How Algae Companies can Benefit the Local Community 1How Algae Companies can Benefit the Local Community
Algae companies are springing up all over the company and a lot is being said about how they can benefit the nation by potentially reducing out dependence on foreign oil. However, not a lot is being said about how they can benefit the local communities where they put up shop. Paul Woods, the CEO of Algenol, answered some questions about how they have actively partnered with the community and the mutual benefits resulting from their cooperation.
1. How long has Algenol been in operations? How long at the Lee county facility?
Paul Woods, Craig Smith, and Ed Legere founded Algenol in 2006 and it has been headquartered in Bonita Springs, Florida since its inception. In October of 2010, Algenol opened its 50,000 square ft. research facility located in Lee County. This facility allowed Algenol to consolidate all of its US biology, engineering, aquaculture and operations into one location in Southwest Florida.
2. What Benefits/incentives did Lee County offer?
Algenol received a $10 million dollar grant from the Economic Development Committee for the construction of its world-class research facility.
3. How many local jobs has Algenol directly created? How many more in the future?
Algenol has directly created 74 jobs in Lee County in one year and plans to increase that number to 125 by 2012 with an average salary above $85,000/ year. During the construction of the research facility, Algenol had over 400 construction personnel working on the project accumulating over 58,000 man-hours.
4. How else has Algenol locating in Lee County benefited the local economy?
Last year, Algenol announced that it was moving the location of its 100,000-gallon per year Biorefinery from Freeport, TX to Lee County, FL adjacent to its research facility. This facility will be constructed over 30 acres and bring millions of dollars to the local construction industry.
5. How do you see the algae industry having a positive impact on the economy at the local to national level?
At the local level the algae industry will create high paying careers and a new industry to support local economies. Nationally, the industry can provide low cost domestic source of energy and enhance energy security by displacing foreign oil.
6. How can algae companies partner with local communities in ways that are mutually beneficial to both?
Lee County and Algenol have demonstrated the benefits of collaborations for both the renewable energy industry and the local economy. Southwest Florida is transforming its local economy by attracting new industries and diversifying its workforce using Algenol as an example for this transformation.
7. Are there any unique economic benefits that algae companies can bring to a region?
As a nascent industry, algae companies offer the opportunity for regions to foster a new industry and build a diverse workforce of highly skilled professionals who contribute to the local economy and civic life.
8. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Algenol has grown tremendously with the help of Lee County. We strongly encourage other biofuels and technology companies to consider Southwest Florida for their business.