Article by Angela Shah - Feb. 11, 2014
Ice shut down Houston for the second time in five days recently, a weather event that, in its sheer strangeness, seemed a fitting backdrop for a gathering of alternative fuel advocates in Big Oil’s backyard.
I drove on an unusually empty Interstate 45 to Montgomery, TX, about 60 miles north of Houston, where the leaders of the Algae Biomass Organization—a consortium of scientists, entrepreneurs, oil companies, and logistics firms—have met yearly since the group’s founding in 2008.
Though the organization is based in Preston, MN, the board has gathered for its annual retreat in Texas for the past three years. Their host is one of the group’s founding members, Greg Mitchell, an algae research biologist at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. Mitchell, a leading expert in the field, also happens to be a son of the late Texas oilman George Mitchell, known for driving the use of hydraulic fracking to aid the recovery of underground oil and gas deposits.