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International Developments in Algae Commercialization

November 9, 2009
The Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy hosted a webinar to discuss U.S. and Canadian government efforts to support commercial development of algae for biofuels, chemicals, pharmaceutical and food ingredients, and the long list of applications being considered.

Valerie Reed of the U.S. Department of Energy, noted that the U.S. Economic Recovery Act provided $800 million for new and existing projects, with $480 million to be allocated to pilot- and demonstration-scale biorefineries that can produce advanced biofuels, bioproducts, and heat & power in an integrated system. Algae has the potential to be a big player in this selection, she said.

She also noted that Congress has directed the DOE to spend $35 million specifically on research, development and deployment of algae biofuels.

Patrick McGinn of Canada's National Research Council, outlined Canadian programs to support research and development of biomass, including algae. The NRC is producing and experimenting with different pathways to convert algae to biofuels, with the goal of creating a high-quality data set on their overall yields, energy and carbon balances.

A recording of the webinar can be downloaded at

You can also listen to a streaming version at