ABO publishes updated standards for measuring algae industry operations

February 23, 2014 |

Industry standards establish “operator’s manual” for comparing algae technology performance.

In Washington, the Algae Biomass Organization announced the publication of “Industrial Algae Measurements, Version 6.0” (IAM 6.0), a significant update to the common standards established by the organization for measuring and comparing algae industry operations.

As more companies develop and improve new technologies to create fuels, feeds, nutritional supplements, biochemicals and other products from algae, this document will be a vital tool for researchers calculating and comparing disparate methods.

IAM 6.0 is available for download for free here.

Algae operations vary widely in size and in the technologies used, making performance comparisons across the industry difficult. The lack of a common language to describe the economic and environmental impact of an algae production facility, including all inputs and outputs, has been a challenge for anyone seeking to evaluate a specific process. The IAM 6.0 establishes a methodology and common descriptive language that can be applied across a variety of algae operations, regardless of size, technology or end products.

The IAM 6.0 recommends the methodologies that can characterize economic and environmental inputs of almost any algae biomass operation. These operations include heterotrophic, autotrophic, open pond, photobioreactor and open water algae production as well as harvest and conversion processes for microalgae, macro algae and cyanobacteria.

The inputs considered by the standards include the carbon, water, energy and nutrients required by the algae as well as land requirements, process consumables and manpower requirements used during production. Outputs measured by the standards include the different classes of algal products as well as industrial waste emissions such as gas, liquid, and solid discharges.

The ABO published the first edition of this reference document in 2010 (originally titled “Algal Industry Minimum Descriptive Language”). It was the first time the notion of a common language in the algae industry had been articulated for measuring algae industry inputs and outputs.

The authors

The ABO Technical Standards Committee authors of “Industrial Algae Measurements 6.0,” are:

• Dr. Lieve Laurens – Committee Chair, Senior Scientist, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
• Dr. Keith Cooksey – Committee Co-Chair, Environmental Biotechnology Consultants, Professor Emeritus, Montana State University; and ABO Board Member
• Jim Sears – Former ABO Committee Chair, coordinating author of IAM 6.0, New Product Development, Boulder Labs Inc., and CTO, A2BE Carbon Capture LLC.
• Dr. Rose Ann Cattolico, Professor of Algal Biology, University of Washington
• Dr. Mark Edwards, Professor, Arizona State University Morrison School of Agribusiness and Resource Management, Vice President at Algae Biosciences Inc.
• Steve Howell, President and founder of MARC-IV, Chairman of the ASTM task force on biodiesel standards
• Adonis Neblett, Attorney, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
• Dr. Robert McCormick, Principal Engineer, Fuels Performance, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
• Dr. Philip Pienkos, Applied Sciences Group Manager, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
• Gina Clapper, Technical Specialist, AOCS American Oil Chemists Society
• Pat Ahlm, Assistant Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs at Algenol Biofuels Inc.

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