Algae repositions as biofuels’ “humble but lovable” feedstock: industry gathers in positive, but low-key annual Summit
Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) provides a summary of the developing algae ethos at the Algae Biomass Summit in San Diego: The biotech elevator pitch usually adheres to a ‘rule of 5′. The offer is invariably a product platform that “is going to transform everything we do in our civilization.” Scientists ask for 5 more years of research; CEOs ask for $5 million in Series A funding; salesmen ask for ‘just 5 minutes of your time’. Because salesmen generally attract attention faster than scientists, media reports tend to initially focus on the salesman’s hype, later report the CEO’s cautious optimism, and conclude with the scientist’s view that any hope of success will require (yet) another five years of R&D.
… Curt Rich of Van Ness Feldman added bluntly, “there is virtually no chance that a biofuels project can qualify for federal loan guarantees based on the DOE’s current framework.”
… What attracts Big Oil to algae, as opposed to corn ethanol or soy biodiesel? “Oil companies only have two questions,” says Aquatic Energy’s David Johnston. “Can you scale it? Is it drop-in?”
… “When I look at the algae industry,” remarked ConocoPhillips’ Marty Taber at ABO, “I see an integrated refining operation ultimately developing out of all of this. It’s like oil.” READ MORE