Entrepreneurs, academicians, scientists and leaders of global corporations have announced the formation of the Algal Biomass Organization (ABO), whose charter is to help accelerate the development and commercial application of algae biomass. Algae have shown significant potential to address some of the world’s most pressing issues, including climate and pollution concerns, alternative fuels and global economic development.
As one of the fastest growing and most productive plants in the world, the unique characteristics of algae enable them to be developed for a number of uses. Algae are an ideal low cost, renewable and environmentally progressive raw material that can be converted into biofuels. They can grow rapidly (doubling in biomass in as little as a few hours), require limited nutrients, and can annually deliver up to 2,000–5,000 gallons of fuel per acre of non-arable land.
Moreover, algae do not require fresh water to thrive and, thus, will not compete for limited supplies of fresh water. In addition, they can also be used to clean wastewater and to recycle greenhouse gases such as CO2, NOx and SOx. As the algae grow, they can be harvested and converted to next-generation biofuels.
Also, as developing nations continue to look for ways to spur economic development, algae-based industries can be a central part of an overall strategy. Many developing nations currently import nearly 100 percent of their fuel. An algae-based energy strategy provides a way to either reduce oil import costs, create fuel/feedstock export revenue or both without competing with food crops.
Recognizing the tremendous potential and benefits of algae, over 400 leading experts and proponents of algae biomass gathered for the world’s first Algae Biomass Summit in November 2007. Based on the overwhelming enthusiasm of the group and a growing need to find viable solutions to reduce carbon emissions, attendees agreed to form the Algal Biomass Organization to collectively push for algae-based energy solutions.