I have not met Barry Cohen, executive director of the National Algae Association, based in Woodlands, Texas, nor discussed with him any of the challenges facing his nascent industry. But the challenge he made to his membership caught my attention:
“I am issuing a challenge for the year 2010: Build out a 100 acre turnkey algae production facility (growing, harvesting and extraction) without any local, state or federal grant funds.”
Mr. Cohen’s greeting to all for the beginning of 2010 is well worth reading, especially by all who want to see alternative fuels gain more solid footing on the American (and world) energy charts.
The accounting of his challenge ias worth the read:
“When this (American oil production) all started in 1859, nobody had all of the answers. 150 years later, the oil industry is still looking for answers. A 100 acre turn-key commercial-scale algae production facility will allow algae producers to look at real commercial algae production and operations as well as economies of scale issues. It will give algae researchers a much better understanding of commercial-scale algae production issues to work on as opposed to small raceway ponds and desk-top lab photobioreactors. It is, at this point, useless to continue to fund algae research without seriously funding commercial-scale algae production farms. As some have already learned, intellectual properties have no practical use if there is not an industry to use them. In order to create any value in existing algae technologies, we must have commercial-scale algae production facilities that can use them!
“Commercial-scale algae production is key to our industry and is one solution that helps to reduce dependence on foreign oil, to create new jobs and reduce CO2 emissions. The NAA challenges the algae industry to build a 100 acre commercial-scale algae production plant without any local, state or federal grants – this will be the true test of algae production farming and algaepreneurism at its finest!
“I would like to see the first 50 acres of production with proven benchmarked results – totally designed, developed and put into production without a single dollar of government money. The next 50 acres can be improved by making minor changes based on what was learned from the first 50 acres. I know it can be done, and you know it can be done – it´s time to do it!”
The entire document can be read at the association’s website .