Alltech President Pearse Lyons said Monday that his company will announce in August the creation of a large algae factory in Kentucky to make bio-fuel and research new approaches for mitigating climate change.
Lyons declined to give the location or other details of the facility because the deal is still being negotiated. He said it would be the nation’s second-largest algae factory, after one in South Carolina.
Lyons told about 1,500 people from 50 countries who came to Lexington Center for Alltech’s 26th annual International Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium that algae shows great promise for helping humans cope with two big problems: energy and climate change.
That’s because 1 acre of algae can produce 5,000 gallons of bio-fuel per year, and 1 ton of algae can absorb 2 tons of carbon dioxide, converting it to oxygen and carbohydrates, Lyons said.
Alltech, which primarily makes animal nutrition supplements using natural ingredients, uses the symposium to interact with its customers in 120 countries. Based in Lexington, the company is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
In the opening sessions, Lyons and Jim Pettigrew, a University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign professor who won this year’s Alltech Bioscience Medal of Excellence, also talked about how research, education and sustainable technology can be used to improve global food production.
Human health and environmental sustainability demand that agribusiness use fewer antibiotics and more natural supplements to improve animal nutrition and immune systems, Lyons said. “We are what our animals ate,” he said.
Symposium attendees also heard Monday from former Gov. John Y. Brown Jr., who talked about how he worked with Col. Harland Sanders to franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken. Then Joaquin Pelaez, a Mexico native who runs Louisville-based Yum Brands’ KFC operations in China, talked about how KFC has grown there.
Other sessions this week range from animal nutrition issues to global agri-business trends. Attendees also browse booths throughout the convention center where Alltech touts its products, which also include Kentucky Ale, Alltech Angus steaks and Dippin Dots ice cream. The company also has begun distilling bourbon.
On Monday night, attendees were to attend a dinner in the new indoor arena at the Kentucky Horse Park to hear about the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games there this fall.
Eric Roderick, who has been involved in tilapia fish farming in Wales since 1979 and is attending his first Alltech symposium, said the brand attracted him here. “The company has become such a big name in international aquaculture,” he said.
The title for this year’s symposium is “Bounce Back 2010,” which reflects both a desire for business to rebound from the global recession and the title of University of Kentucky Basketball Coach John Calipari’s book. Calipari will speak Wednesday.
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