Fifth Annual Algae Biomass Summit Kicks Off with Powerful Statement of Support from Senator Al Franken

Reality of commercial production for food, feed and fuel dominates discussions on Day One

MINNEAPOLIS (October 25, 2011) The 2011 Algae Biomass Summit, the official conference of the Algal Biomass Organization (ABO), officially opened this morning in Minneapolis with remarks by Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and other leaders on the role the algae industry can play in stimulating economic growth, enhancing national security and addressing climate change.  More than 800 industry leaders and stakeholders from 20 countries are participating in the event, the world’s largest algae conference.

Senator Franken (D-MN) helped kick off the event with a keynote address stressing that algae-based fuel will be an important part of economic development in Minnesota and around the country. Senator Franken’s call for algae-based fuels to receive the same tax treatment as other biofuels, and for the elimination of subsidies on dirty energy, was well received by many of the event’s attendees.

Following Senator Franken’s remarks, several algae business leaders discussed the latest trends that are shaping this emerging industry, including plans to dramatically increase production over the next few years. Executives at Sapphire Energy, Phycal Inc., BioProcess Algae, Heliae Development , Algenol Biofuels, and ExxonMobil described several different technologies being commercially deployed to market the many products that can be derived from algae.

A lunchtime keynote by Harrison Dillon, president at Solazyme, offered a case study of what just one company is doing to exploit the full potential of algae. Dillon walked through how his company is manufacturing designer oils that can be used to make everything from transportation fuels that work in the tanks of today’s cars and trucks, to food products like margarine and cooking oils, to high-end cosmetics.

Judy Canales, administrator of USDA’s Rural Development, Business and Cooperative Programs, also spoke to attendees over lunch on her agency’s commitment to renewable energy development, as well as the direct assistance they provide to entrepreneurs and businesses operating in the space.  She asked the audience to stress the importance of continued funding for Rural Biomass programs in the 2012 Farm Bill.

The summit will continue through Thursday afternoon. Information on the event, including a full agenda is available at  Ongoing developments can also be monitored via the Twitter hashtag #ABS11.

About the ABO

The Algal Biomass Organization (ABO) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the development of viable commercial markets for renewable and sustainable commodities derived from algae. 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:

Media Contact:
John Williams, Scoville PR for ABO

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