Algae’s Mile-High Potential on Parade

Commercialization and research advancements highlighted at the 6th annual Algae Biomass Summit
By Tim Portz | October 30, 2012

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., opened the Algae Biomass Summit by reminding the nearly 800 attendees that developing domestically produced renewable fuels was a “strategic and tactical necessity.” Udall’s opening remarks were only part of the highlights from the sixth annual event. In addition to an industry update from Mary Rosenthal, Algae Biomass Organization executive director, the event included discussion on the commercialization efforts of the industry’s largest players, sustainability measures, the role of the federal government in the industry’s growth and international efforts to bring algae to commercial relevance.

Conference attendees filled breakout rooms during the four-day summit to hear expert perspective on the year’s developments and advancements in engineering and analysis, biology, scale-up and factors influencing finance and policy. In all, more than 135 oral presentations were available to conference attendees in addition to nearly 120 research-based poster presentations. In addition to the robust offering of oral and poster content, the Algae Biomass Summit’s continued to establish itself as the premier venue to conduct business as 60 vendors staffed booths on a busy trade show floor.

Todd Taylor, energy and corporate attorney with Fredrickson & Byron, and program co-chair, says the event’s opening panel discussion on companies moving towards commercialization, “are on the vanguard, but they are not the exception.” ABO-affiliated companies, Taylor also said, “are aggressively seeking commercialization opportunities in many areas,” and that companies recognize that seeking commercial opportunities means R&D isn't finished, but is instead “an essential and ongoing part of creating a viable and long-lasting industry,” he says.

New to the summit was the addition of the Young Researcher Award Poster Competition. The number of entries for the poster session was up from last year, but this year a jury selected a group of winners. First place recipients included Estaban Hincapie from Colorado State University in the engineering category and Beth Rasala from the University of California San Diego in biology.
The 2013 Algae Biomass Summit will be hosted in Orlando, Fla., Sept. 30-Oct. 3.