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Global algal researchers converge in Phoenix

September 23, 2010

ASU to host a pre-conference workshop, tour Sept. 27

Researchers around the world are working to develop eco-friendly fuel and other products out of fast-growing algae. On Sept. 27, non-scientists as well as scientists will have a chance to learn more about algae research and its potential for commercialization in “Priming the Green Engine – an Introduction to Algae,” a workshop hosted by Arizona State University in collaboration with the Algal Biomass Organization (ABO).

“Priming the Green Engine” is a pre-conference workshop before the fourth annual Algae Biomass Summit in Phoenix, Sept. 28-30, hosted by ABO at the JW Marriott in Phoenix. More than 600 leaders in the algal industry, ranging from algae researchers to producers to end-users, will attend.

“Algae holds enormous potential as a rapidly renewable fuel source. The summit and pre-conference workshop will bring together leaders in academia, government and industry to address the scientific, business and policy issues involved in bringing algal fuel to the marketplace,” said Gary Dirks, director of ASU's LightWorks. LightWorks is a multidisciplinary initiative designed to leverage light-based research, particularly in renewable energy fields.

“Priming the Green Engine” is geared toward non-scientists, particularly individuals in business, government and the media, as well as anyone else looking to understand how algae can contribute to a sustainable economy.

Leaders in algal research from the Laboratory for Algae Research and Biotechnology (LARB) at ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation, as well as algae experts from the University of Texas, the University of Washington and from industry, such as Earthrise Nutritionals, will discuss algae strains, cultivation of algae in the lab and outdoors, production and processing of algal biomass, and biomass conversion into biofuels and high-value bioproducts from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Sept. 27, at ASU’s Tempe campus.

Following the morning session, attendees will tour the algae research and production facilities at ASU's Polytechnic campus in Mesa. The facilities are jointly operated by researchers with ASU's College of Technology and Innovation and Heliae Development, LLC.

“Bringing people with interests in algae together from all over the world will greatly accelerate efforts to make algae a part of the future renewable energy solution,” said Qiang Hu, professor and co-director of LARB.

Hu’s long-time LARB colleague and professor, Milton Sommerfeld agreed. “Having the workshop and the summit in Phoenix demonstrates ASU’s and Arizona's leadership in algal biofuels research and development," he said. "Development and deployment of next generation biofuel technologies in Arizona will create ‘green jobs’ and economic development.”

For more information about the summit and the pre-conference activities, visit:

Written by Diane Boudreau and Christine Lambrakis