Algae Perspectives by Mary Rosenthal

Brief History of the Algae Biomass Organization

September 20, 2012
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Left: The world’s first Algae Biomass Summit is held in San Francisco, California, November 2007. Right: The 5th Algae Biomass Summit is held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2011.


2007
November

  • The world’s first Algae Biomass Summit is held in San Francisco, California. Organizers expected 50 industry experts to attend. More than 300 showed up.
  • Based on the overwhelming enthusiasm and a growing need to find viable solutions to reduce carbon emissions, attendees agreed to form the Algal Biomass Organization (ABO) to collectively push for algae-based energy solutions.

2008
May

  • The Algal Biomass Organization is incorporated. Entrepreneurs, academics, scientists and leaders of global corporations announce that the group’s goal will be to help accelerate the development and commercial application of algae biomass.

October

  • The 2nd Annual Algae Biomass Summit is held in Seattle, Washington. More than 600 attend.

December

  • ABO forms the organization’s government relations committee; a group of ABO members that will work to educate U.S. policymakers about algae’s potential to be a significant, clean and renewable energy resource.

2009
January

  • Continental Airlines becomes the first airline to fly on jet fuel derived from algae on a January 7 test flight.

June

  • Mary Rosenthal is chosen by ABO’s board as the organization’s first executive director

September

  • The 3rd Algae Biomass Summit is held in San Diego, CA with an estimated attendance of more than 700.
  • The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works includes a Renewable Fuel Standard amendment in the Chairman’s mark of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733). The amendment effectively levels the playing field for advanced green biofuel feedstocks, and recognizes the potential of algae to reduce CO2 emissions, create jobs and increase the nation’s energy independence.

2010
February

  • President Obama’s biofuels strategy includes significant support for the algae industry. Of most significance was the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) finding that algae-based biodiesel and algae-based renewable diesel reduce emissions by more than 50 percent compared to petroleum-based diesel.

April

  • The ABO hosts its first ever Finance Summit in New York City.  Key experts—ranging from government regulators and policymakers, producers, legal experts, and investment professionals—provide a 360 degree view of the capital needs, operating requirements, overall market size and the role of the federal government regarding financial and regulatory support for the rapidly growing industry.

September

  • The 4th Annual Algae Biomass Summit takes place at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Arizona. More than 600 researchers, producers and end-users attend.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives passes H.R. 4168, the Algae-based Renewable Fuel Promotion Act.

October

  • The U.S. Navy successfully tests a vessel powered by a 50-50 blend of the Navy’s traditional shipboard fuel and algae-based renewable diesel.

December

  • ABO releases its “Algal Industry Minimum Descriptive Language” document—the first attempt at establishing a “common language” for the algae industry. The document is intended to help facilitate life cycle analysis, unify research and spur the deployment of algae demonstration facilities.

2011
September

  • The Renewable Fuel Parity Act of 2011 is formally introduced by U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mike Crapo (R.-ID). The bill would give algae-based biofuels tax parity while leveling the playing field for all advanced biofuels by expanding the Clean Air Act’s definition of an advanced biofuel.

 October

  • The 5th Algae Biomass Summit is held in Minneapolis, Minnesota with U.S. Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) as keynote speakers. More than 800 people from 20 countries attended the conference.

November

  • United Airlines flies the first commercial flight powered in part by algae biofuels

2012
February

  • ABO launches AllAboutAlgae.com, a new website developed in concert with the National Biodiesel Board that showcases the potential of algae-based products to provide sustainable and scalable sources of food, energy and fuel.

March

  • A survey of the algae industry conducted by ABO shows algae companies are increasing production in 2012, they expect to be price-competitive with petroleum fuels by 2020, and that stable and effective Federal policy would accelerate production and job creation.
  • Ohio Governor John Kasich signs into law a bipartisan bill defining the production of algae, algaculture, as agriculture in the Ohio Revised Code.

April

  • Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signs two bipartisan bills to widen the tax definitions of agricultural property to include algaculture, and add the growth and harvest of algae to the definition of agricultural state trust land, allowing the State Land Department to issue agricultural leases to algae farms.

August

  • The U.S. Senate Finance Committee approves the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012 with a bipartisan vote. The bill extends the existing cellulosic biofuel tax credit to include algae-based biofuels for the first time.
  • To better reflect the term that most associate with an industry that is moving out of exclusively academic and lab settings into the commercial and consumer markets the ABO officially changes the name of the organization to the Algae Biomass Organization.

September

  • The 6th annual Algae Biomass Summit is held in Denver, Colorado.

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