About Sean


I have been called a "Bioneer" and described as "One of the most influential voices in BioEnergy". I first became interested in agricultural, environmental, health, economic and energy issues while traveling internationally during the late 1990's and began investigating the potential benefits of alternative fuels. I then founded the American Biofuels Council in early 2007, and have served as CEO since its inception. Under my direction, ABC has become one of the nation's most respected and influential grassroots advocacy organizations for biofuels, and is comprised of members from Hawaii to Puerto Rico, representing millions of Americans who care deeply about energy security and the environment.

Over the years I have earned the respect of colleagues in every facet of Agriculture, Algae, and Biotech from Seattle to São Paulo; briefed U.S. Congressmen, Senators, Governors, and Officials in foreign countries; authored more than 200 articles on biofuels, co-created and developed the Certified Biofuels Educator (CBE) program, served on the Center for Hemispheric Policy Energy Security task force; chaired round table discussions and entire international conferences. I receive between 15-25 invitations per week to serve as either speaker or panelist at a variety of business, educational, and governmental venues about Algae technologies and biofuels.

I regularly give interviews to the media and have been quoted in the Des Moines Register, Forbes, Houston Chronicle, New York Times, NPR News, San Francisco Chronicle, Science Magazine, the scientific journal Nature, and by Repower America.


English, Portuguese, Spanish

Areas of Expertise

Algae, Carbon Capture and Sequestration, Wastewater treatment, Bio Energy, Advanced Biofuels

An idea worth spreading

Imagine a world in which Municipal Wastewater nutrient runoff from Agriculture is combined with Carbon Capture and recycled into Feed, Fertilizer, Fibers, Pharmaceuticals, Biobased materials, AND an entire suite of Advanced Biofuels all from Algae. Now let's take it a step further and turn some of that Algae into Biochar that sequesters CO2 for over 1,000 years. That makes Algae not just carbon neutral but carbon negative. We are standing at the forefront of The 4th Wave (The Algae Revolution) that leads to a sustainable Biobased Economy, and that is an idea worth spreading.

I'm passionate about

Solving the challenges to Food and Energy Security, Sustainably

Talk to me about

Energy, Agriculture, Food, Environmental Engineering, Sustainability, Water Quality

My TED story

I have been a TED fan for more years than I can remember. I consider Amory Lovins a mentor and TED Fellow Rachel Armstrong a colleague and friend who is very supportive of the work I'm doing. I look forward to speaking at a TEDx event this year.

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

Sean O'Hanlon
Posted about 3 years ago
David MacKay: A reality check on renewables
Ladies and Gentlemen, I work in the field of Renewables for a living and I can tell you emphatically that David MacKay is being a little short sighted in his thinking. It is not a matter of which technology works best but rather one of stacking those technologies. Solar, Wind, Hydroelectric, Geothermal, Tidal, Wave, Advanced Biofuels from diversified Energy crops such as Agave, Sugar Beets, Sugarcane, Sweet Sorghum, as well as Agricultural residues, to Algae from Waste Water Treatment Plants can meet our existing and future energy needs as long as they are combined to compliment each other. Frankly, I think he missed the opportunity to think big and think outside the box.
Sean O'Hanlon
Posted about 3 years ago
Jonathan Foley: The other inconvenient truth
How do we feed an ever growing population sustainably that is on its way to 9 Billion people? Algae technologies (fresh and salt water varieties) are capable of producing much of the Fertilizer, Feed, Food, Fibers, and Advanced Biofuels we need while simultaneously cleaning wastewater and capturing CO2. These technologies are not 20,10, or even 5 years away. They are ready to start deploying today. Another technology that we will need to deploy around the world is Hydroponics which take up far less land area and require less water & fertilizers while producing many times more food than would be otherwise by traditional agricultural methods. Additionally, Look for Biochar to play a major role in Carbon Sequestration and Sustainable Agriculture.