Major Announcements Mark Opening Day of 4th Annual Algae Biomass Summit

Governor Jan Brewer proclaims “Algae Innovation Awareness Week” in Arizona


PHOENIX – September 29, 2010 – The 2010 Algae Biomass Summit, the official conference of the Algae Biomass Organization (ABO), opened yesterday in Phoenix, Arizona, and was marked by several major announcements, including funding for algae research, special proclamations, and federal legislation.  More than 600 industry leaders and stakeholders from 27 countries are participating in the event, the world’s largest algae conference.

“Today’s special and first-of-a-kind announcements added another level of energy and excitement to the Summit,” said Mary Rosenthal, Executive Director of ABO. “We’re thrilled with the broad array of people, organizations and countries represented here at the conference, and look forward to two more days of informative sessions and networking.”

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer kicked off the event with a major funding announcement – a $2 million investment in the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI), a partnership between Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) and Arizona State University (ASU). AzCATI will serve as a statewide and international intellectual and resource hub for algae-based goods, find innovative commercial uses for algae, operate as a learning environment for next generation scientists, facilitate collaboration between higher education, industry and national entities and be a national “test bed” for algae technology.  The Governor also proclaimed the week of September 26 – October 2, 2010 as “Algae Innovation Awareness Week” in the state of Arizona.

While it didn’t happen at the conference, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4168, the Algae-based Renewable Fuel Promotion Act, which gives algae-based biofuel tax parity with cellulosic biofuels with respect to a $1.01 per gallon production tax credit and a 50 percent bonus depreciation for biofuel plant property. This strong show of support for the U.S. algae industry was well received by attendees.

Among the many presentations and panel sessions, the subject of the use of genetic technology in developing algae and associated risks was addressed by Stephen Mayfield, Ph.D., director of the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology and a professor at University of California, San Diego. Dr. Mayfield discussed the stringent regulatory requirements for development, as well as the inability of genetically enhanced algae to survive in the wild. An interview with Dr. Mayfield is availablehere.

Photos and video of the day’s events, as well as the pre-conference tour, are available here.

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