Washington, DC (October 23, 2013) – The Algae Biomass Organization (ABO), the trade association for the algae industry, today applauded the new leadership of the Congressional Algae Caucus, Congressmen Scott Peters (D-CA) and Matt Salmon (R-AZ).
Federal officials are using Sapphire Energy’s Green Crude Farm in Columbus as an example to follow for a new $181 million round of federal funding for biorefineries by the USDA.
“Despite a time of significant budget uncertainty,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced availability of $181 million to develop commercial-scale biorefineries, or to retrofit existing facilities with the appropriate technology to develop advanced biofuels. “This financing will expand the number of commercial biorefineries in operation in the U.S. that are producing advanced biofuels from nonfood sources,” Vilsack said.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2013 –Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of $181 million to develop commercial-scale biorefineries or retrofit existing facilities with appropriate technology to develop advanced biofuels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today's announcement is one part of the Department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
On the day the U.S. government shut down, Sapphire Energy’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Tim Zenk, was contemplating what to do, since several of the people on his upcoming ABS panel were being called back to Washington for the furlough. Dealing with the government is a mixed blessing for a company still in its early development stages. While the government provided early support to give Sapphire a running start, the company also strenuously advocates the government for equal status with other specialty crops – a move that would give algae growers access to extension services, loan guarantees, crop insurance, ag research and marketing resources.
Yesterday, the rankings for the 50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy for 2013-2014 were announced by the Biofuels Digest, the world’s most widely read daily bioenergy publication. This year Sapphire Energy placed in the Top 5 out of 50 companies coming in as the fourth Hottest Company in bioenergy, an improvement over last year’s placement in the Top 10. More than 100,000 individual company ratings were received from panelists and voters.
The big test of any advanced biofuel is whether it can be produced cost competitively, in a way that reduces greenhouse gases and delivers more energy than it requires, while its inputs such as land, water and nutrients can be provided sustainably. For years, we have known that algae is one feedstock that can theoretically meet all those requirements.
Orlando (October 2, 2013) - The 2013 Algae Biomass Summit, the world’s largest event focused on algae technology opened yesterday in Orlando, Florida. Hosted by the Algae Biomass Organization (ABO), industry leaders revealed new production capabilities and forecasts for commercial quantities of biofuels, feeds, Omega-3 oils, plastics and other products derived from large-scale, industrial algae agriculture operations.
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In Minnesota, the Algae Biomass Organization announced that a peer-reviewed paper, published in Bioresource Technology, has shown that algae-derived biofuel can reduce life cycle CO2 emissions by 50 to 70 percent compared to petroleum fuels, and is approaching a similar Energy Return on Investment (EROI) as conventional petroleum.
Algae biofuel still has some catching up to do in the profitability department, but a first-of-its-kind study of a large scale algae biofuel operation puts it very close to petroleum in a key indicator of efficient energy production. That might come as a surprise given the heavy load of water, nutrients and other inputs required for conventional algae farming and refining, but we’re talking about a next-generation algae biofuel operation here.