August 07, 2013
ASPEN, COLORADO Scientists have been trying to unlock the secrets of algae for decades. The upcoming August AREDAY Summit, taking place in Aspen, CO August 15-18, will showcase some of the leaders on the algae energy forefront who are doing just that. Saturday, August 17 AREDAY will host a keynote by Jonathan Wolfson, Co-founder and CEO of Solazyme, and a panel with Wolfson, Riggs Eckelberry, President and CEO of Origin Oil and Brian Sherbacow President, AltAirFuel.
“I like bringing together people who know more than I do. And I bring expertise across disciplines, because great opportunity often lies at the margins”, states Solazyme's Jonathan Wolfson.
According to Eckelberry “Algae is a unique form of bioenergy, because it has a profile just like petroleum, which came from algae. This means that, not only can algae crude really substitute for black crude, but you can mix algae crude in with other lower energy biomasses such as switchgrass.”
In January of 2011, Riggs Eckelberry was named to the Advisory Board of the National Algae Association. In a recent Biofuels Digest industry poll, he was named one of the Top 100 People in Bioenergy for 2012-2013.
OriginOil has developed a breakthrough water cleanup technology for the oil & gas, algae and other water-intensive industries.According to Eckelberry, in 2009, OriginOil’s invention team found that algae could be made to “clump up”, or “flocculate”, using specifically tailored pulses of electricity using a proprietary design. Now known as Electro Water Separation, this two-stage system was first launched in spring 2012 with the entry-level EWS Algae™ A4, (also known as the Algae Appliance™) which could process four liters/minute (lpm) of algae water into a useful concentrate.
The most recent breakthrough for OriginOil is the ability to clean up fracking water as well as produced water. Their process can reduce harm to the environment, lower costs and make large-scale harvest possible. Crossing disciplines into aquaculture, they can help improve yields while making seafood healthier by dramatically reducing toxic ammonia and bacteria levels in water.
Solazyme’s Jonathan Wolfson will deliver a keynote entitled “From Jet Fuel to Food.” This has been a 20 year journey for Wolfson that began when he was 18, with what has now become a lifelong mission to solve environmental problems. His original thesis purported that “biotechnology will change the world in ways we have yet to see.” What started out as a dream has begun to turn into reality and a true American success story. Solazyme spent the past 5 years supplying the Navy with a certified 50-50 biofuel blend.
In addition, Wolfson was added to the top 20 2013 Forbes Disrupters list and now has three plants on three continents. While fuel is still a major focus, Wolfson sees substantive additional opportunities from the world of algae. He is known to say, “I like bringing together people who know more than I do. And I bring expertise across disciplines, because great opportunity often lies at the margins”. That being said, he brought together his biodiesel experts with a group of leading oleo chemists that understand lipid profiles. As Wolfson further explains, “once they compared lipid profiles they realized they looked almost identical to olive oil. In that moment 4 different people at the same time said, ‘it’s food!”
The excitement in Wolfson’s voice is palpable when he discusses the opportunities that lie ahead making soaps and cosmetic oils. Then there are the food oils that can effectively replace palm kernel oils, which often leave a devastating environmental impact when harvested. “Imagine producing tropical oils in Iowa!” he says quite enthusiastically.
AltAir Fuel's Brian Sherbacow will join the panel discussion with Eckelberry and Wolfson. AltAir Fuels has recently announced a business breakthrough
with a purchase agreement from United Airlines for providing their advanced biofuels at commercial scale. AltAir has been working with United since 2009 but according to a press release issued from United Airlines, in June, a partnership has been formed for AltAir to “retrofit part of an existing petroleum refinery to become a 30 million gallon, advanced biofuel refinery near Los Angeles, Calif. AltAir will produce low-carbon, renewable jet fuel and other renewable products.” Also AltAir’s CEO Tom Todaro states in the release, “We cannot overestimate how important this milestone is for the commercialization of sustainable aviation biofuels, and we at AltAir are proud that United is our first customer."
This year’s AREDAY theme, is “Advancing Clean Energy: Transition to a Sustainable Global Economy.” Join Ted Turner, General Wesley Clark, FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, Tom Steyer, T. Boone Pickens, Jonathan Wolfson,Kerry Breitbart and Edgar Bronfman in addition to the already distinguished gathering of thought leaders, change agents, business and energy experts, scientists, media and philanthropists. AREDAY 2013
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AREDAY is now a project of the newly formed not-for-profit, American Renewable Energy Institute, Inc. (AREI). The development of the Institute now provides an umbrella for the AREDAY Summit, Expo and Film Festival in addition to the American Climate & Energy Literacy Initiative. ACELI is designed to create educational curriculum with community colleges based on the science of climate and energy. AREI’s goal is to then create a pipeline, in partnership with industry, such that the student will graduate with a job offer at the conclusion of their two-year degree.
Since 2004, American Renewable Energy Day (AREDAY) has been bringing top leaders and educators together to promote the rapid deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency strategies via demonstrations, presentations, performances, film screenings and dialogue. Each year, AREDAY has hosted nationally and internationally renowned speakers and attracted attendees from across the globe – resulting in unique, powerful cross-sector collaborations and actions around the climate change issue. For more information, visit www.areday.net.
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