The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


National Research Council releases algal biofuels report

The National Research Council on Wednesday released a report called "Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels in the United States."

“Scaling up the production of biofuels made from algae to meet at least 5 percent — approximately 39 billion liters — of U.S. transportation fuel needs would place unsustainable demands on energy, water, and nutrients,” the report says. “However, these concerns are not a definitive barrier for future production, and innovations that would require research and development could help realize algal biofuels' full potential.”

The Biotechnology Industry Organization said in a news release that the report found that “sustainability concerns are not a barrier to development of algae biofuels, since mitigation strategies are being developed.”

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Brent Erickson
“While the National Research Council catalogued and prioritized every potential environmental and resource challenge for the development of algae biofuels, their report correctly concludes that the industry has developed or is developing sustainable strategies to overcome these challenges,” noted Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section.

“Biotechnology will continue to play a crucial role in the improvement of the productivity and economic viability of algae biofuels and other advanced biofuels that are cleaner, safer and healthier than petroleum-based fuels,” Erickson said.

The NRC will hold a public webinar on November 27 at 1 p.m. EST, in which Dr. Jennie Hunter-Cevera, chair, and Dr. Mark Jones of the report-authoring committee will give a brief overview of the report and take questions from members of the public.