Algae Biomass Organization Provides Comments for U.S. DOE’s National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap

Industry trade organization commends government efforts and urges further leadership

SEATTLE – August 12, 2009 – The Algae Biomass Organization (ABO), the trade association for the algae industry, today posted a copy of its comments it provided to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap on its website. The ABO encouraged DOE to do three things: provide a clear vision for its plans for algae-based fuels and energy; promote public-private partnerships to accelerate commercialization; and give algae parity with other feedstocks with regard to tax incentives, regulatory and other federal policies.

The comment period is the culmination of a nearly year-long process of information gathering from the DOE’s Office of Biomass Program. Beginning in December, when the DOE hosted a series of briefings until last week’s conclusion of the commenting period, the Office of Biomass Program has been working with scientists, academics, researchers, entrepreneurs, large companies and end users to more fully understand the potential for algae and best practices to commercialization.

The ABO along with member organizations have provided key insights throughout the process through testimony at workshops, briefings with DOE staff and elected officials, as well as the comments submitted to the DOE.

“The DOE Roadmap process is an important first step to identifying both barriers and opportunities for commercialization of next generation fuels and energy derived from algal-biomass,” said Mary Rosenthal, executive director of the ABO. “The ABO and our members hope this feedback will help the DOE more clearly understand not only the tremendous potential of algae, but also the practical steps needed to take to accelerate the fulfillment of that potential.”

The ABO’s three key recommendations for the DOE Roadmap were:

Provide a clearly defined destination: The Roadmap lacks a clearly defined and government authored vision for the industry in terms of productivity, sustainability, interface with other industries, and job creation. The ABO advocates that the Roadmap make recommendations on the research priorities required to achieve this vision given the current state of algal development. Accordingly, the ABO advises this new vision section of the roadmap should clearly point out how algae’s key attribute (beneficial reuse of CO2) will best meld into and transform the present industrial ecosystem into meeting our nation’s long-term environmental, jobs and energy security goals.

Promote public-private partnership: Because the private industry has the most up-to-date understanding of the specific techno-economic requirements for building and scaling an algae industry, the ABO recommends a public-private collaborative forum be convened to identify the most pressing research required to achieve a sustainable, productive and rapidly scalable algal industry. The ABO believes this forum should be ongoing to track the necessarily rapid public and private advancements within this industry.

Develop financial parity with other feedstocks: The ABO believes a key element to the success of algae biofuels industry will be the public and private investments that are made. Accordingly, the ABO believes the government should establish a system of financial and non-financial incentives that are in parity with other renewable energy technologies. The ABO supports an approach which would be focused on national economic and environmental outcomes rather than technology specific policies.

The ABO believes with the U.S. Government’s continued support, the industry will make a significant impact on addressing the country’s need to achieve a more secure energy future while also reducing the carbon footprint of its energy options. A copy of the full comments is available on the ABO website..

About the ABO
The Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and advocate for the development of commercially-viable transportation and power generation fuels as well as other non-energy applications for algae biomass. Its membership is comprised of people, companies and organizations across the value chain. More information about ABO, including its leadership, membership, costs, benefits and members and their affiliations, is available at the website.

John Williams, Scoville PR for ABO

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