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Algal Biology Toolbox Workshop

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) last week hosted a two day workshop gathering lead experts in the field of algal biology from 24 - 25 May 2016. The workshop, “Sharpening Our Tools: Algal Biology Toolbox Workshop,” was held in San Diego, California, and discussed research and development (R&D) needed to achieve affordable, scalable, and sustainable algae-based biofuels. It is the first algal biofuels strategy workshop to focus specifically on improvements in algal biology - a key research focus required to advance the economic viability of algae-based biofuels.

More than 70 stakeholders registered to attend, representing diverse stakeholders from government, national laboratories, universities, and industry. During the workshop, attendees reviewed the tools and resources available to grow, monitor, valorise, and genetically enhance algae for biofuel production. Input gathered from the participants will inform a strategy for leveraging these tools to realise a future where algae-based biofuels and bioproducts contribute significantly to the US bioeconomy.

BETO’s Advanced Algal Systems Programme Manager, Alison Goss Eng, led the event. On the first day of the workshop, experts in algal biology presented new developments in the field, furthering attendees’ understanding of the current state of algal science. Participants had the opportunity to present their own project updates and develop partnerships for future collaboration to advance algal R&D. On the second day, attendees provided input regarding the challenges in algal biology, the metrics of success in algae strain development, and the resources needed to overcome challenges and achieve success. The goal of these discussions was to identify research priorities for the next five years.

Through sponsorship of this event, BETO’s Algae Program is engaging key stakeholders and carrying out a long term applied R&D strategy to increase the yields and lower the costs of algal biofuels. BETO’s Algae Programme regularly hosts algal biofuels strategy workshops to help break down critical technical barriers and promote sustainable and affordable algal biofuels.

The event was sponsored by the Bioenergy Technologies Office in DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. BETO is accelerating the development of a sustainable, cost competitive advanced biofuel industry that can strengthen US energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality, through research, development, and demonstration projects in partnership with industry, academia, and national laboratory partners.

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