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ABO’s Algae Industry Survey 2013: Increased Production, Hiring and Price-Competitive Algae Biofuels

Washington, D.C. – March 6, 2013 – A new survey of the algae industry conducted by the Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) shows the industry expects increasing production in 2013 and price-competitiveness with fossil fuels by 2020. The survey also noted the critical role of supportive Federal policy required in order to accelerate hiring and production. The survey was conducted in January 2013 and includes responses from companies involved in directly producing and buying algae or algae-derived products, as well as equipment manufacturers, research laboratories, providers of equipment or materials, government agencies and service providers.

The survey of more than 470 algae industry contacts shows a sector that continues to grow: 67 percent of algae producers said they plan to expand capacity in 2013 as they work to provide the U.S with new sources of sustainable, domestically produced fuels and other algae-derived products.

Survey respondents remain positive about the prospects for cost-competitive algae fuels, reporting expectations similar to those in ABO’s 2012 survey. More than 90 percent overall (and 95 percent of producers) believe it is at least somewhat likely that algae-based fuels will be able to compete with fossil fuels by 2020; nearly 70% overall (75% of producers) believe it is moderately likely to extremely likely. Nearly 40% of producers project that algae-derived fuels will be priced at $5.00 per gallon or less by 2020. About 23% believe prices will be less than $3.00 per gallon by 2020.

The strong potential for algae to provide a diverse range of products other than fuels came through in response to a question about which algal products are being produced. While 28% of producers indicated they are targeting fuels markets, there are many that also use algae to produce feeds (35%), nutritional products or nutraceuticals (28%) and fertilizers (18%).

Producers were strongly in favor of better federal policy support for the algae industry. Almost nine out of 10 of employers in the ABO Industry Survey said that better policy would likely lead their organizations to accelerate hiring. Half of them were “very” or “extremely” confident they could accelerate hiring with better federal policy support.

“After another year of impressive industry progress and scientific breakthroughs these results reflect continued optimism about the future of algae as a viable source of sustainable fuels and other products,” said Mary Rosenthal, executive director of ABO. “The positive outlook in the results of this survey was undoubtedly influenced by passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 that, for the first time, allows algae derived fuels to qualify for a $1.01 per gallon tax credit.”

Other key findings of the survey included:

  • The algae industry supports a wide variety of jobs across the United States. Respondents reported holding all types of positions in their organizations including executives, scientists and researchers, operations or production positions, finance, students and professors.
  • Congressional engagement is high—65 percent of respondents’ organizations either have met with or plan to meet with legislators, and more than half of ABO members reported having elected officials tour their facilities.
  • To build a robust industry, the most important areas for federal policies were identified as research and development grants, commercialization grants and tax credits/incentives.

Get the executive summary of the survey’s results

Source: Algae Biomass Organisation

 

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