Cooperation Drives the Algae Opportunity

By Mary Rosenthal | July 22, 2013

How does a new technology become a market opportunity? There may be no “secret” to making an innovative idea a market success, but those of us in the algae industry know that dedication and teamwork are common ingredients.

Cooperation is a driving force behind our industry’s strategy to make more technology demonstrations possible, bring new products to market, and provide the industrial base for sustainable and renewable fuels, feeds and other products from algae.

The algae opportunity has grown so rapidly due to breakthroughs funded by agencies such as the US. DOE and USDA, the zeal of ambitious entrepreneurs, hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital, and the commercialization power of institutional customers like the U.S. Department of Defense, FedEx, United Airlines and many others. Outside of the U.S., the Algae Biomass Organization is working with a coalition in Japan, coordinating meetings with their key energy and environment ministries and the USDA, DOE and U.S. Department of the Navy.

One opportunity to join this team is coming up this fall when we gather for the annual Algae Biomass Summit in Orlando, Fla. From Sept. 30-Oct. 3, more than 800 algae leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, suppliers, researchers and government officials will be discussing the latest advances in algae commercialization, research and finance. New deals, contacts and breakthroughs are always expected at the industry’s largest conference.

We are currently putting the finishing touches on the agenda, which will cover every aspect of the industry’s products, from fuels to feeds, to fertilizers and food products. We’ll hear about the latest developments in algae-derived biofuels from Paul Woods, CEO of Florida-based Algenol Biofuels, and CJ Warner, CEO and chairman of Sapphire Energy.

Updates on companies commercializing high-value algae-based feeds, nutritional products and specialty chemicals will come from leaders like Tim Burns, president of BioProcess Algae, Dan Simon, president of Heliae, and Mike VanDrunen, CEO and founder of Algix LLC.

The summit comes at a time when the industry is seeing more laboratory breakthroughs move into the marketplace. Many companies are opening large-scale demonstration and precommercial facilities, with expectations for expansions in the future. State and national policymakers are also taking notice. Arizona, Ohio and Iowa have all recently passed legislation to attract algae companies, and in January, Congress passed the first-ever algae biofuel tax credit.

Algae is attracting more attention than ever because for the first time, we are seeing new production facilities come on line and a growing array of algae-derived products, including biofuels, being offered to consumers.

Our meeting in Orlando is the place to learn about the opportunities for algae entrepreneurs, researchers and investors around the globe. If you are not already on the team bringing these new innovations to life, I urge you to take a look at the agenda and join us at the summit.
We will see you there.

Author: Mary Rosenthal
Executive Director, Algae Biomass Organization