Association formed to harness the potential of algae to address global energy and environment issues
Thu 5 June 2008 – Following the success of the world’s first Algae Biomass Summit last November, entrepreneurs, academics, scientists and top executives from global corporations, including Boeing, have formed the Algal Biomass Organization (ABO), whose charter is to help accelerate the development and commercial application of algae biomass.
The ABO says algae have shown significant potential to address pressing issues such as climate and pollution concerns, alternative fuels and global economic development. As a low-cost, renewable biofuel, algae can grow rapidly (doubling in biomass in as little as a few hours), require limited nutrients and can annually deliver between 2,000 and 5,000 gallons of fuel per acre of non-arable land, it contends.
As they do not require fresh water to thrive, there is no competition for limited resources, and they can also be used to clean wastewater and to recycle greenhouse gasses such as CO2, NOx and SOx.
The ABO believes algae-based industries can spur economic development in developing countries. An algae-based strategy can provide a way to either reduce oil import costs, create fuel/feedstock revenue, or both, without competing with food crops.
The two co-chairs of the ABO Steering Committee are both from Boeing Commercial Airplanes – Darrin Morgan and the company’s Managing Director, Environmental Strategy, Billy Glover.
“Boeing recognizes that algae biomass holds tremendous potential for use as jet fuel, and it fits into our plan to guide aviation towards commercially viable and sustainable fuel sources – fuels with substantially smaller greenhouse gas footprints that do not compete with food or require unacceptable quantities of land and fresh water resources,” says Glover.
Comments Boeing spokesman Terrance Scott: “The aviation industry is facing two significant challenges: rising fuel costs and environmental performance pressures. Identifying and helping to commercialize sustainable fuel solutions is one of the areas that potentially can help our airline customers address both. Algae are one such source we are looking at and through the ABO we are bringing an aviation perspective to a committed technology sector that shares similar, albeit broader, interests in the potential of algae as an energy source.”
The non-profit association is opening membership, with modest fees, to any parties interested in research, development and the potential commercialization of algae.
The second annual Algae Biomass Summit will take place in Seattle, 23-24 October 2008.