Algae fuel focus of Mpls. conference this weekby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — More than 800 people will descend on Minneapolis to discuss the potential of algae as an alternative fuel Monday.
The the 5th annual Algae Biomass Summit was organized by the Preston, Minn.-based trade group, Algal Biomass Organization. Executive Director Mary Rosenthal said algae is gaining attention as a fuel alternative to foreign-based oil.
"I know of at least three companies that collectively and in total are recruiting for more than 100 jobs just here at the summit," Rosenthal said. "They're looking at technologists, their looking at scientists, they're looking at technicians, anywhere from 2-year to advanced degrees."
Rosenthal said algae has many advantages: it doesn't require freshwater and it consumes carbon monoxide, reducing greenhouse gases. And it reproduces in as little as seven days, making mass production very efficient.
Rosenthal said the summit has 80 exhibitors, double last year's number. She said there are also more attendees.
"People are making a choice to spend their business travel dollars and their funds to attend," Rosenthal said.
The agenda includes an address from an ExxonMobil executive on the potential and challenges for turning algae into fuel.
The summit runs through Thursday.