Well, add it to the list of other unique biofuels that we’ve talked about on TGB. The latest alternative fuel idea to be floating around (pun intended) is a biofuel made from seaweed. Don’t get worried that your sushi supply will be hindered by the clean fuel just yet. There are some production elements to put in place, but when it’s all broken down, farmed seaweed looks as though it may a great solution to the biofuel question.
According to Daniel Trufino, CEO of Bio Architecture Labs (BAL) who are developoing the technology from their Berkeley location, between fifteen hundred and two thousand gallons of ethanol can be made from seaweed, whereas an acre of sugar cane can make just shy of a thousand gallons and an acre of corn can make just over four hundred gallons. Seaweed has the advantage of not having lignin, which is a chemical compound that makes up many of the secondary walls of some organisms. Because there’s no lignan, the seaweed can be broken down into sugar more easily.
The foray into biofuel from the deep is being led by BAL who recently partnered with Norwegian heavy weight oil company Statoil. Statoil is going to fund the research and development of BAL’s process to convert macroalgae that grows off of the Norwegian coast into ethanol. And while BAL is figuring out how to convert seaweed to biofuel, Statoil will also be funding the process of setting up the seaweed farming.
Statoil will also finance a demonstration of the product. If the demonstration is successful, Statoil will put more money into the project so that they can then sell the biofuel in Europe. The EU, you may remember, has aggressive biofuel initiatives and are battling the cost of wheat to find ways to make their biofuel plans happen (you may recall the now infamous whiskey biofuel as an example).
Source Tiny Green Bubble