The US House of Representatives has passed a new law this week seeking to give algae-based biofuels parity with cellulosic biofuels in federal tax credit programs.
The Algae-based Renewable Fuel Promotion Act (HR 4168) means algae biofuel projects could access a $1.01 per gallon production tax credit and 50% bonus depreciation for biofuel plant property.
The bill sponsored by New Mexico Congressman Harry Teague amended Internal Revenue Codes to expand the cellulosic biofuel definition.
Along with the Democrat Rep. Teague, there was bipartisan support for the legislation, including backing from Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Brian Bilbray (R-CA).
Mary Rosenthal, Executive Director of the Algal Biomass Organization trade group, said: “Today, the House sent an unmistakable message of bipartisan support to the hundreds of companies, scientists, entrepreneurs and government agencies working to accelerate the development of algae-based fuels, which will create jobs, decrease emissions and reduce our nation’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.”
“The passage of this bill is a huge first step towards our goal of creating parity for algae-based biofuels within the tax code and among various other government programs,” added Ms Rosenthal.
The bill’s passage coincided with the start of the 2010 Algal Biomass Summit in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday.
Level playing field
Sapphire Energy, the San Diego firm looking to develop a bio-gasoline by using algae, said the Algae-based Renewable Fuel Promotion Act would help level the playing field for the “promising” technology – and speed up its development.
Jason Pyle, CEO, Sapphire Energy, said: “These policies are essential to truly grow green fuel at scale; we need the same tax structure that oil and gas get today. Passage of this bill is the first step in that direction.”
Mr Pyle suggested the primary benefits resulting from the Act’s passage would be a “huge boost” in the number of clean tech jobs that will be created in the burgeoning algae industries of California and New Mexico, as well as increased domestic and global energy security, and true environmental sustainability.