BIO Asks Congress to Address Barriers to Commercialization of Algae Biofuels

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Wednesday, March 03, 2010) - Commercialization of algae-based biofuels can create jobs, increase energy security, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on par with other advanced biofuels, but algae producers are at a disadvantage in attracting investment because these biofuels are not currently recognized in the tax code as advanced biofuels. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today urged Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) to extend tax code parity to algae-based biofuels as soon as possible.

“Algae-based biofuel technology is advancing rapidly and is ready for commercialization. Production of algae-based biofuels can generate thousands of domestic green jobs in facility construction and operation and have the potential to greatly enhance our country’s energy and environmental security,” Brent Erickson, executive vice president for BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section, stated.

“The Environmental Protection Agency’s recently released rules for the Renewable Fuel Standard recognize that algae-based biofuels can qualify as advanced biofuels and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline. Unfortunately, though, algae-based biofuel developers do not qualify for existing tax incentives for advanced biofuel development. It is extremely challenging for algae-based biofuel start-up companies to attract the capital required for facility construction, due to this disparate treatment under the tax code. Fixing this discrepancy and granting algae-based biofuels tax treatment similar to other advanced biofuels can open the way to greater job creation and economic growth,” Erickson concluded.

BIO specifically supported the language in the Algae-based Renewable Fuel Promotion Act (S. 1250/H.R. 4168), sponsored by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Rep. Harry Teague (D-N.M.). BIO was joined in the request by its member companies developing algae-based biofuels and by the Algal Biomass Organization. A copy of the letter to Sens. Baucus and Grassley is available at

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BIO represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.