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ABO Publishes Descriptive Language Guidelines for Algae Industry

December 2, 2010
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

In an effort intended to remove confusion and increase cohesion among experts evaluating algae technology, the Algal Biomass Organization (ABO) has released its “Algal Industry Minimum Descriptive Language” document—the first attempt at establishing a “common language” for the algae industry.

The document, which is intended to help facilitate life cycle analysis, unify research and spur the deployment of algae demonstration facilities, is currently available for viewing and public comment on the ABO website.

“The absence of common descriptive language has led to a lack of harmony among technologists, researchers, life cycle analysis specialists and entrepreneurs as they evaluate and promote algae technologies,” said Mary Rosenthal, Executive Director of ABO. “This confusion has made it hard for others to truly capture, analyze and quantify algae technologies relative to one another. With a common language, such as the one we and many volunteer stakeholders have proposed, we hope to bring more clarity to the industry.”

The newly-released document was authored by the ABO’s Technical Standards Committee chaired by Jim Sears of A2BE Carbon Capture. The committee works to develop standards and best practices for the algae industry and facilitate the flow of information among industry stakeholders. More than 20 industry experts and organizations reviewed and commented on the document, including individuals from industry associations, national labs, companies and research institutions. It provides a set of metrics and variables for estimating and measuring the economic and environmental footprint and economic impact of an algal production facility, including all inputs and outputs.

ABO’s efforts at standardizing language for the algae industry come as the industry continues to demonstrate significant growth. Between 2005 and 2009, the number of algae-to-biofuel startups more than tripled. A leading analysis of the algae industry projected that the industry would grow by nearly 50 percent annually over the coming decade.

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