New Policy Support for Algae: House Supports Algae R&D Funding, Navy’s Farm to Fleet to Allow Algae-Based Fuels

Dear Algae Biomass Organization member,

It is with great enthusiasm that I extend to you greetings from Washington, DC, the new home of the Algae Biomass Organization. It’s a true honor to take the helm of this great organization, and to have the opportunity to represent the cutting edge businesses and leading global institutions striving to fulfill the tremendous promise of algae biomass technology.

I look forward to working with you across the full range of ABO’s activities to propel the growth of this vital industry. Together, we are helping to solve some the planet’s greatest challenges in energy, food and nutrition, medicine, agriculture and the environment. I am proud to join you in this vital endeavor.

In the coming weeks, you’ll hear from me on a range of issues, from the upcoming Algae Biomass Summit to the Summer of Algae. Today, I want to highlight a pair of major advocacy milestones from ABO’s Executive Policy Committee:

House Energy and Water Bill: $30 million for algae; support for added value products; support for algae use of CO2
Yesterday, the House Energy and Water Subcommittee made public the House Energy and Water Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2015. We are pleased to report that, for the first time, the House subcommittee has supported $30 million for algae R&D funding through the Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Program. In the past, while the House has included language supporting algae in their Energy and Water bills, they have never included the $30 million funding level. We have relied on the Senate to help us reach $30 million during negotiations.

Having such strong, specific House support is a milestone for the algae industry. In addition to the $30 million funding level, the House appropriations bill includes language which encourages the Department of Energy to “examine the commercial potential for value added renewable products . . . including proteins, fish food, and other renewable chemicals,” specifically mentioning algae.

Finally, the bill also encourages the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy to “examine the feasibility of carbon utilization technologies …such as projects that utilize large volumes of carbon dioxide in the production of algae.”

This success is the result of diligent lobbying by the EPC as well as very strong support from the Congressional Algae Caucus, co-chaired by Representative Scott Peters (D-CA) and Representative Matt Salmon (R-AZ).

The House Full Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up this bill today and the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations language should be finalized at the committee level this week as well. Ultimately, the House and Senate bills will be passed in their respective chambers, and then reconciled by a “conference committee” before being sent to the President for his signature. We will continue to monitor this legislation and provide updates.

Department of the Navy: Farm to Fleet Program Allows Algae as Feedstock
The Defense Logistics Agency and the US Navy recently published a solicitation under the Farm to Fleet Program seeking biofuels for large-scale operational use. Until now, biofuels had been purchased by the Navy for testing purposes only. The Navy is not allowed to purchase fuel unless the price is competitive with fossil fuel, therefore, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will “buy down” the difference in the price of biofuel using Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funding.

The EPC had been told by USDA officials that there was some question as to whether algae would qualify for support under the CCC. The EPC was in regular contact with the USDA on this issue, providing information to support algae’s eligibility under the CCC, and we recently learned that algae will be an allowable feedstock for biofuel under the Farm to Fleet Program.

The deadline for responding to the Farm to Fleet solicitation is July 9. The complete solicitation can be found here.

These EPC successes will benefit the entire algae industry, and no doubt there will be more to report in the future.

I am looking forward to working closely with all of ABO’s members as we build the algae industry into its full potential!

Matt Carr, Ph. D.
Executive Director
Algae Biomass Organization

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