Government incentives for algae energy

Government incentives for algae energy

Postby cacofonix » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:17 am

It's fairly well known that while algae present the most exciting possibility to completely replace fossil fuels, this domain is still at a research stage and it will take a couple of years before one can expect real-world breakthroughs.

During this period, it is important that the governments around the world provide incentives and support to this program. Individual and private initiatives alone might not be enough.

When governments can give $700 billion as bailout packages for what are essentially big human screwups, I am sure they can spend 10% of that on an activity that allows us to understand how nature can benefit humanity in a profitable and sustainable way. What do you think?
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Re: Government incentives for algae energy

Postby guru » Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:52 pm

Yep, I also feel that governments should do more towards algae energy. While the US and Japanese governments have started clear initiatives on this (and the UK too, though its Carbon Trust and Aus to some extent), I have not heard of any other government doing much. Will be interested to know what governments OF France, Germany, Spain, Brazil and China are doing
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Re: Government incentives for algae energy

Postby DR Johansen » Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:42 am

Personally, I think the only thing the government should do in any of these cases is to offer a long term purchace contract at a price that is estimated to be of benefit to the government. Volitility kills, consistancy nurtures.
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Re: Government incentives for algae energy

Postby jimpsull » Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:21 am

It is certainly worthwhile for governments to support this promising industry. It is probably not necessary that they shoulder a large portion of the burden. They may only need to provide a carrot.

If the petrochemical industry can see clearly that algae as a biofuel feedstock possesses enough momentum and the real potential to displace petroleum as the primary fuel source used in the world, they will pour billions into algae research. If they feel they can maintain the status quo a little while longer; they'll do that too. But if any entity establishes a significant advantage in algae based biofuel production they stand to make copious amounts of money.

The petroleum industry has the resources to fund significant algae research; they will do so if they know the research will be done with or without their involvement. By encouraging private investment in algae research governments can steer a lot of private money towards research without astronomical public expense.
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Re: Government incentives for algae energy

Postby DR Johansen » Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:28 am

[quote="jimpsull"]It is certainly worthwhile for governments to support this promising industry. It is probably not necessary that they shoulder a large portion of the burden. They may only need to provide a carrot.[/quote]
To me, a long term stable contract is one heck of a carrot!
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Re: Government incentives for algae energy

Postby cacofonix » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:37 am

Providing long-term contracts is one thing that could spur involvement of large corporates, but I think the government can do more...

How does it sound if the top ten countries in the world establish in each city a Sustainability Meeting Place, a physical place (not unlike a library) where individuals and organizations interested in sustainability can meet and share ideas? Similar to public libraries, the government foots most of the bills, and perhaps anyone can become a member for a nominal sum...these Sustainability Meeting Places can also be used by algae biofuels folks to meet up and discuss...such a central meeting place could be an ideal location for cross-fertilization of ideas, forming productive connections and partnerships and initiate group debates and action.

The above is one idea I can think of. There could be many more such ideas where the government can play a role. In domains such as algae fuels, it is clear that clear success will come only if significant private business involvement happens, but perhaps such an involvement could be brought about by a groundswell of grassroots movements as well.

I agree with the other suggestions as well - fixing an attractive price contract and also signalling to the industry that the government is willing to seriously invest in, pursue and sustain algae fuels efforts.
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Israel government incentives for algae energy

Postby cacofonix » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:25 pm

Just wondering what steps the Israeli government is taking in order to support algae fuels? Israel stands to gain a lot from fossil fuel independence for obvious reasons and the country has traditionally produced brilliant scientists, and add to that the fact that the founder of GreenFuel Tech has excellent ties with Israel, being a jew himself. All these point to the possibility that the Israel govt must be really focussed on funding algae fuel research.

Any updates on this?
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Australia government support for algae fuels

Postby cacofonix » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:27 pm

May 2008 news item

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has announced $166,000 government funding for a project to convert sea algae into biodiesel.

The Australian-first project, a joint initiative of James Cook University (JCU) and MBD Biodiesel Ltd, aims to develop a sustainable green alternative to fossil fuels by producing biodiesel for transport and industry.

The project would produce 290 million litres (250,000 tonnes) of biodiesel by 2010.

More from here
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Brazil & Algae Fuels

Postby cacofonix » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:35 pm

Brazil is the big daddy of biofuels. Not only does the country use large quantities of biofuels for its own consumption, it has shown the world how continuous efforts and persistence in the context of biofuels works wonders - today the country is almost independent of petro-fuels.

I'm sure the Brazilian government is doing something about algae fuels. For a country that has done so much to advance first generation biofuels, it will be a natural progression to invest in algae and jatropha and such newer biofuels as well. No?
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Re: Government incentives for algae energy

Postby jomobe » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:17 am

I think you will find that there are a few of the petroleum giants that are already investing into algae biofuel research. In this way they can buy into the technology, patent any proven processes and make even more money doing as little as possible while the world tries to employ biofuels as a repalcement for petroleum.
I heard one politician say once, "Its all about posturing, posturing, posturing."

If a person is looking to "invest their conscience" they should look beyond the sustainable blogs and more into the financials. Who funds or owns what will be a good indicator of how far one's conscience will take them.

The US government can do something, but the media will tear this apart: implement a graduated tax structure around petroleum fuels extraction, refining/production, and end product sales of the fuel. Graduated so as not to harm the public's ability to get to work and back, but as more bio-fuels are produced & consumed and more mass transit strategies are realized, increase the tax to the corporations. Make that "ramp" of the graduation steeper and offer incentives for true and verifiable advancements in the bio-fuels production.
Too much big oil money pays members of congress on the side for them to take such a bold leap.
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