ABO engages K&L Gates to help advocate for US algae industry
The Algal Biomass Organization has taken a major step in its evolution as the trade association for the U.S. algae industry by engaging the Washington, D.C., office of the global law firm, K&L Gates LLP. The firm will help ABO in its efforts to educate federal policy makers about the growing potential for algae biofuels and the role they will play in U.S. energy production, national security and economic development, and to advocate for legislation that helps create parity for algae-derived fuels among the various regulatory and tax incentives available to other types of biofuels.
The investment by ABO comes as at a critical time for the industry, as fuels that can be derived from algae, such as gasoline, biodiesel and aviation fuel, are moving out of the laboratory and into the marketplace.
"The industry is breaking ground on new production facilities around the nation, paving the way to commercial availability. Still, however, algae-based fuels continue to be at a disadvantage when it comes to federal policy," said Mary Rosenthal, executive director of the ABO. "At a time when Congress is focused on job creation, policymakers need to look no further than the algae industry, which is creating jobs across the ecosystem, from research and engineering, to construction and manufacturing, to administrative jobs in nearly every state in the U.S."
The Algal Biomass Organization supports the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Parity Act of 2011, which was introduced by Senators Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. By amending the Clean Air Act and combining the existing categories of ''cellulosic biofuel'' and ''advanced biofuel'' into a single technology-neutral category of ''advanced biofuel,'' the bill gives algae-based companies the same tax treatment other biofuel companies have received for years.
"Making the RFS technology-neutral is just one change that can help put algae-based products on a level playing field," said Rosenthal. "Our industry has made great strides in technology and commercialization over the last few years, and we expect markets for food, fuels and chemicals to see more algae-based entrants. Updating policies that were crafted before this technology had matured will have to be a priority if we want the U.S. to reap the benefits."
Algae-based products and biofuels can be produced on land that is not used for agriculture, with water sources that are otherwise unusable, and at per-acre yields that vastly exceed other crops used for fuel production. As the demand for liquid fossil fuels grows faster than new supplies can be brought to market, the algae industry has been working to develop a range of fuels that can fill the gap, stimulate economic development in virtually any state, and provide a source of sustainable, domestically produced fuels that enhances U.S. energy security.