algae

July, 10 / 2018

Meet the Biggest Names in the Algae Industry at this Special Networking Session Before the Algae Biomass Summit!
  
We have just announced a new, exclusive session that will kick off the 2018 Algae Biomass Summit this year in The Woodlands, Texas!

Algae 101 is a chance to meet face-to-face with the scientific and commercial leaders that are turning algae into a game-changing technology.

Hear from the insiders that are using algae to revolutionize food, nutrition, water treatment, advanced materials, energy and many other markets.

Register soon–this exclusive session sold out last year!

 
Algae 101
Sunday, October 14, 2018
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center
The Woodlands (Greater Houston), Texas
$75 for ABO members
$100 for non-members

Learn more

Contact Your U.S. Senators TODAY in Support of Algae Agriculture

June, 28 / 2018

The algae community is close to radically altering the way U.S. farm policy approaches algae – but only if we make our voices heard.

Following months of outreach, education and advocacy by ABO and its members, the U.S. Senate is considering a series of proposals to boost U.S. Department of Agriculture support for algae agriculture and related technologies. The fate of these proposals could be determined this week.

Thanks to remarkable work by ABO and its partners, the 5-year Farm Bill being debated this week in the U.S. Senate contains several provisions to boost algae agriculture, including:

  • Nearly $900 million for Title IX “Energy Title” programs
  • Full eligibility for algae under the Biomass Crop Assistance Program
  • Improvements to the Biorefinery Assistance loan guarantee program
  • New USDA Carbon Utilization Education program

But the fate of three key amendments remains up in the air:

  • USDA Algae Research Initiative – Amendment SA 3205 from Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Tom Udall (D-NM) would for the first time establish an Algae Research Initiative at USDA, creating a home for research on algae for food and feed, soil health and nutrient management, and other applications of algae in agriculture. ABO secured a similar provision in the House of Representatives’ version of the bill, but it was not included in the language approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee earlier in June.
  • Loans for Carbon Capture and Use – A pair of amendments (SA 3341 and SA 3342) from Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) would provide explicit eligibility for biological carbon capture and use (CCU) projects, including algae, under USDA’s Rural Electric Loan program and Biorefinery Assistance Program.

Please call, tweet, or Facebook message your two U.S. Senators TODAY with the following message:

“My name is [YOUR NAME] from [YOUR ORGANIZATION] in [YOUR TOWN]. I am [calling/writing] to ask Senator [YOUR SENATOR]to support the growing algae industry in [YOUR STATE] by asking Agriculture Committee Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow to please include the Cornyn-Udall amendment SA 3205, as well as Bennet amendments SA 3341 and SA 3342 in the Farm Bill managers’ package.”   

>>>Find your Senators’ phone numbers here: CALL

>>>Find their twitter handle here: TWEET

>>>Find their Facebook page here: MESSAGE

More than ever, Senators really do pay attention to these kind of messages, especially when they come from constituents. We need as many Senators as possible to know about the importance of these amendments to the algae community. So get on the phone or your favorite social media platform TODAY and let your Senators hear from the Algae Nation.