ABO bids farewell to executive director

By Algae Biomass Organization | February 21, 2019

Matt Carr, executive director of the Algae Biomass Organization since 2014, has announced that he will be leaving the organization at the end of March to return to academia.

The board of directors will soon begin the process of recruiting a new executive director. In the meantime, ABO will continue its work advocating for research and development funding, opening markets for a wide range of algae products, and elevating the work of all ABO members.

During his tenure Carr guided ABO, and the algae industry at large, through remarkable changes and on to unprecedented success.

In a note to ABO members, Mark Allen, vice president of integrated carbon solutions at Accelergy Corp. and chair of ABO’s board of directors, commented, "Over the past five years Matt lead ABO through a significant diversification from its origins in algae for biofuels to a much broader universe of opportunity for algae in food and feed, nutrition and health, chemicals and materials, biofertilizers, energy, and carbon capture and utilization.

"On the policy front he has been a tireless advocate on Capitol Hill and with Federal agencies making the case for annual appropriations on the order of $40 million that flowed into important research and projects across the algae value chain to the benefit of ABO members and the industry. He spearheaded important legislative wins in carbon capture and utilization and landmark accomplishments in the 2018 Agriculture Bill that will benefit ABO members and the algae industry for decades to come.

"These accomplishments and much more are reflected in the quality and diversity of the annual ABO Summit, the world’s leading algae gathering and celebration of algae scientists, entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, government officials, and Fortune 500 companies that are adopting algae into their products and operations. Matt has been the greatest algae enthusiast of all."


An accomplished tenure, and a foundation for the future

Carr’s transformation of the ABO into an organization representing the full universe of opportunities made possible by advanced algae cultivation has led to remarkable membership growth and policy success.

ABO’s membership now includes five of the largest domestic algae producers. New corporate members that have joined over the past year represent some of the most significant points in the algae value chain. These include providers of food and nutrition products, advanced engineering firms, providers of algae-based water treatment systems, laboratory systems and automation, biofuels and more.

The growth and diversity of the ABO community was critical in propelling a number of remarkable policy wins that will accelerate the development of algae technology and commercialization, including:

An active and strong bipartisan Congressional Algae Caucus This group of lawmakers has become an active advocate for annual appropriations that support important research and projects across the algae value chain to the benefit of ABO members and the industry. These funds are expected to exceed $40 million in 2019.

An engaged Interagency Algae Working Group A group coordinating federal algae R&D efforts that includes the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Agriculture, Heath and Human Services, and the National Science Foundation, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

A transformation of carbon capture policy – An update to the 45Q tax credit will allow algae and other biological forms of carbon capture utilization to take advantage of this valuable incentive for the first time.

A Farm Bill that supports algae farming – Provisions in the latest Farm Bill that will assist the algae industry include a new Algae Agriculture Research Program at USDA, and language directing the Department to develop crop insurance tools for algae production – with the potential to deliver millions of dollars of value annually to the algae industry.

The launch of the Future of Algae for Food and Feed Initiative – With the launch of the Future of Algae for Food and Feed (FAFF) initiative, a huge step was taken toward addressing barriers to widespread adoption of algae food and feed ingredients. The FAFF also laid the groundwork for new partners – and new funding streams – for this important work.

A successful Algae Biomass Summit, with a strong program shaping up for 2019 in Orlando – The Algae Biomass Summit has become the most important algae industry event. The 2018 Summit featured its strongest business program to date, including a new Products & Markets Track, the Algae Product Showcase, an algae-focused menu, and attracted nearly 200 first-time attendees. The 2019 Summit is shaping up to be even better.


"We view ABO's mission to advance algae technologies and products as a marathon that is run in a series of sprints. Matt has given us an incredible five years, and as he passes the baton to a new era of leadership we find ourselves more than ready for the next stage of the race," said Allen.

The Board of Directors expresses its gratitude to Carr for his years of service. We will miss Carr, but know he will continue to make a great impact for society and the planet through educating the next generation of leaders.