Just Published: The Agenda for the 2019 Algae Biomass Summit

May, 21 / 2019

Algae Biomass Summit Orlando, Florida September 16-19, 2019Ready to take advantage of the algae opportunity? We have just posted the agenda for the world’s largest algae conference, the 2019 Algae Biomass Summit. 

Join us in Orlando, Florida this September 16-19 to network with industry leaders, learn about new products, research innovations, and see cutting-edge algae technologies first-hand. 

Make your plans soon, our early-bird rates expire a month earlier than past years: July 1st, 2019. 

Topical themes that will be explored at the largest gathering of algae professionals include:

  • Hundreds of new products that algae can create in markets for sustainable protein alternatives, aquaculture and animal feeds, nutritional supplements, cosmetics and skin care, biofuels, fertilizers, clothing, plastics, and much more
  • The critical role algae can play carbon capture, water treatment and other industrial services in need of process and sustainability improvements
  • A new federal inter-agency group setting the agenda for advancing algae technologies and innovations, including millions of dollars in funding to be announced over the next year
  • Scientific advances in algae cultivation, harvesting, strain selection, and more
  • Education and training opportunities for the algae workforce

If you attend the 2019 Summit you will also have a rare chance to tour carbon capture and algae cultivation demonstration at a nearby power plant operated by the Orlando Utilities Commission. This project, supported by the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, illustrates how algae can be used to address climate change and produce valuable biomass for fuel, feed or other products. More information about the tour is available at: https://www.algaebiomasssummit.org/page/tours

In addition to more than a hundred speakers, the Summit features networking and hands-on demonstrations in a central exhibit hall, a product showcase, and a Young Innovators Lounge for early-career scientists.

The Summit is the go-to conference for all things algae. Sign up today and make your plans to visit Orlando!

See the agenda

Registration info

Tour info

Algae Gets a Boost in Agriculture, Carbon Capture and Infrastructure Policy

April, 29 / 2019

The algae opportunity is attracting attention for its potential to disrupt dozens of markets. Congress is taking note too.

Following the success of early technology investments by the Department of Energy and other agencies, Congress has expanded federal support for this growing industry by including algae in the 2018 Farm Bill, reforming tax credits to ease investments, and ensuring carbon capture projects can become a reliable source of CO2 feedstocks for algae cultivation.

Here are a few of the recent policy developments that ABO’s Executive Policy Committee is monitoring:

The Farm Bill of 2018 Classifies Algae as a Crop

Last December we heralded the unprecedented support for algae in the latest Farm Bill. This legislation calls on the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to classify algae as a crop, with many of the same regulatory advantages enjoyed by wheat, corn or soy. It is a landmark achievement for the industry. 

The USDA is now preparing the rulemaking, requests for information and other processes that will make new R&D funding available, lay the foundations for new regulatory support, and even build insurance programs that will help make algae a major crop in the United States.

After a long campaign to get algae recognized in agriculture legislation, ABO’s attention will now shift to ensuring that the changes are implemented to maximum effect. We are working closely with USDA staff to provide the latest information and industry updates that can streamline the process.

With proper implementation, the Farm Bill will provide a major boost to algae R&D and efforts to bring new products and services to market.

Rulemaking for the Section 45Q Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) tax credit

A robust algae industry can deliver massive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, but only if the infrastructure to transport CO2 to algae cultivation facilities is put into place. ABO worked with a large coalition to pass a tax reform known as 45Q that will make investment in this kind of infrastructure much easier. Algae is specifically named as a pathway for carbon capture qualifying for this tax credit.

Now we are focusing on ensuring this reform is implemented in a way that provides the investment our members need to be successful. As the U.S. Treasury moves forward with rulemaking, ABO’s Executive Policy Council is mindful that project size limits, application requirements and other variables all must be inclusive of algae.

The USE-IT Act

New legislation has also been proposed that could boost algae, especially when it comes to carbon capture technologies. In the Senate, a bipartisan group has re-introduced the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act, a bill that would support new technologies that can capture carbon from industrial sources, or even directly from the air. A companion bill in the House has been sponsored by Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), co-chair of the Congressional Algae Caucus.

Passage of this legislation would be a significant driver of investment in algae and other technologies that will transform carbon emissions from an environmental challenge into economic opportunity.


This bill introduced by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lisa Murkowski, (R-AK) and others would provide new support for carbon utilization technology and deployment. Critically for algae, the bill calls for studies that can help overcome barriers and identify opportunities to commercialize carbon. ABO is working closely with Congressional offices to make sure the language in the bill is friendly to algae.

Master Limited Partnership (MLP) Reform

An MLP is a type of business organization that comes with significant tax advantages, but under U.S. law they can only be used by fossil fuel companies. Reforming MLP’s to include renewable energy would level the investment playing field, and accelerate the deployment of infrastructure vital to a robust algae industry.

ABO has been a long-time supporter of these reforms, and with momentum building even in some fossil energy quarters for a change, we may see legislation on this front advance soon.

More to come

Over the next few months ABO will be working closely on all of these initiatives and more. Policymakers are discovering that the challenges in food production, energy, and climate change are becoming more urgent than ever. Advanced algae technologies must be part of the solution.

Ready to get involved? Join ABO today, come to the Algae Biomass Summit, and tell your Congressional delegation to support policies that will accelerate the role algae can play in our economic, environmental and energy security.

Checkerspot Raises $13M to Produce Advanced Materials from Algae

April, 29 / 2019

ABO member Checkerspot announced this month that it has closed a $13M Series A funding round that will further propel the company’s technology that uses microalgae to make high-performance materials.

Checkerspot’s platform views microalgae triglycerides, or oils, as scaffolds that in combination with chemistry and fabrication can unlock a new revolution in sustainable manufacturing. Traditional sources of triglyceride feedstocks can include palm, soy and canola, and are used by hundreds of markets, from producers of beauty products to industrial materials. However, these traditional sources suffer from increasing challenges in production sustainability, as well as performance limits.

Checkerspot’s ability to modify the properties of microalgae fatty acids means the company can customize a product to meet very specific performance metrics. Those metrics might include a desired strength-to-weight ratio, water repellency, or a production process that is less reliant on expensive or toxic feedstocks.

Checkerspot illustrates how new approaches in biology and manufacturing are beginning to harness the natural potential of algae in ways that will have enormous impacts for global industries. It’s just one more way that ABO members are at the forefront of world-changing technology!

For more information check out Checkerspot’s press release, and this story at SynBioBeta.


Algae R&D Featured in Interagency Framework for Advancing the Bioeconomy

March, 27 / 2019

This month the federal Biomass Research and Development (BR&D) Board unveiled a multi-agency strategy to accelerate innovative biomass technologies for affordable biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. Algae cultivation is prominently featured among the suite of technologies the effort is harnessing. 

The B&RD Board is an interagency collaborative which is co-chaired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The new strategy document lays out a plan to address challenges in technology uncertainty; leverage government, academic, and industrial resources and capabilities; stimulate public-private partnerships; and generate new and useful technical information. 

The report identifies a number of areas specific to algae that can be addressed with improved R&D efforts, including:

  • Growing and harvesting highly productive algae at large scale
  • Fractionation and conversion of algae into fuels and products
  • Addressing the resources needed for the distribution and utilization of a national algal industry
  • Analytical assessments that can provide information on the improved sustainability profile of algae-based products

View the full report here (PDF).

ABO members are working closely with the new interagency group to ensure that they are able to coordinate with the industry’s leading research and commercialization efforts. 

NCMA Courses on Algae Culturing and Identification

March, 24 / 2019

The National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota (NCMA) at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences will be offering two courses this year that may be of interest to ABO members looking to enhance their culturing and identification skills:

More information about application deadlines, course dates and fees is available in the links above. 

Make an Impression at the 2019 Algae Biomass Summit

March, 22 / 2019

It's the largest algae conference in the world!Advanced algae production is driving a wave of change, and is creating new opportunities around the world. From a revolution in food production, to new water treatment options, to climate change and environmental sustainability, leaders from around the globe are realizing that algae will a big part of a successful future.

The 2019 Algae Biomass Summit, organized by the non-profit Algae Biomass Organization has become the go-to event to discover the new innovations, products and services that are being made possible with a new generation of algae cultivation technologies. This year the Summit is being held in Orlando, Florida, September 16-19.

Exhibiting and sponsoring at the world’s largest gathering of algae professionals is the best way to tap into the networks that are making this revolution possible. The event’s exhibit hall is heavily trafficked, with receptions for networking and product demonstrations of the latest advances. Learn how to become an exhibitor here. 

For an even larger role, becoming a sponsor of the Summit can demonstrate a real dedication to leadership in this new industry. In addition to a higher visibility profile and a range of VIP benefits (including exhibit space), you will also be supporting the only algae event that recycles all proceeds into non-profit advocacy to advance algae R&D, market development and more. Learn about sponsorship opportunities here. 

If you are ready to connect with ABO’s network and make an impact with algae reach out to us today! We are happy to walk you through the options whether you are looking for an introduction to the industry, or taking your existing engagement with the algae industry to the next level.

Seeking Research or Material Deposit Collaboration? Look No Further Than Inside ABO Membership!

February, 26 / 2019

Bigelow Laboratory is well known for its leading algal culture collection and marine microbiology research. Did you know Bigelow also houses 1 of ONLY 3 US-based WIPO International Depositary Authority facilities approved for patent procedure under the Budapest Treaty?

By Mike Lomas, NCMA Director, Senior Research Scientist, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Bigelow LaboratoryBigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences is a world-renowned oceanographic research institution that has materially contributed to what is known about the global ocean for the past four decades. Bigelow currently provides  academic, industrial, and government partners with the same services used by its scientists, to help advance research, enhance discoveries, and find solutions to today’s complex problems. The Lab has six Core Facilities that provide a range of services to individual clients who benefit from its expertise, equipment, and entrepreneurial spirit. In addition, for those interested in working directly in a research-based environment, Bigelow offers its Industrial Collaboration Laboratory and Pilot-Scale Greenhouse for entrepreneurial activities.

Did you know that one of Bigelow’s Core Facilities, the National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota (NCMA), offers a Private Deposit service for biological material and houses 1 of ONLY 3 US-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) International Depositary Authority facilities approved for patent procedure under the Budapest Treaty?

Whether one needs to cryopreserve its biological material for the purpose of patent procedure or would simply prefer a secure backup option outside of its existing lab, Bigelow possesses a dedicated cryopreservation and culturing facility and highly experienced staff ready and willing to meet a Depositor’s needs. The Lab currently accepts a wide range of biological material, e.g., algae, microbes, and terrestrial plant tissue and seed, and has unmatched experience working with marine microorganisms.

PATENT DEPOSIT.  WIPO designated Bigelow’s NCMA as an International Depositary Authority for the purpose of patent procedure under the Budapest Treaty in 2013. As mentioned, Bigelow currently accepts terrestrial plant tissue and plant seed, microbes (non-pathogenic bacteria, non-parasitic protozoa, archaea), and algae (unicellular and multicellular). Deposits can be made directly for this purpose or readily transferred from a Depositor’s private deposit, as applicable, depending upon the status of the Depositor’s IP in development.  The NCMA provides viability tests after the initial deposit and handles all deposit distribution once filed patents are awarded. 

PRIVATE DEPOSIT. As mentioned, the NCMA also accepts biological material into its Private Deposit collection. In this scenario, Depositors typically choose to deposit and cryopreserve (or perpetually culture) their material for off-site storage, risk management, and curation of their valuable biological strains. If a Depositor’s biological material is not cryopreserved, NCMA can either work with them to develop appropriate cryopreservation protocols (NCMA has been cryopreserving algae since 1992 and has~1600 of its own strains cryopreserved) or maintain their strains in liquid medium on a long-term basis. All deposits are completely confidential and accessible only to the Depositor through Bigelow’s secure web-based platform.

About Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Bigelow Laboratory’s mission is to investigate the microbial drivers of global ocean processes through basic and applied research, education, and enterprise. What we are learning will be essential to the conservation and responsible use of the ocean and the many valuable services it provides.

Please contact us at jbrandeis@bigelow.org or (415) 203 8231 for more information or to discuss research or deposit collaboration.

Note: This is a guest post for the ABO blog. The views and opinions expressed by the author(s) are theirs alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by the Algae Biomass Organization

New USDA Program Supports Innovation in Agriculture

February, 25 / 2019

ABO members are among a new generation of innovators that are bringing solutions to global challenges like food production, water use and climate change. As these innovators garner more attention, Congress has just begun to develop more programs that can give their efforts a boost. 

One that will be of interest to algae cultivators, product developers and researchers is the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AGARDA), a new program created in the 2019 Farm Bill that will support innovations in food and agriculture.

Some of AGARDA’s objectives will include:

  • early-stage research for innovations with application to agriculture products
  • prototype testing
  • assistance with product approval, licensure, and clearance
  • assistance with the manufacturing and commercialization of products
  • support R&D for plant pest countermeasures and veterinary countermeasures. 

AGARDA is modeled after programs at the Department of Energy that have had great success supporting cutting-edge developments before they are commercially successful: the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Biomedical Advanced R&D Agency (BARDA), and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

Any ABO member with an interest in pushing the envelope when it comes to innovating in agriculture should keep an eye on how AGARDA gets off the ground in the coming months. 

Check out this blog post at K&L Gates for more information.

ABO Bids Farewell to Executive Director Dr. Matt Carr

February, 20 / 2019

He leaves ABO with a strong legacy of industry diversification and policy wins

Dr. Matt Carr, Executive Director of the Algae Biomass Organization since 2014, has announced that he will be leaving the organization at the end of March to return to academia.

The Board of Directors will soon begin the process of recruiting a new Executive Director. In the meantime, ABO will continue its work advocating for research and development funding, opening markets for a wide range of algae products, and elevating the work of all ABO members.

During his tenure Matt guided ABO, and the algae industry at large, through remarkable changes and on to unprecedented success. In a note to ABO members, Mark Allen, Vice President of Integrated Carbon Solutions at Accelergy Corporation and Chair of ABO’s Board of Directors, commented:

“Over the past five years Matt lead ABO through a significant diversification from its origins in algae for biofuels to a much broader universe of opportunity for algae in food and feed, nutrition and health, chemicals and materials, biofertilizers, energy, and carbon capture and utilization.

“On the policy front he has been a tireless advocate on Capitol Hill and with Federal agencies making the case for annual appropriations on the order of $40 million that flowed into important research and projects across the algae value chain to the benefit of ABO members and the industry. He spearheaded important legislative wins in carbon capture and utilization and landmark accomplishments in the 2018 Agriculture Bill that will benefit ABO members and the algae industry for decades to come.

“These accomplishments and much more are reflected in the quality and diversity of the annual ABO Summit, the world’s leading algae gathering and celebration of algae scientists, entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, government officials, and Fortune 500 companies that are adopting algae into their products and operations. Matt has been the greatest algae enthusiast of all.”

An Accomplished Tenure, and a Foundation for the Future

Matt’s transformation of the ABO into an organization representing the full universe of opportunities made possible by advanced algae cultivation has led to remarkable membership growth and policy success.

ABO’s membership now includes five of the largest domestic algae producers. New corporate members that have joined over the past year represent some of the most significant points in the algae value chain. These include providers of food and nutrition products, advanced engineering firms, providers of algae-based water treatment systems, laboratory systems and automation, biofuels and more.

The growth and diversity of the ABO community was critical in propelling a number of remarkable policy wins that will accelerate the development of algae technology and commercialization, including:

  • An active and strong bipartisan Congressional Algae Caucus – this group of lawmakers has become an active advocate for annual appropriations that support important research and projects across the algae value chain to the benefit of ABO members and the industry. These funds are expected to exceed $40 million in 2019.
  • An engaged Interagency Algae Working Group – a group coordinating federal algae R&D efforts that includes the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Agriculture, Heath and Human Services, and the National Science Foundation, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • A transformation of carbon capture policy – An update to the 45Q tax credit will allow algae and other biological forms of carbon capture utilization to take advantage of this valuable incentive for the first time
  • A Farm Bill that supports algae farming provisions in the latest Farm Bill that will assist the algae industry include a new Algae Agriculture Research Program at USDA, and language directing the Department to develop crop insurance tools for algae production – with the potential to deliver millions of dollars of value annually to the algae industry.
  • The launch of the Future of Algae for Food and Feed Initiative – With the launch of the Future of Algae for Food and Feed (FAFF) initiative, a huge step was taken toward addressing barriers to widespread adoption of algae food and feed ingredients. The FAFF also laid the groundwork for new partners – and new funding streams – for this important work.
  • A successful Algae Biomass Summit, with a strong program shaping up for 2019 in Orlando – The Algae Biomass Summit has become the most important algae industry event. The 2018 Summit featured its strongest business program to date, including a new Products & Markets Track, the Algae Product Showcase, an algae-focused menu, and attracted nearly 200 first-time attendees. The 2019 Summit is shaping up to be even better.

“We view ABO’s mission to advance algae technologies and products as a marathon that is run in a series of sprints. Matt has given us an incredible five years, and as he passes the baton to a new era of leadership we find ourselves more than ready for the next stage of the race,” said Allen.

The Board of Directors expresses its gratitude to Matt for his years of service. We will miss Matt, but know he will continue to make a great impact for society and the planet through educating the next generation of leaders.

Become an ABO Intern!

January, 30 / 2019

Students – Are you interested in doing more for your industry while completing your degree? Help define the algae sector of today and shape the industry of tomorrow as an Algae Biomass Organization volunteer virtual intern.

Internships of 8-12 weeks are available and are completely online. Interns serve a vital role by assisting ABO with industry and policy research, social media and communications. Interns leave their experience with a new understanding of the interconnections between research, industry, government and policy, along with exciting new insights and connections. 

Individuals interested in the ABO volunteer virtual internship program should send a brief cover letter and CV or resume to Barb Scheevel, bscheevel@algaebiomass.org.