High Speed Public Policy for Algae-Based Biofuel as an Energy Alternative

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Creating sustainable energy alternatives is no longer trendy, but imperative. U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced legislation in the 2011 congressional session to extend a tax incentive program to algae-based biofuel producers, which already applies to other cellulosic biofuel producers. Technology for the production of energy from this one-celled organism is proliferating, but stagnant in some respects and underdeveloped in others. The policy has yet to be fully realized without strong political will and scientific expertise to match this budding energy alternative’s true potential. More significantly, considering the short-life span of algae, its replication capacities, the high-return on investment for algae-based biofuel, the energy potential remains limitless yet untapped. This paper will explore whether algae-based biofuel is a viable alternative energy option and how the proposed federal tax incentive and other governmental and educational programs could help propel this unique technology to become a more sustainable energy option. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the problem of developing technologies in the algae-based biofuel industry. No current regulation exists specifically with respect to algae-based biofuel as it falls into the broad category of cellulosic biofuels. This paper suggests public policy imperatives with the proposed algae-based biofuel tax credit to address the economic issue of having this renewable energy alternative become sustainable and less cost-prohibitive to encourage larger scale usage.

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Nadia B. Ahmad completed an LL.M. at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in Environmental... View Profile »


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