Victory on Capitol Hill for Clean Tech Startup Ternion Bio


Pillsbury successfully lobbied Congress and the Department of Energy (DOE) in support of funding for Ternion’s innovative and cost-efficient carbon sequestration and capture (CCS) technology in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Typically government funding for CCS projects has largely supported the traditional, geologic methods, in which carbon emissions are captured and stored underground. But an emerging technology provides gas-emitting facilities, such as coal-burning plants, ethanol plants, petroleum refineries and manufacturing plants, with a cost-effective alternative to geologic capture and sequestration. California-based startup Ternion Bio designs and produces an innovative technology that uses algae to recycle carbon dioxide into beneficial products though its proprietary Photo BioReactor system. Funding from the DOE would help Ternion advance its technology, but as a company relatively unknown in Washington, DC, competing for funding was difficult.

Ternion asked Pillsbury to launch a lobbying effort to Congress and DOE. Pillsbury’s team on the Hill—led by Elizabeth Moeller and former Congressman Greg Laughlin—submitted to Congress an outline of their proposal to amend the provisions concerning carbon sequestration and capture R&D so as to include cost-effective and innovative technologies. The team also used media relations to draw public attention to Ternion's crusade. The effort paid off, as Moeller was quoted in several key publications including The Hill, Politico, and BusinessWeek.

On February 13, the House, followed by the Senate on February 16, passed a version of the stimulus bill that included a modest, but key change in how funds for carbon capture technology would be awarded, making clear that a portion of the $1.5 billion set aside for carbon capture and energy efficiency improvements would be allocated to carbon recycling projects developed by companies like Ternion through a competitive process at DOE.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Eydie Pengelly, APR, for Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman | Attorney Advertising

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