Published on January 20th, 2012 | by James Johnson0
Scientists Make Big Breakthrough, Turn Seaweed Into Biofuel
Scientists in California have announced a major discovery that brings us one step closer to a better ethanol alternative. The group of researchers were able to convert seaweed into biofuel.
According to one of the groups researchers:
“Natural seaweed species grow very fast—10 times faster than normal plants—and are full of sugars, but it has been very difficult to make ethanol by conventional fermentation.”
The process from seaweed to ethanol has not yet been completed however the group says the microbial process they have discovered is a “critical step” toward the creation of ethanol from seaweed.
The scientist tells the Guardian:
“Scaling up processes using engineered microbes is not always easy. They also need to prove the economics work.”
At this time the cost of scaling up those processes are five times higher then current fueld prices, however an abundance of seaweed farms offers a possible cost saving alternative gasoline for the future.
To put seaweed farms in perspective Japan and China harvest the same amount of seaweed as cornfields harvest corn in the Midwest United States.”
If fully scaled 3% of the world’s coastal areas could provide 40% of US drivers fuel consumption needs annually.