Open Ponds Could Be Key to Algae-Biodiesel Production

John Davis

NAALogoRising feed prices for catfish farms and the rising Chinese market are bad news for those in the South, as more than 320,000 catfish pond acres could be up for grabs. But where one door closes, another opens, as a possible glut of open-air ponds could provide a boon for those looking to raise algae for biodiesel.

To explore the possibilities, the National Algae Association Mid-South Chapter is presenting a workshop on November 18-19, 2009 in Memphis, Tennessee at the Holiday Inn Select Hotel, downtown. This association press release says the key speakers will include Barry Cohen, Director of the National Algae Association; Terri Chiang of Biomass Partners, LLC; and Ron Putt of Auburn University:

The workshop’s focus will be highlighted by a motor coach trip to Saul Fish Farm, a leading aquaculture facility in Des Arc, Arkansas where attendees will go on a walking tour to get a first-hand glimpse of the scope and potential for algal open pond production. Rodney Saul, owner of Saul Fish Farm will describe his procedures for growing algae for aquaculture applications. While at the farm, attendees will hear from additional speakers and interact in open forums on algal growing techniques, harvesting, and extraction methods.

Deadline submission for white papers for open pond algal growth systems, technologies, and support equipment is November 1st for review by the executive committee for potential inclusion in the workshop.

“This event is very timely in light of the strong interest in alternatives to expensive, closed-loop algae production systems, says Tamra Fakhoorian, president of the NAA Mid-South Chapter. She continues, “Given the current availability of hundreds of thousands of existing pond acres in the South and new applicable technologies coming on-line, aquaculture farmers and entrepreneurs alike are taking a good look at the economic feasibility of becoming open pond algae farmers. This workshop will address the opportunities, the challenges and late-breaking solutions for open pond production.”

You can get more information on registration here. Early registration goes on through November 4th.

algae, Biodiesel