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An algae production facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico. (Photo: Sapphire Energy)

HR passes algae biofuel tax bill

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Friday, October 01, 2010, 23:40 (GMT + 9)

A bill meant to give tax breaks to companies working on algae feedstocks-generated biofuel has been approved by the US House of Representatives. The Algae-based Renewable Fuel Promotion Act (HR 4168) was sponsored by New Mexico Congressman Harry Teague and has a corresponding bill in the Senate that was introduced by Senator Bill Nelson (D, Florida) which is awaiting action after being referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

Teague’s HR 4168 modifies the Internal Revenue Coded such that algae-based fuels can qualify for benefits now going to cellulosic biofuel makers. The bill includes a USD 1.01 per gal production tax credit and 50 per cent bonus depreciation for property employed to produce algae-based biofuel. 

Congressman Harry Teague , D-NM. (Photo: sapphireenergy)

The bill defines "algae-based biofuel" as “any liquid fuel which is produced from the biomass of an algal organism (in essence, an organism that is primarily aquatic and classified as a non-vascular plant),” according to the Congressional Research Service, Feedstuffs reports.

“[…] 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,” told Mary Rosenthal, executive director of the Algal Biomass Organisation (ABO) trade group, reports BrighterEnergy.org. “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 programmes.”

This bipartisan bill was not controversial and passed on the House “suspension calendar,” or with no objections and without a roll call vote this past week. It also received backing from Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Brian Bilbray (R-CA), among others.

“Algae to produce green crude can be grown on non-arable land, in salt or brackish water and using carbon dioxide and sunlight as its primary feedstocks,” Teague’s statement said.

“Therefore, algae has not presented the same land use concerns as other biofuels and does not have any of the ‘food versus fuel’ implications that plague some other biofuels. Green crude derived from algae can be refined into drop-in transportation fuels, such as jet, gasoline and diesel, that are entirely compatible with existing infrastructure and engines. Algae can also be used to produce ethanol and biodiesel,” it noted.

His bill received endorsement from the Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO), ABO, the Southwestern Biofuels Association, Sapphire Energy, and Algenol Biofuels, Dairy Producers of New Mexico and Farm Credit Services Southwest plus various regional business, civic and economic development organisations in his district.
 
The bill passed at the start of this year’s Algal Biomass Summit in Phoenix, Arizona, earlier this week.

Related articles:

- Researchers work toward cheaper algal biodiesel
-
USD 24 mln invested in algal biofuels research

By Natalia Real
[email protected]
www.fis.com


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