Bioenergy

Algae Companies Trying To Speak the Same Language

When a new highly technical industry emerges, experts and investors need to understand exactly what it is and how to evaluate its achievements before they can determine its potential. As we saw with the emergence of the smart grid concept, it took years to fully define what was meant by the term and how it would improve our electricity delivery system. As anyone in communications can attest, using the correct language is key to delivering your message effectively.

In an attempt to develop a standard language for the algae industry, the Algal Biomass Organization (ABO), the trade association for the algae industry, today released its “Algal Industry Minimum Descriptive Language” document.  ABO said that this is the first attempt at establishing a “common language” for the algae industry.

The document, which is intended to help facilitate life cycle analysis, unify research and spur the deployment of algae demonstration facilities, is currently available for viewing and public comment here on the ABO website.

“The absence of common descriptive language has led to a lack of harmony among technologists, researchers, life cycle analysis specialists and entrepreneurs as they evaluate and promote algae technologies,” said Mary Rosenthal, Executive Director of ABO. “This confusion has made it hard for others to truly capture, analyze and quantify algae technologies relative to one another. With a common language, such as the one we and many volunteer stakeholders have proposed, we hope to bring more clarity to the industry.”

More than 20 industry experts and organizations reviewed and commented on the document – written by ABO’s Technical Standards Committee — including individuals from industry associations, national labs, companies and research institutions. 

ABO’s efforts at standardizing language for the algae industry have arrived as the result of the industry’s growth. Between 2005 and 2009, the number of algae-to-biofuel start ups more than tripled, said the ABO.  Analysts predict that the algae industry will grow by nearly 50 percent annually over the coming decade.