The 2021 Algae Biomass Summit Prepares an Industry to Take on Global Challenges

September 27, 2021 |

By Rebecca White, Executive Director, Algae Biomass Organization

Special to The Digest

The 2021 Algae Biomass Summit kicks off this week, and the lineup of speakers and networking opportunities are set to jumpstart discussions about how algae technologies are making progress in carbon removal, ESG investments, biofuels and bioproducts, beauty and wellness, rural economic development, and much more.

Beginning on September 28, and with near-daily sessions until October 27, this virtual event is attracting participation from around the world for those interested in advancing algae – microalgae and seaweeds – to build sustainable solutions for the future. A look at the Summit’s packed agenda shows why.

The role of algae in carbon removal

The Summit will kick off with what is perhaps the most touted benefit for algae production: carbon capture and utilization. Opening powerhouse speaker for the Summit will be Michael Berube, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Sustainable Transportation in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Dr. Berube will be discussing the DOE’s progress in carbon managements, successes and learnings from their long standing programs, including algae, and the agency’s new intense focus on climate change, specifically touching on carbon capture and management. This will be followed by a keynote from Marcius Extavour, Vice President for Energy & Climate at XPRIZE who will focus on the XPRIZE’s work targeting new ways to convert CO2 emissions into usable products, and how the algae industry plays a role in this area.

Speakers on the “Carbon Capture and Algae Production: Synergistic Solutions for the Future” panel at the Summit from Global Thermostat, the Carbon Capture Coalition, LanzaTech, Oceans 2050, and the Department of Energy will help illuminate the full-market approach underway to turn carbon dioxide into a resource that is too valuable to leave in the atmosphere.

Just a few years ago carbon removal technologies seemed far fetched, but these speakers, and others in later Summit sessions, will be showing how today’s progress has established the groundwork needed to make this climate solution a reality.

ESG: Algae and seaweed will be a key to a sustainable future

Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) investing and business practices are taking hold in nearly every market, and for those taking advantage of the trend the remarkable sustainability profile of algae and seaweed production, along with meaningful revenue potentials, will be a highlight of the Summit’s second day of programming.

The grounding keynote for the Summit’s sustainability discussion will be from the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.  Secretary Vilsack will be sharing his vision on climate resilience, sustainability, and the bioeconomy for agriculture.

To open the open the “The Role of Algae in a Sustainable Future – Environmental, Social, and Economic Sustainability” panel, Uncle Wally Ito of Kua’aina Ulu ‘Auamo, an innovative, community-based initiative focused on protecting the ecosystems and way of life in Hawai’i. Ito will present a framework for ecological sustainability that includes how algae and seaweeds play a crucial role in Hawaiian life, and inspire Summit attendees to consider similar themes as they build out opportunities for algae around the world.

But this will only be the beginning of the Summit’s ESG focus. Two plenary panel discussions will highlight more sustainability perspectives and the importance of rural development, with specific examples of algae and seaweed applications, from companies like Caleres and Blue Evolution, and NGOs or government agencies like the United Nations Global Compact, the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Later sessions will also cover topics on what algae can do to drive sustainability, from both the environmental and economics angles.

Markets on the move: Algae and seaweed in beauty, cosmetics, health and wellness

One misperception about the algae industry is that most applications are pre-commercial, or not yet ready for prime time. Yet some of the most established and successful market applications for algae and seaweed-derived products are in some of the largest consumer markets, such as beauty, cosmetics, health and wellness.

Panel speakers that will be engaging with the online audience on these topics will herald from pharma pioneer Algae-C, algae skin care leader AlgEternal Technologies, astaxanthin leader Cyanotech Corporation, and leaders from customer-facing ingredient businesses.

Dive into algae business opportunities and technical progress

The speakers and companies listed above are just from the Summit’s first week! They will be followed by deeper dives into how algae is making an impact today, with a Meet the Industry track for business interests and Technical Sessions for the R&D community. These sessions are where much of the Summit’s magic happens. Each is an opportunity to network with leaders building startups that are using algae to produce pharmaceuticals, treat wastewater, produce food & feed ingredients, and the researchers that are enhancing productivity, designing new production and processing methods, formulating products and much more.

Virtual networking opportunities will bring face-to-face contact to a global audience, a Young Innovators Lounge will offer mentoring to those early in their algae careers, and a virtual match-making feature all make the Algae Biomass Summit the premier place to connect, learn, and grow when it comes to the algae opportunity.

As the world continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the event is bringing together an industry that is set on keeping momentum for a sustainable future going strong.

We invite all those with an interest in algae, seaweed, and a better future to participate. Learn more about the Summit at https://www.algaebiomasssummit.org/

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