Visit  cricatalyst.com!Nexus — Leaders in Greenhouse Systems Integration Check out more of The Buzz

NAA proposes “Manhattan Project” for algae

March 19, 2014 | by Barry Cohen, Executive Director, National Algae Association
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

NAALogo1On August 2, 1939, just before the beginning of World War II, Albert Einstein wrote to then President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Einstein and several other scientists told Roosevelt of efforts in Nazi Germany to purify uranium-235, which could be used to build an atomic bomb. It was shortly thereafter that the United States Government began the serious undertaking known then only as “The Manhattan Project.” Simply put, the Manhattan Project was committed to expediting research that would produce a viable atomic bomb.

The National Algae Association is proposing a Manhattan Project for Algae – total and complete collaboration, with the commitment to producing advanced biofuels. We’ve already done the research and it’s time to produce. If we cannot, we can forget about algae for advanced biofuels. We can continue to be held hostage by a government that does not want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil – it’s too important to the world economy and to support university research projects than to support the creation of a new industry that will create new jobs and commercially produce algae-based fuels at strategic locations throughout the U.S.

The challenge is to get Washington to re-think its strategy. They’re working with a 45 year old Congressional Mandate, and refuse to take steps to update Congress that algae research is no longer needed! Rather than fulfill its initial mission, the Department of Energy has changed the mission rather than admit its failure.

NAA has been trying to work with the Department of Energy’s Biomass Program, especially after the release of the National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap in 2010. Since then, NAA has been involved in commercial production, in developing the first 100-acre scale-up plans and specifications, developed the first Algae Production Certification Program to provide a standard baseline of knowledge in commercial algae production and converted it to an online format for international distribution, and has launched algae production incubator sites.

In a showing of its interest in working together, NAA invited all of the members of the newly-formed Algae Caucus to its recent Algae Production Workshop, along with representatives from the Departments of Agriculture (now responsible for growing algae as a crop), Defense and Navy (military fuel). Sadly, not one government department was represented at the Workshop. With $2.5 billion and 60 years already spent on algae research, all with positive results, and knowing about NAA’s successes, one would think they would have had a vested interest in the next step – commercial production.  With algae farms and algae bio-manufacturing plants already built around the world, wouldn’t you think someone would be interested in learning how algae is produced on a commercial scale?

The only thing slowing their growth is a lack of money, says Sapphire Energy’s Tim Zenk. “Our limitation on the commercialization is capital. It’s no longer science.” Another past algae research grant recipient stated years ago that “all algae technology hurdles have been met. It’s all engineering and scale-up going forward.”

Unless there is a “Manhattan Project for Algae“ bringing together private industry, commercially-minded algae researchers using proven technologies that can scale outside the lab and the government committed to commercial production, forget about algae for advanced biofuels. The algae production industry will continue growing algae for higher value co-products, but not for advanced algae biofuels.

More Buzz…

HOME Algae Industry Jobs

Copyright ©2010-2014 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
Natural carotenoid specialists Piveg Inc., with production facilities based in Celaya, Central Mexico, has announced immediate availability of natural astaxanthin materia...
Scientists at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have demonstrated that just two of six iron-sulfur-containing ferredoxins in a represent...
The University of Greenwich is leading a €10m international project, called the ‘D-Factory,’ to build a biorefinery to develop the microalga Dunaliella as a sustainable r...
Biomass abounds on Earth, as forests, fields, sewage and seaweed. But only a small fraction, mostly human or agricultural waste, can be harvested without posing environme...
Algae.Tec Ltd has received its first purchase order from Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited (RIIHL), in connection with the arrangements announced on Ja...
Solazyme, Inc. has announced results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2013. “2013 was a year of great progress for Solazyme as we readied our first...
Technical standards define critical terms and metrics to add wisdom for the algae industry. Agreement among science and business leaders represents possibly the most diff...
Algae is being discussed at the heart of EXPO Milano 2015, the international event that has existed since 1851, spawning world shaping themes and icons, such as the Eiffe...
“Proterro has reached its Q1 sugar-production pilot milestones,” CEO Kef Kasdin reported at the recent Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference, in Washington, D.C. “In fo...
A new, outdoor system at the University of Dayton Research Institute has been producing a high volume of algae since its installation in the summer of 2013, even through ...
Kazuaki Nagata reports from Japan that while the Fukushima nuclear disaster has prompted vigorous discussion about alternative energy in Japan, there is a lack of a paral...
The Guardian reports that Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.), Canada-based Solarvest has created an inventive system utilizing a specific algal strain to grow and produce EPA ...
Jamie Radford writes in the Illawarra Mercury that Pia Winberg, from the University of Wollongong, believes that the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia (NSW) is in...
Algae Industry Magazine is pleased to announce a new Algae 101 series by our popular blogger, Mark Edwards, Professor, Arizona State University. The Algae Solutions to Na...
In an effort to propel the algae industry forward, the Algae Testbed Public Private Partnership (ATP3) offers a series of hands-on specialized workshops suited for partic...
Expanding from its initial work in algal biofuels, General Atomic’s (GA’s) Advanced Biological Processes team has focused on the rising need for food globally, specifical...
Portuguese cement facility, Secil, and microalgae biotechnology company, A4F, also based in Portugal, have formed AlgaFarm, a joint venture to develop the use of cement f...
SCHOTT AG, of Mitterteich, Germany, and Algatechnologies Ltd. (Algatech), based at Israel’s Kibbutz Ketura, have signed an R&D agreement to strengthen their partnersh...