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2020 Industry Spotlight Session Abstracts



Sessions listed in chronological order


Industry Spotlight

Algae 101:  Modeling for Financial Success
12-Aug-20       10:00 a.m. CT

Drage, James
Algaculture Project

Getting Funding for Algae Based Businesses in 2020
James Drage  Algal Ventures

Abstract: This has become something of an annual presentation (7 of the past 8 ABO Summits since 2011). Each year I talk about the basics that never change as well as the newest trends, tips and tricks to raising funding from investors. The focus is on venture capital and venture debt but we also touch on angel, strategic, and foreign investors, public markets, etc. Each year many attendees, including almost all small companies, confirm that lack of investor funding in algae start-up and early stage businesses is still a major problem - more than a decade after algae supposedly became an industry. There is still too much dependence on large government grants and tax credits, which while important, shouldn't be required for this great industry. In 2020 the presentation will focus on helping participants understand that mainstream professional investment capital is the fuel that every industry requires if it is ever going to become a mainstream professional investment and with case study comparisons to plant-based "meat". There are "must haves" that all professional investors look for and the presentation will present them and discuss how algae entrepreneurs and founders can impress them and improve the odds of getting funding. We will go quickly through the basics right through to advanced techniques to get funding and participants will leave with practical ideas to put into use.  


Ramjohn, David
AlgEternal Technologies, LLC

Algae 101: The Things They Never Taught You in School about Building a Successful Algae Business
David Ramjohn; AlgEternal Technologies, LLC

Abstract: David Ramjohn, CEO of AlgEternal Technologies, LLC will speak on "the things they never taught you in school about building a successful algae business."_ David has built a successful company by developing commercial strategy using AlgEternal's algal technology. David will share lessons learned as an entrepreneur in the algae industry, which have informed his opinion that the algae industry no longer suffers from science and technology obstacles as much as it does business and corporate governance problems. AlgEternal was founded in 2010 and went through virtually every teething pain an algae company can experience. David assumed leadership of the company in 2016 and restructured and repurposed the Company, recognizing that while the scientific and technological basis on which the company was founded was extremely viable the company was never properly positioned to make a successful business from its technological foundation. AlgEternal still has a long way to go but David believes that every aspiring algae entrepreneur and perhaps some seasoned veterans of the algae industry can and must learn from AlgEternal's experience.

Lagabon, Johnel
Burdock Group Consultants

Algae 101: Overcoming U.S. Regulatory Hurdles for Novel Food, Feed, or Dietary supplement ingredients
Johnel Lagabon, Burdock Group Consultants

Abstract:   Regulatory compliance plays a significant role in bringing new algae ingredient to U.S. markets, and integrating a regulatory program early can give you the best chance for successful approval outcomes, shorter time to market, and ultimately, an edge on the competition. The purpose of my talk is to provide a high-level perspective of some of the key regulatory hurdles that algae producers will face when bringing new food ingredients to market and more importantly, how to overcome them. Key sections of my presentation include, understanding important FDA regulations for food/feed ingredients, providing options for regulatory approval, and recommendations for regulatory paths that typically work best for algae ingredients. Don't wait, the best results happen when you start with compliance in mind.

Skubatch, Maya
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Patents and Innovations Practice
Maya Skubatch, Partner, WIlson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Abstract: Life Sciences-Minded Strategic Patent Counseling: Wilson Sonsini's patents and innovations attorneys are experts in global patent portfolio development and management for a variety of Life Sciences clients, including start-up and established biotechnology corporations, multinational pharmaceutical corporations, and premier research universities.  At the Cutting-Edge of Life Sciences and Technology Innovation: Wilson Sonsini's patents and innovations professionals are responsible for developing the IP portfolios covering such inventions as CRISPR gene-editing, the DNA chip, cancer therapies, nanotechnology, cell-free genetic tests, medical devices, stem cell technologies, and next-generation DNA sequencing. Our attorneys work with innovators engaged in highly technical fields, including diagnostics, genomics, bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, and materials.  The Largest Life Sciences-Focused Patent Practice in the World: Most of Wilson Sonsini's 180-plus patent attorneys, patent agents, and scientific advisors possess Ph.D.s or other advanced degrees in such areas as biology, chemistry, immunology, biomedical sciences, or engineering.  Substantial USPTO Experience: Over 130 of Wilson Sonsini's attorneys and agents have been admitted to practice before the USPTO. Our team includes several former USPTO executives, including a former Administrative Patent Judge, a former Deputy Administrator in the Office of Policy and External Affairs, a former Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations, and a former Deputy Commissioner for Patent Administration.

Byrne, Thomas
CarlsonSV LLP

Algae 101
Thomas Byrne - Abstract -Algae 101 Financial Forecast Modeling.

Abstract: The development of a detail financial model is key to understanding the cash impacts of each stage of the business of commercialization. Building the assumptions that support each line item on the financial statements creates a clearer picture of the issues that will be faced in moving to commercialization and after operation.  The presentation will show a detail forecast format that is well accepted and cover techniques to adopt it to your operation. The presentation will also discuss the operating cycle and the related cash flow issues.  Understanding the operating cycle will also help you develop the level of working capital line that will be required to get to cashflow.  We will also discuss how to, and the importance of being able to stress the model so you can develop best case  and worse case scenarios.    The detail forecast might provide too much detail for the initial meetings with investors or financial institutions. The thought process it takes to build a detail model better prepares you to answer questions making potential capital more comfortable of your understanding of what it will take to get to cash flow.  Once the organization decides it is interested, the detail model will be a requirement.    The presentation is designed for companies with technologies they want to monetize through commercialization and for potential financial or  equity investors that want to understand a little more about what an algal business might look like.


Industry Spotlight

Algae Based Polymers
18-Aug-20       10:00 a.m. CT

Hunt, Ryan

Upcycling Waste into Value: Building a Global Algae Supply Chain
Ryan W. Hunt Cofounder & CTO ALGIX / BLOOM

Abstract: The algae industry is growing and expanding to new markets beyond nutracueticals and fertilizers. There is an accelerating demand for sustainable and circular plastics, coatings, and pigments as leading global brands specify environmentally friendly materials. Algae can now be converted into a variety of more mainstream commercial products such as culinary oils and foods to yarns, foams and molded parts. The footwear industry has been particularly receptive to eco-innovations and has the advantage of scalability from small to large scale opportunities. Recent success with Bloom Foam demonstrates how we can create an economic engine with algae to transform pollution into a sustainable ingredient for footwear products. The 3rd party certifications of Life Cycle Impacts, supply chain and logistics has become a critical element for any new material being used by leading footwear brands. Integrating new eco-materials into existing footwear supply chains has been challenging to navigate, however Bloom materials are now being industrially produced transforming air and water pollution into commercial value. Bloom is helping transform how industry views there own waste and emissions using algae technology.

Dong, Tao
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Non-isocyanate Polyurethane Produced from Microalgal Oil via a Carbon Sequestration Pathway
Tao Dong, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Ermias Dheressa, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Stefanie Federle, University of Bath, UK Lieve Laurens, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Philip T. Pienkos, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Abstract: The global polyurethane market is rapidly growing with an exception to reach 24 million tons by 2022. Traditional polyurethanes have been produced through polyaddition of polyols with isocyanates, which are directly produced from the corresponding amines and highly toxic phosgene. Therefore, alternative pathways for non-isocyanate polyurethane (NIPU) production have garnered increasing interests. One of the most promising NIPU pathways is the reaction between five-membered cyclic carbonate group with amine to produce urethane linkage. Starting from unsaturated fatty acids, the double bonds can be sequentially converted into epoxy and cyclic carbonate for NIPU production. The carbonation process can sequestrate significant amount of CO2 into the carbonated fatty acids (e.g. 100g of docosahexaenoic acid can sequestrate up to 80 g of CO2), providing a practical route to sequestrate CO2. Comparing to the traditional terrestrial plant oil, microalgal lipid is unique for its high content of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), allowing for higher density of active carbonated groups to produce NIPU with special properties. To maximize the revenue of the algal biorefinery process, it is favoured to fractionate PUFA from other fatty acids for bioplastic and biofuel production, respectively. In this study we will demonstrate a cost-effective and scalable fatty acid fractionation process and NIPU materials produced from various feedstocks, including algal oil with high PUFA content. The synthesis processes and the performance of the produced NIPUs will be compared and discussed, with an aim to provide more insights to facilitate the commercialization of algae-based NIPUs. 

Burkart, Michael

Development of Renewable Polyurethanes from Algae Biomass
Michael Burkart, University of California San Diego

Abstract: Renewable polymers have become an important focus in next-generation materials, and algae biomass offers a low-impact feedstock source that can serve multiple uses. We have now developed new methodologies to prepare fully renewable polyurethanes from algae biomass. Polyurethanes are prepared from polyol and diisocyanate precursors, which are commonly sourced from petroleum feedstocks. We have developed a scalable methodology for production of microalgae-based polyols from waste oils derived from algae biomass. In addition, we have also developed a practical methodology for the production of isocyanates from algae biomass-derived fatty acids or other renewable sources. Both techniques utilize flow chemistry to prepare and convert high energy intermediates, thus mitigating safety concerns. These methods are efficient, safe, and sustainable and offer an opportunity for polyurethane preparation from renewable feedstocks in any location.

Marrone, Babetta
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Biopolymer Production in Cyanobacteria Guided by Machine Learning
B.L. Marrone, S. Banerjee, K. Bejagam, T. Dale, P. Dighe, J. Dumont, C. Fick, C.R. Gonzalez-Esquer, C. Iverson, L. Jacobs, M. Janicke, R. Jha, K.S. Lee, S. Lee, G. Pilania, R. Prasad, S. Starkenburg, N. Sudasinghe, J. Theiler, T. Yoshida. Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545

Abstract: Plastics made from petroleum are a mainstay in our daily lives, but the environmental problems they create are driving an urgent search for more sustainable, bio-based alternatives. Ideally, we look to bio-based plastics to be sufficiently durable for purpose, but more easily degradable in the environment. Bio-derived molecules have more diverse chemical functionalities than those found in petroleum-based molecules and offer a rich resource for discovering new monomers for synthesis of novel biopolymers for conversion into plastics materials with performance advantages. In the BioManIAC (Biomanufacturing with Intelligent Adaptive Control) project, we are using polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA)-based polymers synthesized naturally in cyanobacteria as the model system; and developing a machine learning (ML) framework to optimize monomer-to-polymer discovery and design. We recognized that in order to discover and develop new biopolymers with desired material properties, we needed to have a deeper understanding of what was possible to produce biosynthetically; and what biopolymer chemistries would be needed to achieve the desired biopolymer properties. We are developing active learning ML approaches to facilitate understanding of both the chemical structure:function relationships of the PHA class of biopolymers and the biosynthetic routes that can be used or improved to biologically synthesize such polymers. We will then apply our adaptive-design-based ML approaches to identify promising PHA candidates with the desired functionality to bio-synthesize in cyanobacteria. Our work will provide a foundational knowledge base to advance the development of novel biopolymers for the manufacture of bioplastics for a wide range of applications.

Franklin, Scott

Microalgae for the Production of Novel Biopolymer Feedstocks; Applications Development and Animation of Checkerspot™s technology through in-use application.
Daniel Malmrose1,3, Charles Rand1,3, Matthew Sterbenz1,3, Jian Hong2, Dragana Radojcic2,  Zoran Petrovic2 and Scott Franklin1.  1Checkerspot, Inc. 740 Heinz Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94710 2Kansas Polymer Research Center,    Pittsburg State University   1204 Research Rd,    Pittsburg, KS 66762 3Checkerspot, Inc.  522 W, 900 S, Salt Lake City UT 84101

Abstract: The oleochemicals industry represents an enormous market valued at greater than $23B U.S., that is responsible for the production of myriad products, materials and polymers via processing of fats and oils derived from animal and vegetable sources. Surprisingly, this industry relies on just 14 fatty acids to create these chemical building blocks, because these fatty acids are what are readily available at commodity scale and price.  On the other hand, plant oilseeds found in nature, most of which will never be cultivated at industrial scale, elaborate an incredible diversity of fatty acid moieties (> 500 species) unavailable in today’s oleochemicals industry. The chain length, degree of saturation, functionality and purity of these fatty acids offer unique opportunities for the production of polymer feedstocks, particularly with regard to polyols for PU applications. Microalgae, which elaborate fatty acids and triacylglycerols (TAGs) with cellular machinery homologous to that found in higher plants, have proven to be highly efficient microbial factories for the production of biomass, proteins and TAGs at exceptionally high purity and titer, exceeding what is present in the natural oilseed host. Checkerspot’s technology rests on three pillars including our Molecular Foundry where we use microalgae found to express a diversity of unique triacylglycerols that serve as “building blocks” for our materials. Our Chemistry & Materials Science teams, apply novel chemistries and applications development to create materials with desired physical properties for specific end use applications. Finally, our Fabrication team, targeting specific use cases and applications, designs, prototypes and tests our materials, in-use, with state of the art manufacturing technologies.


Industry Spotlight

Maximizing Carbon Dioxide Utilization for Algae R&D
20-Aug-20       10:00 a.m. CT


Burkart, Michael
California Center for Algae Biotechnology (CalCAB)

Opportunities, Challenges, and Examples for Carbon Dioxide Utilization
Michael Burkart, California Center for Algae Biotechnology (CalCAB)

Abstract: The environmental and societal consequences of the increasing levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are among the most signiï¬_cant challenges society currently faces. Carbon dioxide utilization, in which carbon dioxide is either used directly or converted into more valuable products, is likely to be one component of a broad strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, a challenge that will require both technological and policy changes. Catalysis is crucial to the successful conversion of carbon dioxide into value- added products, and the role of biocatalysis is an essential component. Here, I will provide an overview of a study performed on CO2 utilization organized by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in 2019 and will review biological systems for carbon dioxide conversion. This will provide a general perspective with regard to opportunities and challenges for the ï¬_eld and the technologies necessary to make carbon dioxide conversion a viable strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Finally, I will detail some research in my own laboratory to address product development from algae biomass.

Rittmann, Bruce
Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the Biodesign Institute

Highly Efficient CO2 Delivery from Industrial Sources
Bruce Rittman, Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the Biodesign Institute

Abstract: Industrial sources of gas streams with concentrated CO2 are many and have a wide range of CO2 concentrations:  e.g., < 5% from a natural-gas power plant, 40% from an anaerobic digester, and > 90% from ethanol fermentation.  Attaining the benefits of delivering concentrated CO2 demands that the transfer efficiency approach 100%.   This talk presents the concept and promising experimental results for membrane carbonation (MC), in which CO2 is delivered to a microlagae culture by diffusion through bubble-free gas-transfer membranes, enabling nearly 100% CO2-transfer efficiency minimal added cost.


Quinn, Jason
Colorado State University

Economic and Life-cycle Potential of Microalgae Derived Bioplastics with Fuel Co-products
Jason Quinn, Colorado State University

Abstract: Algae-based plastics offer a promising substitute for conventional plastics that can decrease oil consumption, improve environmental impact, and in some cases even improve plastic performance. This contribution focuses on the economic viability and environmental impact of an algae biorefinery that integrates the complementary functions of bioplastic feedstock (BPFS) and fuel production.

Hazlebeck, David
Global Algae Innovations

Algae Solutions to Global Dilemmas
David Hazlebeck, Global Algae Innovations

Abstract: Large-scale production of algae commodities will bring tremendous environmental and societal benefits. This presentation examines two of these benefits – reducing water use and carbon capture and use. Agriculture accounts for over seventy percent of global water use. Cultivation of algae for animal feed and biofuel reduces the water use by over ninety-percent, leaving more water available for other needs. The water balance and factors affecting water use in algae cultivation are discussed. Agriculture and transportation fuels are two of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Through carbon capture and use, algae cultivation can lower greenhouse gas emissions for products in these sectors by up to ninety percent. Results are presented for algae cultivation with carbon capture directly from the atmosphere and from fixed sources using economical, scalable technologies.


Industry Spotlight

Macroalgae Biomass: A Sustainable Feedstock for Food, Feed, Fuels and Chemicals
25-Aug-20       10:00 a.m. CT

Dobbins, Paul
World Wildlife Fund

Seaweed Farming.  A Conservation Organization Perspective
Paul Dobbins, World Wildlife Fund, Washington, D.C.

Abstract: Climate change is destabilizing food production. To mitigate the worst impacts of climate change land conversion needs to be halted, and emissions from agricultural production need to be reduced.   Seaweed (macroalgae) farming is highly efficient at absorbing CO2 due to its fast growth and ability to create large quantities of biomass with few inputs. It does not require inputs of fresh water, arable land, fertilizers, or pesticides. Seaweed farming operations absorb excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from the ocean, thereby creating cleaner water columns and lowering acidity surrounding waters. Taken to scale, seaweed could provide a solution to the increasing acidification of oceans and help relieve pressures generated by eutrophication processes in coastal waters. Sustainably farmed seaweed at scale could replace parts of human food and livestock feed supply chains.  Data suggests that 48 million km2 of the ocean surface is suitable for farming1, and more than a billion metric tons could be cultivated. In a potential scenario of producing 500 million tons dry weight of seaweed globally, 1,000,000 km2 of land – approximately 6% of global cropland (World Bank, 2015) – could be spared from conversion.  Expanding this industry is not without its challenges. Environmental and societal concerns will need to be addressed. In addition, farm technology, biology, and market innovations are needed.  WWF is investing in companies across the farmed seaweed supply chain that demonstrate the environmental benefits of seaweed production for food and feed. WWF’s investments seek to prove scalability of seaweed production and accelerate the growth of the sector.  1Halley E. Froehlich, Jamie C. Afflerbach, Melanie Frazier, Benjamin S. Halpern. Blue Growth Potential to Mitigate Climate Change through Seaweed Offsetting. Current Biology, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.07.041

Infante, Javier
Ocean Rainforest

Large Scale Macroalgae Cultivation Systems (Macrosystems)
Javier infante, Ocean Rainforest INC. Olavur Gregersen, Ocean Rainforest INC. Job Shipper, Hortimare Projects and Consultancy.

Abstract: Human activities are having increasingly negative impacts on the natural environment, which has led to a shortage of natural resources and increasingly large ecological footprint. The ability to support the growing population sustainably is a major challenge for the future, in which seaweed (macroalgae) cultivation appears to be an appropriate solution to several current problems -- such as food security, use of freshwater resources, eutrophication, clean fuels, carbon emissions/capture, and others. Safe and sustainable, seaweed aquaculture might be the much-needed solution to the question of responsibly feeding the world’s growing population and delivering sustainable forms of energy. Our team is proposing a broad array of innovative solutions to cover the entire seaweed (Giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera) production process, from hatchery to harvesting. These include novel propagation and seeding technologies that would enable large scale seed production, scalable and survivable cultivation systems for offshore performance, and remotely operated harvesting machines.  Almost all offshore designs in the past have failed to integrate the system design with the open ocean environmental conditions. Our proposal describes a simple, yet reliable and scalable cultivation structure meant to survive under offshore conditions.   Seeding techniques require huge amounts of labor due to resource-heavy activities that include inserting seedlings individually into cultivation ropes. By scaling to thousands of hectares soon, these new technologies offer a high potential impact for the development of the industry by increasing the hatching and seeding output and simultaneously reducing cost and labor. The impact of these innovative hatchery technologies will be a game changer -- enabling fast and economic scaling of the industry. Harvesting of cultivated seaweed is currently performed manually, with high labor costs and little possibility of scaling. Our vision for future harvesting strategies  takes knowledge of existing technologies from fisheries, aquaculture, and robotics industries and combines them to achieve a new type of harvesting operation. This solution will have a major impact on large-scale offshore operational ability and profitability in terms of low energy usage, high harvesting capacity and continued supply to secondary processes.


Navarrete, Ignacio
University of Southern California

A Depth-cycling Approach to Open-ocean Seaweed Mariculture
Ignacio A. Navarrete, University of Southern California Diane Kim, University of Southern California Cindy Wilcox, Marine BioEnergy Brian Wilcox, Marine BioEnergy

Abstract: In the open ocean, surface waters generally have low levels of ambient nutrients, creating a major impediment to the development of open-ocean seaweed mariculture. This study tested a novel method of supplying nutrients to cultured seaweed by moving the seaweed into deep nutrient-rich water at night and returning it to shallow depths during the day.  Results from this study suggest that this is a viable approach, with growth of depth-cycled Giant Kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, exceeding that of kelp transplanted to a nearby suspended culture system or transplanted within the kelp bed from which it was obtained. Measurements of nitrate and phosphate at each location and temperature-nitrate relationships indicate that depth-cycled kelp had substantially greater exposure to these nutrients relative to kelp transplanted to a fixed depth, and that almost all of this nutrient exposure occurred when the depth-cycled kelp was in the deep position. Analysis of tissue from the depth-cycled kelp shows elevated levels of protein, lower C:N ratios, and altered delta 15N and delta 13C values supporting the idea that the kelp absorbed nutrients from deep water, facilitating growth. Other effects such as elongated pneumatocysts and precocious reproductive maturity were also observed. Overall this study indicates that depth-cycling farms have great potential as an open-ocean macroalgae farming strategy.

Doumeizel, Vincent
Lloyd's Register Foundation

Time to Launch a Global Coalition for Safe Seaweed Production
Vincent Doumeizel - Lloyd's Register Foundation

Abstract: Today seaweed initiatives are very regionalised, fragmented and do not collaborate due to the wide variety of applications, a high level of competition, a low level of regulations and a lot of grey areas for locations.

We believe Safety as a general concept encompassing Food Safety, Food Packaging safety, Occupational safety & Biodiversity Safety could be used as an exceptional core vehicle to enable collaboration

Safety, especially when it comes to food applications, is always a very non competitive topic as any food on the market is expected to be safe and no differentiation could be made based on this (contrary would be detrimental to all).

Hence the idea of a Safe Seaweed Coalition that brings together the various actors in this market and start collaboration in order to gather all sector stakeholders as a catalyst for the safe and significant upscaling of seaweed aquaculture needed to bridge the gap between research and application in this brand new supply chain.

LRF has already started discussions with World Bank, UN FAO, Mariner, WWF, GEF and many seaweed stakeholders in Europe, Asia, US and Africa in order to gradually include their respective initiatives and expand the remit of the coalition.This coalition would be led by an organisation or a group of organisations and would benefit from an initial grants from LRF.

The coalition will start to facilitate data collection, disseminate, pilot safety protocols, support and pilot the conclusion of the Wageningen University research on Safety for Seaweeds Production The forum would have a mission to map stakeholders, create networks or alliance via events, facilitate the emergence of an international market fed by an optimized supply chain through enforcement of global safety standards as well as increase safety awareness & education among stakeholders.

Gradually other initiatives (could feed the coalition members such as remote safety monitoring from drones and satellites, accelerator and seeds funding for small to medium seaweed projects, real case demonstrators with large brand, etc…

LRF is legitimate to work on this due to the 280 years LR Group experience for floating and offshore infrastructures in the maritime business and its recent experience for multi use of the ocean as part of the EU H2020 innovative project in North Sea (5 demonstrators to be built for energy & seaweed production)

Decker, Julie
Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation

Alaska Seaweed - What It Takes to Build a New Industry
Julie Decker, Executive Director; Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation

Abstract: Alaska’s coastline is approximately 34,000 miles; the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off Alaska’s coast is approximately 1.5 million square miles. By both of these measurements (coastline and EEZ), Alaska is approximately one-third of the U.S. total. Alaska produces more than half of the seafood in the U.S., is home to the largest U.S. seafood port, North America’s largest processing facilities, over 9,000 commercial fishing vessels, and the seafood industry provides approximately 60,000 jobs to Alaska’s 700,000 residents, making this industry Alaska’s largest private sector employer. Alaska also has a reputation for responsible resource management, however, coastal communities are facing threats from declining fish stocks cause by climate change effects such as increased ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, and drought. Given these facts, the potential to develop a seaweed industry in Alaska represents a tremendous opportunity for renewable resource development, providing environmental, economic and cultural benefits to Alaskans.


In 2018, the Governor-appointed Alaska Mariculture Task Force completed a statewide comprehensive plan to grow a $100 million industry in 20 years. The elements of the plan include: industry leadership, seed production, innovation and research, workforce development, regulatory review, new product and market development, targeted stakeholder participation, and public education. The Task Force is now in the first five-years of the implementation of the plan during which a strong foundation and momentum have been built for future growth. This presentation will highlight the implementation of this comprehensive plan, the unique components of the planning process (including an iterative economic analysis), the tangible indications of progress to date, and the challenges still ahead.



Industry Spotlight

Algae in Animal Feeds: Effective Market Entry
27-Aug-20       10:00 a.m. CT

Cooney, Ryan

Animal Feed Market Opportunities
Ryan Cooney,  NutriQuest LLC Dr. Chet Wiernusz, NutriQuest LLC

Abstract: When you consider the amount of animal feed sold to produce meat, milk and eggs in the United States there is a clear opportunity for a very large market. That market has been changing in recent years and new opportunities have emerged for ingredients that carry the natural moniker.  Those trends include a shift away from antibiotics and an ever-present priority on animal health.  A key to developing a solution to that fits the animal feed market is having an approach that focuses on the valuation proposition. Knowing the customers and how they calculate the return on investment for each dollar of added cost can help you understand where there may be opportunities

Wiernusz, Chet

Animal Feed Market Opportunities
Ryan Cooney NutriQuest LLC  Dr. Chet Wiernusz NutriQuest LLC

Abstract: When you consider the amount of animal feed sold to produce meat, milk and eggs in the United States there is a clear opportunity for a very large market. That market has been changing in recent years and new opportunities have emerged for ingredients that carry the natural moniker.  Those trends include a shift away from antibiotics and an ever-present priority on animal health.  A key to developing a solution to that fits the animal feed market is having an approach that focuses on the valuation proposition. Knowing the customers and how they calculate the return on investment for each dollar of added cost can help you understand where there may be opportunities. 


Marrapese, Martha
Wiley LLP

Prenotice Consultations with FDA on Fish and Animal Feed
Martha Marrapese, Esq. Partner, Wiley LLP

Abstract: On February 13, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released for public comment a draft Guidance for Industry clarifying the Agency's pre-submission consultation process for animal food additive petitions or generally recognized as safe (GRAS) notices. (GFI #262, 85 Federal Register, page 8297, February 13, 2020).   FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) provides the opportunity for companies to consult with the Agency prior to submitting either food additive petitions or GRAS notices for substances intended to be used in animal food.  This presentation will reference the new guidance and provide clarity regarding best practices for submitting information in advance of pre-submission consultations on animal food additive petitions.  Areas to be covered include FDA's strong emphasis on pre-consultation prior to submission of food additive petitions or GRAS notices, best practices for communicating with FDA, and  the types of information that FDA recommends be submitted to facilitate pre-submission consultations.    The guidance will be reviewed for "how-to"_ instructions on engaging in these processes, including how to establish an Investigational Food Additive (IFA) file and what it should include, requesting reviews of study protocols, and the need for a food use authorization (FUA) for products from animals used in studies to support the safety of a substance to enter the food supply.    Listeners will come away with a number of recommendations that will hopefully facilitate their development and preparation of data and information to be submitted with a food additive petition or GRAS notice

Dahl, Andrew
ZIVO Bioscience, Inc.

Commercializing Microalgae for Animal Health & Nutrition Applications Feed ingredients for poultry, swine and cattle offer ample opportunities, but the value proposition must be realistic.
Andrew A. Dahl ZIVO Bioscience, Inc.

Abstract: US poultry producers purchase 34 million tons of poultry feed each year. Every ton of feed contains varying amounts of medications, minerals, vaccines, chemicals and specialty ingredients such as phytogenic, prebiotic or probiotic products, in addition to the corn and soy that make up the bulk of the feed mix.  Competition for that 20 to 500 grams of specialty product inclusion is fierce, the margins are thin and the capital costs are daunting. And, the producers aren’t shy about pushing down the price on these specialty ingredients if they don’t deliver on their promises. But, there are pressures on the producers, as well. Consumers are demanding antibiotic-free, ionophore-free poultry products, and many producers have opted to convert to No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) production. The result is lower productivity, lower margins and compromises in quality, which has producers searching for natural products to improve animal health and feed conversion rates.  The ZIVO presentation centers on understanding the producer value proposition and how to marshal the necessary capital resources, technology and production strategies to deliver a viable product and a return on investment.


Pfund, William

Scientific Support of Microalgae Commercialization: There's No Such Thing as Too Much Data
William P. Pfund, ZIVO Bioscience, Inc.

Abstract: As the evolving regulatory landscape and demands of end consumers push the poultry industry to eliminate the use of antibiotics and other chemical growth promoters, producers have looked to natural alternatives to fill the void. And while the number of phytogenic alternatives offered to producers seems to be ever-growing, a very large percentage of putative alternatives have not performed as promised, resulting in an air of cynicism surrounding any new, naturally derived alternative. This tendency towards skepticism has accentuated the need for a robust and credible data package accompanying any new product feed ingredient aimed at improving farm productivity. Moreover, from the poultry producers’ point of view, efficacy data from a few proof-of-concept trials is not even close to being sufficient to justify an initial product trial. Instead, producers are demanding data from extensive field trials as well as data clearly defining the product’s mechanism of action. Beyond satisfying marketing needs, extensive product characterization is required to support product registration and compliance, and to support production process development.


This presentation will provide an overview of what is required to establish an integrated scientific strategy to support various aspects of commercializing a novel algal-based feed ingredient including credible efficacy testing, defining the mechanism of action, supporting compliance activities, and internal product development and support activities. Examples and lessons learned from ZIVO’s efforts to commercialize an animal feed ingredient based on the company’s proprietary strain of fresh water microalgae will be provided.



Industry Spotlight

Managing Production Risk Through Crop Insurance
1-Sep-20         10:00 a.m. CT

Dieker, Kurt
Naturally Better Omega-3 (NBO3)

Farming Algae: Establishing Valuation and Understanding Risk of Algal Crops
Kurt Dieker, Naturally Better Omega-3 (NBO3); Jakob Nalley, Qualitas Health; Tom Richard, Green Stream Farms

Abstract: The biological diversity of algae leads to a plethora of algal-derived products. From animal feed, fuel, and nutraceuticals, to pigments, food and biomaterials, this diversity in end-products does not make “algae” easily commoditized. In this session, we will establish the fundamentals of algae farming, provide examples on how algal crops can be ascribed value, and highlight keys risks to algal crops. We will discuss general principles of production and areas that are strain or end-product specific. As algae producers, we will discuss how establishing valuation of the algae crop is dependent on the end-product, and how that value can be seasonally variable. Crop loss is expected, but the magnitude of that loss (from reduced productivity to site-wide failure) can be managed through applications of agronomic principles and shortened by having proper seed inoculum available for recovery. We will answer fundamental questions insurers may have as they begin to establish algae crop insurance programs.

Nalley, Jakob
Qualitas Health, Director of Agronomy



Richard, Tom
Green Stream Farms, COO and Co-Founder


McGowen, John
Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovations (AzCATI)

Cultivation Reliability and Its Impact on the Economics and Sustainability for Algae-based Products.
John McGowen, Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI)

Abstract: Culture failures produces two immediate impacts: a biomass (product) loss and a delay in further operation, due to re-scaling the seed train. Current decision-support models (TEA, LCA, and growth/productivity) for large-scale algae cultivation systems lack critically important, quantitative culture-failure risk data. Large-scale, semi-continuous cultivation is often assumed to be required for biofuels, because the cultivation footprint is largely composed of low-cost, open raceway ponds (ORPs). Similarly, the seed-inoculum scale-up is assumed to consist of successive culture transfer between ORPs of increasing size and represent <<10% of the overall areal production footprint. However, at very large scales, this strategy amplifies the economic risk of culture failures, due to very long scale-up recovery times. Mitigating this risk requires both significant operational knowledge and CAPEX/OPEX investment in crop protection and pest-management strategies as a necessary hedge against failures. Alternatively, larger investment in intensified photobioreactor (PBR) seed-inoculum scale-up capacity—coupled with complete batch-mode ORP harvests—can manage cultivation failure risk via an avoidance mechanism, minimizing algal seed culture exposure time in ORPs and maximizing post-failure recovery speed. The precise advantages and feasibility of either approach is difficult to disambiguate, let alone confidently implement broadly, as cultivation risks are likely to show significant strain-, location-, and seasonal-dependencies. Unknowns around failure rates associated with semi-continuous versus full-batch operations constitute a critical knowledge gap that must be closed to guide major investments in commercial algal biofuel production, while also creating the foundational data necessary to enable crop insurance. We will present on our long-term, multi-year cultivation studies in support of the Department of Energy’s Advanced Algal Systems State of Technology assessments and a new project AzCATI is leading looking specifically at the impact of operational strategies on culture failure risk assessment in the context of commodity scale algae biorefinery operations.

Sereno, Alexander
USDA, Risk Management Agency

Overview of Federal Crop Insurance
Alex Sereno, USDA, Risk Management Agency

Abstract: The Federal Crop Insurance program is a major component of the agricultural safety net. This program is a public private partnership that allows private insurance agents and companies to sell and service insurance policies for agricultural producers underwritten and backed by the US Department of Agriculture. The Risk Management Agency is the agency that manages this program on behalf of USDA.

Collins, Shaun
USDA, Risk Management Agency

New Crop Insurance Product Development
Shaun Collins, USDA Risk Management Agency

Abstract: The Federal Crop Insurance Act allows private companies to develop new crop insurance products, and request approval from the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Board of Directors for federal reinsurance, premium subsidies, reimbursement for research and development costs and maintenance expenses. The Risk Management Agency also has the authority to develop new crop insurance products internally or by contracting with private companies


Sorensen, Eric
Farmers Business Network

Insuring Algae
Eric Sorensen, Farmers Business Network; Lucas Strom, Farmers Business Network

Abstract: A quick discussion about the major risks to production, near term options for coverage, and the prospects of a federal program.  Eric and Lucas will walk through how FBN Insurance can help evaluate the benefits to insuring your crop, your risk exposure, and your risk management options.

Strom, Lucas
Farmers Business Network, Head of Insurance




Algae Biomass Summit

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